Buckingham Palace offers 1st-ever look inside room that leads to famous balcony

ByKatie Kindelan GMA logo
Wednesday, July 10, 2024 12:39PM
Buckingham Palace offers 1st-ever look inside famous room
Buckingham Palace offers 1st-ever look inside famous room

A new tour of Buckingham Palace gives the public the first-ever look inside the room where members of Britain's royal family gather before stepping onto the palace's famous royal balcony.

The balcony is where royal family members including King Charles III, Queen Camilla, Prince William and Princess Kate gather to wave to the public on occasions like coronations, jubilees and Trooping the Colour.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla with other senior members of the royal family watch from the balcony at Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Color ceremony.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla with other senior members of the royal family watch from the balcony at Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Color ceremony.

Only members of the royal family are allowed to stand on the balcony, and prior to the new palace tour that begins July 15, no member of the general public had come as close to the balcony since it was built 175 years ago.

The new tour takes the public inside the palace's East Wing, which includes the room that opens onto the balcony -- the Centre Room -- as well as other rooms, including the Yellow Drawing Room and the Principal Corridor, which runs the entire width of the palace.

The East Wing just underwent a five-year renovation, which led to its accessibility to the public, as well as Charles's desire to open the palace to the public.

"The completion of that (renovation) project has meant that everything has been returned. It's all looking very splendid," Caroline de Guitaut, surveyor of the King's Works of Art at the Royal Collection Trust, told ABC News' Maggie Rulli, adding, "His Majesty the King is very keen on public access. He's passionately interested in the collection, and this is a fantastic opportunity to share these spaces."

The East Wing Highlights Tour, as the tour is known, includes paintings acquired by King George IV as well as antique English and French furniture and works of art from Japan and China, according to de Guitaut.

"The history of this wing of the palace is very interesting because it was the last wing to be added to the palace, built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, creating that famous facade with the balcony, which was a way for the queen to connect with the people and to show herself to the people," de Guitaut said. "And of course that tradition has continued over the centuries and still happens today."

The East Wing Highlights Tour, which consists of just 20 people at a time, is running daily in July and August. The tours quickly sold out once tickets became available online earlier this year.

In addition to opening the East Wing to the public, Charles also recently opened new rooms at Balmoral Castle to the public for the first time.

Balmoral Castle was particularly beloved by the late Queen Elizabeth II, who spent the final months of her life there in 2022.

On July 1, guided tours of the interior of the castle began for the first time ever.

Like the palace's East Wing tour, the tours of Balmoral Castle are only available to the public in July and August.