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East Wing in Buckingham Palace reopens to visitors

  • April 4, 2024
  • 2 min read
East Wing in Buckingham Palace reopens to visitors

The newly reserviced East Wing in Buckingham Palace will open to visitors for the first time this summer. Special guided tours of the Principal Floor will take place over July and August. The East Wing includes the front façade of the palace as well as the central balcony where the monarch and other members of the royal family have gathered together for public appearances since 1851.

It has reopened after over five years of improvement works. Small groups of visitors will be able to visit some of the spaces and rooms. This includes the Principal Corridor which runs the length of the wing. Paintings from artists such as Thomas Gainsborough are on display along the corridor.

The East Wing was first home to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children and is still used by the royal family for official meetings and events. Architect Edward Blore was commissioned to draw plans for alterations to the palace by Queen Victoria to accommodate a growing family. From 1847 and 1849, the East Wing was added, enclosing what was once a horseshoe-shaped courtyard.

Its build was paid for by the sale of the Royal Pavilion, Georgie IV’s seaside retreat in Brighton in 1850. The interior reflected the king’s love of Asian art and design while its contents, including ceramics and furniture, were relocated to the East Wing. They inspired the Chinese-themed décor in the palace’s principal rooms. The Yellow Drawing Room was decorated along with the recently restored Chinese wallpaper from the 18th century. Two hexagonal, nine-tiered Chinese porcelain pagodas and the Kylin Clock and its turquoise Chinese lions are also featured.

Tours will cover the Central Room, home to a newly restored glass chandelier shaped to resemble a lotus flower, and two Chinese 18th century silk wall hangings. The hangings were presented to Queen Victoria for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

The tours will run daily from 15 July. Booking opens from 10 April.

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