Today we took the bus along the coast from our home in Eastbourne to Brighton. We stopped off in the famous ‘Lanes’ for lunch at ‘Cafe Rouge’ before making our way across the road to the amazing Brighton Royal Pavilion.
The Pavilion was built by the Prince Regent who later became King George IV. He designed it to look like a Chinese palace and decorated and furnished it in the Chinese style. The first room we came to was the Banqueting Hall, with a long table set for twenty places. Suspended over the table there is a huge chandelier that weighs a ton. Not surprisingly many of the Prince’s guests were quite nervous about sitting under this monster! Beyond this room is an enormous kitchen with all the latest culinary gadgets (the latest in the early eighteenth century, that is). There is an automatic turn spit and a steam heated warming table, the equivalent of a modern ‘hostess trolley’.
The great Music Room, where formal concerts were held, was very spectacular indeed. The walls were covered in red wallpaper and the domed ceiling was decorated with shells painted with gold leaf. It is said that the Prince himself sometimes played the organ that took up one wall of the room, and the Italian composer, Rossini, often entertained the Prince’s guests there.
The main object of our visit was to see an exhibition commemorating the life of Princess Charlotte. She was the only child of George IV. Sadly she died the day after giving birth to s stillborn son, when she was only twenty one years old. Had she lived she would have become Queen and her child, if he had lived would have been King after her. English history would have been completely different because Queen Victoria would never have come to the throne and nor would our Queen Elizabeth II.
There was much to think about on the long bus journey home.