buckingham-palace

Royal family video takes fans inside Buckingham Palace's £369m refurbishment

Work is underway in the Yellow Drawing Room in the East Wing

Gemma Strong

Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing some major changes as part of its £369million refurbishment, and a new video shared on the Royal Family Instagram account has revealed just how painstaking some of that work has been. A two-minute clip shows how the early 19th century Chinese wallpaper in the Yellow Drawing Room is being removed by hand, piece by piece to prevent it being damaged by neighbouring construction work. Currently, the East Wing is undergoing reservicing works, which includes replacing outdated pipes and wiring, as well as the installation of a lift next to the drawing room. It was feared that vibrations and movement from this work could have damaged the wallpaper, and so it is being removed and preserved until the renovations are complete.

Inside Buckingham Palace's refurbishment - Wallpaper conservation in the Yellow Drawing Room

"We are very carefully removing the wallpaper, beautiful 19th century Chinese wallpaper, piece by piece, and then we will take it back to the studios to conserve it and preserve it for the future," wallpaper conservator Allyson McDermott explains on screen. "This is the perfect time. The paper is desperately in need of conservation. It's very acidic. It's very fragile. And this is just a wonderful opportunity to do it whilst all the work is being carried out at the palace."

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queen-yellow-drawing-room

The Yellow Drawing Room is located in the East Wing of Buckingham Palace, and was used by Queen Victoria for entertaining. It is now primarily used for functions and meetings. The early 19th century wallpaper meanwhile, came from King George IV's Brighton Pavilion. It was discovered in storage by Queen Mary after World War 1, and was subsequently rehung in the drawing room.

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The video's caption reads: "Watch as historic nineteenth-century wallpaper from the Yellow Drawing Room is carefully taken away for conservation. Not only will this work restore the rare, fragile wallpaper, but it will simultaneously protect it from incurring damage from nearby construction work as part of the Reservicing programme. Once the works are complete, the restored wallpaper will return to its home in the Yellow Drawing Room.

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"The Reservicing programme is vital in order to mitigate the risk of fire and flood and will ensure that old wiring is brought in line with current health and safety standards. The refurbishment will also improve visitor access and make the Palace more energy efficient.

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"Designed by Edward Blore in the 1840s, the East Wing of Buckingham Palace was built for Queen Victoria to provide more entertaining and living space for her expanding family. Blore's design included the famous central balcony on the front façade of the Palace, which was incorporated at Prince Albert's suggestion. Since then it has been used on many national occasions, including annually at Trooping the Colour."

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