Hofdame Note: We are continuing our tour of the Buckingham Palace with our Baguette Royal Warrant as our guide!
Her Majesty has given the Christmas address from different residences and from many different rooms at her disposal. In 2014, she sought out a particularly Christmassy red room at her disposal, the State Dining Room.
Although not as large as the Ballroom, the State Dining Room of Buckingham Palace can seat up to 170 guests. This room as the advantage of being on the west side of the Palace and a view of the garden. This view encompasses the Blue Drawing Room, Music Room and ending on the portrait of Queen Alexandra hanging in the White Drawing Room. This illustrates the textbook definition for the term enfilade – a suite of rooms with doorways in line with each other.
In 2019, there was an exhibition on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth. The table in the State Dining Room was set with recreations of pieces from Victoria’s era, and the current Queen personally inspected the dessert service prior to the opening.
The initials of both King William IV and Queen Victoria appear in roundels above the portraits. These indicate that the room was among the last to be completed after the death of King George IV.
In 2014, a recreation of the magnificent cake decorated for Prince Leopold’s 1853 christening was placed on display in the dining room. It was part of the exhibition on royal childhood held that year in Buckingham Palace.
The State Dining Room is used for formal meals which are not quite as grand as State Banquets. It is an elegant room. Dominated by a portrait of King George IV in his coronation robes.
In 2011, it was cleared out entirely in preparation for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding reception.
So you can see this is a “family-gathering” room, despite its grand proportions!
Off the Principal Corridor that links to the Chinese influenced Centre Room is the similarly themed Chinese Dining Room. It has a dominant view of the Queen Victoria Memorial, appropriate since she was the driving force behind the design.
The Queen wrote in her diary (June 1849) “A dragon has been painted on the ceiling and harmonizes with the rest.” A water-lily form chandelier in oil-painted glass made in 1818 for the Brighton Pavilion Music Room was also placed in this room – much like the one in the Centre Room (photo 1 below).
In photo 2, there is wonderful view of the lavish crown-molding and impressive dragon with extended wings dominating the fireplace. The dragon, wings and shelf are carved from a single block of marble. Photo 3 shows the Trompe l’oeil Chinese railings were painted on the lower part of the wall. The sideboard is made from Rosewood, Snakewood and Satinwood. In photo 4 you can see the impressive fireplace that completes this room. It was originally from Brighton Pavilion’s Music Room. Giant oil lamps – shown in photo 5 – are placed between the windows. These were taken from Brighton Pavilion’s Music Room and combine Chinese export porcelain vases (1720s) with new parts made in the 1820s. In photo 6, shows the impressive fireplace as a whole and the dining furniture. The dining chairs are from the set of 48 made for Brighton.
There are not many photos of the Chinese Dining Room in use, which probably means it’s not used as frequently as the other rooms in the Palace, at least for public events.
If you have any favorite photos of the royal family in these rooms, please spam them in the comments below!