The room behind the famous Buckingham Palace balcony is set to open its doors to the public next week, offering a glimpse into King George IV's love for oriental art and furniture. King Charles himself was instrumental in allowing visitors to explore the east wing of the Royal residence for the first time, with nearly 6,000 tickets snapped up within hours of going on sale in April.

Caroline de Guitaut, Surveyor of the King's Works of Art, shared: "It was Prince Albert's idea to have a balcony at Buckingham Palace, because he saw it as a way of enabling the royal family to connect with the people, and of course that's exactly how, in a sense, it continues to be used on important occasions. But it began to be used very early on in Queen Victoria's reign, from 1851 waving off the troops to the Crimean War and welcoming them back on return."

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Built between 1847-49, the palace's east wing was constructed to house Queen Victoria's growing family, enclosing the previously open horse-shoe shaped Royal residence. To fund the construction, George IV's extravagant oriental-style seaside palace, the Royal pavilion in Brighton, was sold.

Its contents, some of the finest ceramics and furniture in the Royal Collection, were moved to the east wing, inspiring the Chinese-themed decor of its main rooms.

Brighton's treasures were transported to Buckingham Palace in a whopping 143 artillery cart shipments, including priceless items such as 42 fireplaces which were integrated into the fabric of the Royal residence alongside tables, chairs, clocks, and vases.

Guided tours through the east wing, encompassing the state rooms, allow visitors to marvel at the majority of the 240ft-long main corridor which houses the Yellow Drawing Room and Centrepiece Room behind the balcony.

The Yellow Drawing Room is adorned with decor emphasising Asian aesthetics, a legacy from George's seaside retreat, featuring an ornate fireplace, luxuriously gilded curtain rail, and Pavilion wallpaper, latterly discovered stored away by Queen Mary and mounted under her instruction.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert strategically decorated the corridor with side tables, large pagodas, intricately designed chairs and Chinese china, including a uniquely shaped incense burner resembling Buddha.

In admiration of the space that spans the entire length of the east wing, the Surveyor of the King's Works of Art comments: "Really it's essentially a blank canvas, and I think that's probably what really appealed to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert."

"Allowing them really to put their stamp on the furnishing and to incorporate, somewhat surprisingly I think for many people, these works that speak very loudly of George IV's more exuberant and exotic tastes."

The room's focal point is a stunningly restored glass chandelier, crafted to resemble a lotus flower, flanked by two 18th-century Chinese imperial silk wall hangings. These were presented to Queen Victoria by Emperor Guangxu of China in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Although the public won't be allowed to step onto the balcony, they will be able to enjoy breathtaking views down The Mall.

Visitors who buy a standard ticket for the palace's state rooms will get the chance to explore the 19 rooms used by the Royal family for official events. In the ballroom, guests can marvel at a striking new portrait of the King, created by acclaimed artist Jonathan Yeo, set against a vivid red backdrop.

2024-07-10T05:15:55Z dg43tfdfdgfd