Buckingham Palace’s balcony room to open to public for first time

Buckingham Palace’s famous centre room where the royal family gather before appearances on the balcony is to open to the public for the first time.

Visitors will be able to take guided tours of the royal residence’s east wing, the front facade which faces The Mall where crowds assemble on major occasions to see the monarchy.

The palace’s east wing was built between 1847-49 to accommodate Queen Victoria’s growing family, and the development enclosed the former open horseshoe-shaped royal residence.

East Wing of Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace’s Centre Room in the east wing, which leads onto the famous balcony (Peter Smith/Royal Collection Trust/PA)

King George IV’s opulent oriental-style seaside palace, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, was sold to finance the building work and its contents, some of the finest ceramics and furniture in the Royal Collection, were moved to the east wing and inspired the Chinese-themed decor of its principal rooms.

East wing tours are available only as part of a visit to the palace’s state rooms costing £75 for adults. Admission to state rooms only is £35, with a £3 discount if booked in advance.

Tours will take visitors through rooms and spaces including the principal corridor, which runs the length of the wing, where paintings by artists such as Thomas Gainsborough are hung.

The north section of the principal corridor in Buckingham Palace’s east wing (Peter Smith/Royal Collection Trust/PA)

Highlights in this room include a newly restored glass chandelier, shaped to resemble a lotus flower, and two Chinese 18th century imperial silk wall hangings, presented to Victoria by Guangxu, emperor of China, to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Tickets for a limited number of East Wing Highlights Tours, which will run daily from July 15 to August 31, go on sale from April 9.

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