Buckingham Palace tourists can enjoy balcony view for first time

Centre Room

Halfway down the corridor, as its name suggests, is the Centre Room, which leads out onto the balcony.

The King chose this room to record his Christmas message last December.

The room features a newly restored glass chandelier, shaped to resemble a lotus flower, as well as two Chinese 18th-century imperial silk wall hangings, presented to Queen Victoria by Guangxu, emperor of China, to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

There are also many Chinese porcelain vases, which were originally supplied to George IV in 1807.

Visitors will also see the Privy Purse entrance area, the Privy Purse staircase and a caged lift that dates from the early 1900s and carries the cypher of Edward VII.

Two years of building work

The wing will be opened to the public following an extensive refurbishment programme that began in 2018.

The works are part of the 10-year Buckingham Palace reservicing programme to upgrade the historic building’s infrastructure, improve access and preserve it for future generations. 

The current phase, which began last summer, involves the removal of about 70,000 objects from the North Wing, which was expected to take 18 months, before two years of building work.

Conversations about the prospect of guided tours in the East Wing began about two years ago, with sources revealing that it felt like a “good opportunity” to widen access as the newly refurbished rooms are “so beautiful”.

A limited number of East Wing Highlights Tours will run daily throughout July and August, beginning on July 15.

The tours must be booked in addition to the standard admission ticket to the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, with the combined ticket costing £75.

Tickets will go on sale on April 9, with priority access given to Royal Collection Trust email subscribers before the remaining tickets go on general sale the following day.

Artwork and decorative arts

The palace will be open seven days a week throughout July and August for the first time since 2019, returning to five days a week in September.

The Royal Collection Trust looks after the artwork and decorative arts amassed by monarchs and manages the public openings of the King’s official residences

As a charity, it does not receive public money, funding its work through admission charges to the royal residences and other commercial activities.

Its finances were therefore severely affected by the lockdowns introduced during the coronavirus pandemic, reporting a £15 million deficit in the 2021-22 financial year.

However, last summer it emerged that the trust had returned to profit for the first time since the pandemic – generating £8 million of income during the previous financial year.

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