Skip to main content

The Royal Pavilion: Brighton’s Royal Attraction

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Crumbling from the shadows of a small fishing town of Brighton, Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland hoisted the collapsing settlement into the stunning Royal Pavilion that we all know of today. His penchant for the fast life lured his nephew, the Prince of Wales, to his lodging, Grove House.  Upon the advice of his physician, the heir to the throne visited the seaside town as it was believed that the saltwater and fresh air could somewhat remedy his gout.

In 1786, the Prince of Wales fled London amidst a Parliamentary investigation about the excessive spending on the construction of Carlton House. In Brighton he rented a modest farmhouse facing the Old Steine, a grassy part of Brighton that served as a walkway for visitors. The pavilion provided the prince with a discreet space where he enjoyed his private liaisons with his long-time companion, Maria Fitzherbert. He wanted to marry her, which he did in secret.    

The Royal Pavilion is a top attraction in Brighton. Image from Geograph

From the late 1780s until the 1820s, King George IV significantly enlarged the structure. First, he added one wing in 1787 and then he enlarged the pavilion to accommodate a new dining room and conservatory. The property’s land area was also extended through purchases of properties around the Pavilion. A grand riding school and stables, which dwarfed the Marine Pavilion, were built in the grand Indian style between 1803 and 1808to provide a home for his 60 horses.

Between 1815 and 1822, John Nash redesigned and expanded the Pavilion and turned it into a striking, exotic structure with its Indo-Islamic exterior. The result seems like the palace pluck straight from the Orient and transplanted to the center of this seaside retreat. The interior, meanwhile, was inspired by the Chinese and Indian fashion, with Mughal and Islamic  elements, a prime example of the exoticism that was an alternative to the more classicist Regency style mainstream.

The gardens at the Royal Pavilion. Image from Wikimedia Commons

After the death of George IV in 1830, his brother and successor King William IV also frequented the Pavilion. However, their niece, Queen Victoria disliked the pavilion and its lack of privacy. The accessibility of Brighton from London brought about by the railway meant more Londoners flocked to this seaside town. The Pavilion also proved too cramped for the queen’s growing family. Queen Victoria eventually grew weary of the attention she made when visiting Brighton, saying "the people here are very indiscreet and troublesome".

In 1850, she sold her uncle’s property to the town of Brighton for  £53,000. Instead of leveling down the entire property, she ordered to strip down all the decorations and other amenities so they could use it on their other properties. The town of Brighton took advantage of the Pavilion’s royal connection to invite more tourists. The town constructed many improvements later on and has worked hard to restore the structure and design as if it was that of King George’s time.

Night-time at the Royal Pavilion. Image from Wikimedia Commons

During World War I, just like other great houses, the Pavilion served as a military hospital, providing refuge to Indian soldiers. In the process, there was a heavy attrition towards the structure due to its frequent use, leaving interiors damaged and unkempt. It was also turned into a hospital for 'limbless men,' treating British soldiers who had lost arms and legs, usually from amputation. The Pavilion later underwent restoration work following the planned design. With the help of Queen Mary, most of the original decorations were returned to their respective places.   The Royal Pavilion Garden is also the only fully restored Regency garden in the UK.

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

A Day in the Life of The Queen: How Queen Elizabeth II Spends Her Day

Queen Elizabeth II is a stickler for order, and so routine is a part of Her Majesty’s day-to-day life. She rises at around 8.30 am and would be greeted by a piper who plays at 9am on the terrace beneath her apartment at Buckingham Palace. When longtime attendant and confidante Margaret MacDonald was still in service, Don Coolican noted that  Bobo, as The Queen affectionately called MacDonald, would awaken her, “bringing in a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits handed over by the footman.” The Queen’s corgis are the first creatures to grace The Queen , who would also beg to be given biscuits, Coolican writes.

A Rose Named Alexandra: The Story of Europe's Most Beautiful Queen

Queen Alexandra’s singular beauty and charm endeared her to the British people the moment she stepped foot on the English soil in 1863. In fact, the arrival of the Sea King’s daughter was anticipated as it was celebrated that Tennyson penned a poem for her, “A Welcome to Alexandra.”

The Truth about “Princess Qajar,” the Royal Lady with the Mustache

A Persian princess viral news websites baptized as Princess Qajar has lately become a stuff of legends. She was presented as a royal lady with a facial hair that made her so attracted that 13 men claimed their own lives because she couldn’t love them. The truth is, there was no “Princess Qajar,” only the Qajar dynasty  that ruled over Persia for more than a century.

The only fact about this historical meme is that at that time, it was fashionable for Persian women to wear mustache. “Many Persian-language sources, as well as photographs, from the nineteenth century confirm that Qajar women sported a thin mustache, or more accurately a soft down, as a sign of beauty,” explained Dr. Afsaneh Najmabadi.
The memes and fake stories circulating online refer not to a single princess, but actually to two female dynasts: Princess Fatemah Khanum"'Esmat al-Dowleh" and her half-sister, Princess Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh. Their father, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, ruled Persia from 1…