LONDON – The lights came on at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night — but some tourists were less than electrified.
The palace announced Monday that for the rest of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, the facade of the 80-year-old monarch's official London residence will be illuminated nightly from sundown until 11 p.m.
At dusk, a soft glow of white light outlined the building's portico columns and details of its gray stone exterior.
"That's disappointing. We were waiting for something spectacular," said Clive Spingett, visiting London from eastern England.
"I've got better lights on my house," added his wife, Wendy.
The palace said it was using energy-efficient light-emitting diodes to emphasize the building's architectural features. Conservation group English Heritage said the lights "will allow people to better appreciate fine architectural detailing and grandeur."
The installation of the 59 lights cost an estimated $70,000.
Electricity was first installed in the palace ballroom in 1883 and added throughout the building over the next four years.
The palace said the LED lights emit less heat and last longer than conventional bulbs. But environmental group Greenpeace criticized the decision to add to more than 40,000 light bulbs in the palace.
Steve Wadland, a tourist from southwest England, agreed.
"I suppose it's OK, but in a society that's supposed to be saving energy it's kind of wasteful," he said.