You can now pay $95 to peer out over the UK's most famous royal balcony — but you still can't stand on it

You can now pay $95 to peer out over the UK's most famous royal balcony — but you still can't stand on it
  • Buckingham Palace's East Wing is opening to the public for the first time.

  • The East Wing, refurbished over many years, includes the famous royal balcony and Centre Room.

  • Visitors can see over 3,500 objects, but won't be able to go on the balcony itself.

At seemingly every major state event in the UK, key figures from the British royal family line up on a balcony at Buckingham Palace to wave to the public.

It's where then-Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana shared their first public post-wedding kiss, and where — years later — the "fab four" waved to crowds before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's rift with his family emerged.

diana and charles wedding kiss
Princess Diana and Prince Charles kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding on July 29, 1981.Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

But until now this part of the building has never been open to the public.

Starting from July 11, and running until September 29, visitors to the palace will be able to pay around $95 for a guided tour of Buckingham Palace's East Wing, which has just emerged from a lengthy refurbishment.

Tickets sold out within hours of being announced in April, Sky News reported. The palace is considering whether to repeat it next year.

Two members of Royal Collection Trust staff stand on stepladders facing each other as they tend to a large, glowing glass lotus-shaped chandelier in the East Wing of Buckingham Palace, London on June 8, 2024, following a refurbishment. Behind them is the balcony used by royals for public appearances.
The Centre Room leads onto the famed balcony.Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

The East Wing covers the building's main facade and includes the Centre Room, which offers a glimpse out onto the balcony.

Built in 1847, it was commissioned by Queen Victoria to accommodate her growing family, closing off what had been a horseshoe-shaped courtyard.

The balcony itself was the idea of Prince Albert, the queen's consort, in order to "connect with the people," Caroline de Guitaut, a palace surveyor, told The Guardian.

Two Members of Royal Collection Trust staff walk down a long, red-carpeted corridor adorned with old paintings and ornate furniture and fixings on July 8, 2024, ahead of the opening of Buckingham Palace's East Wing following a long refurbishment.
The refurbishment has cost $475 million.Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

But you won't be able to give a royal wave from it yourself, according to the BBC.

This may be due to safety reasons, it suggested — the balcony barrier is below waist height.

The space is also surprisingly cramped, the outlet reported.

Even King Charles seems to have worried about toppling over at his coronation, The Mirror reported in 2023, citing a lip-reader who said he had spoken about not standing too close to the edge.

A woman, wearing black gloves, dusts a huge tiered China porcelain pagoda in the ornate red-carpeted hall of the East Wing of Buckingham palace on June 8, 2024, ahead of its reopening following refurbishment.
Many of the objects here are 19th-century Chinese art objects.Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

But even Harry and Meghan can't make appearances there now after the late Queen decided that it was for working royals only.

You might not be able to access the ultimate selfie location, but you can still see a great deal.

Those touring the East Wing can take in more than 3,500 objects, with the Centre Room's crowning feature a giant, lotus-shaped glass chandelier that has hung over the heads of many royals.

A woman dusts a highly ornate gold and turquoise clock, known as the Kylin Clock, on a mantelpiece during the final touches of the refurbishment of the East Wing of Buckingham Palace, on July 8, 2024
Final preparations for the refurbishment on July 8, 2024.Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

Many objects on view are Chinese-themed, reflecting King George IV's love of the country's art and design.

These include recently restored hand-painted wallpaper dating to the 18th century in the room where Queen Elizabeth II sat for many of her portraits, per The Guardian.

Scaffolding and building materials inside a mint-green painted hallway during Buckingham Palace's East Wing refurbishment, on June 21, 2021.
Building work takes place on the East Wing of Buckingham Palace, on June 21, 2021.Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

The refurbishment of the East Wing cost $475 million, leading to questions in the UK parliament when it was first announced in 2016.

It was ultimately paid for through a massive uptick in the Sovereign Grant, the money that working royals are given to fulfill their public duties.

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