With the Queen retiring to Scotland for the summer, her London home Buckingham Palace is officially open to visitors. Those taking a tour of the State Apartments should spend a few minutes longer in the White Drawing Room, which features a secret door that leads to the monarch's private state apartments that are not open to members of the public.
When HELLO! visited the palace to preview the Prince & Patron's exhibition last week, we were shown the Queen's hidden passage that allows her to travel more swiftly through the palace.
Take a peek inside the Prince & Patron exhibition:
At first glance, the grand golden mirror and dresser is just like any other in the room, featuring the same candlestick ornaments and decorative jars. But the floor-to-ceiling mirror actually doubles up as a door, and is left slightly ajar so that visitors can take a peek inside. Behind the mirror is a much smaller door that leads to the rest of the Queen's private apartments. What's more, the ornaments are permanently glued to the dresser surface, so there's no risk of anything falling or breaking when the door is pushed.
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The secret door is left ajar for visitors to see
This year, visitors should also look up and admire the grand chandelier in the centre of the ceiling of the White Drawing Room. The chandelier has been recently refurbished and refitted for guests to see. Other notable features of the room include the roll-top desk, which sits just in front of the secret door. The desk was made in around 1775 and thought to be intended for the French royal family. It was purchased by George IV in 1825 and inlaid with trophies and flowers.
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A roll-top desk sits in front of the secret door
The White Drawing Room is regularly used by the Queen and her family, especially during big events. During the state visit of the Spanish royals in July 2017, King Felipe and Queen Letizia posed with Her Majesty and Prince Philip for official photos. The Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a pink dress, was spotted in the background in the White Drawing Room, preparing to make her way to the Ballroom for the state banquet.
The White Drawing Room is seen in the background of this photo
Buckingham Palace opened its doors to visitors last week. The royal residence is always open for the summer when the Queen is on holiday, but only certain parts of the palace can be accessed by members of the public. This year's exhibition, Prince & Patron, celebrates Prince Charles' upcoming 70th birthday and showcases some artwork and personal family photos from his private collection.