The royal family have given fans a sneak peek behind palace walls in a new video that details the painstaking wallpaper restoration process that is included as part of Buckingham Palace’s $718 million refurbishments.
The quick two-minute video was posted on the royal’s social media account and took viewers on an exclusive insider’s tour of the opulent East Wing as it went through the current reservicing programme. The process began with decanting all artwork and objects from one of the rooms which is formally known as the ‘Yellow Drawing Room’ before experts carefully started to remove the long-standing wallpaper.
The early 19th-century wallpaper originally came from King George IV’s Brighton Pavillon before it was rediscovered by Queen Mary following the First World War and hung up in the famous yellow drawing room where it remains today.
According to the Royal family’s official site, the work being undertaken on Buckingham Palace will be fixing electrical cabling, plumbing and heating issues that haven’t been updated since the 1950s. Part of this reconstruction will include implementing a lift next door to the yellow drawing room to improve accessibility around the palace.
However, vibrations and movements from the work surrounding the historical room would have only caused more damage to the wallpaper meaning it’s an ideal time to remove it and work on its restoration.
The wallpaper conservator who is completing the reservicing programme, Allyson McDermott, said the paper would be carefully removed and taken back to their studios to be preserved for the future. Once the restoration work is complete, it will then be returned to the walls of the yellow drawing room.
“This is the perfect time,” she said. “The paper is desperately in need of conservation. It’s very acidic and very fragile and this is just a wonderful opportunity to do it whilst all the work is being carried out around the palace.”
Updated wiring and refurbished areas of the house will not only help to bring the palace up to current safety standards, but it is also said to improve visitor access and increase energy efficiency. The Reservicing programme began in April 2017 and is set to take place over the next decade to keep the palace in good condition for the following 50 years.
The multimillion-dollar refurbishment is funded by an increase in the Sovereign Grant, which is the money that the government provides the monarch based on the percentage of the profits from the Crown Estate.
The video was posted to the royal’s social media with fans excited to finally have a rare glimpse into the conditions of the iconic building with one commenter saying: “So cool to preserve history like this!”
Another wrote: “Wow! Amazing that the conservators can even get the paper off the wall without ripping it!” while a third praised the sustainability of the palace by saying: “Reduce, reuse, recycle on a grand scale. Well done”.