The poor condition of ceiling in the State Dining Room at Buckingham Palace has forced the room to close, forcing questions to be raised about the state of upkeep at the Palace.
Posing a serious threat to the Royal Family, the State Dining Room, from where The Queen recorded her last Christmas Message, is at the heart of the Palace, where most functions are held: just last month, The Queen and President of China retired there for coffee after a State Banquet.
Featuring red damask wallpaper, and ornate white and gold freise, the State Dining Room is a marvel to the eye, but this discovery means it is now shut for six months, possibly affecting the Summer Opening, this year to be an exhibition of The Queen’s clothes.
Other State Rooms, including The Ballroom, Music Room, and the Picture Gallery – currently still open – will also have their ceilings inspected, to ensure the problem is isolated or prevented from spreading.
A Palace spokesman said: “As the result of a routine survey an issue was found with one of the ceiling beams in the roof space of the State Dining Room.
“Following further assessment, access to the room has been suspended. The State Dining Room is out of service for six months. They are checking the shared roof cavity above six State Rooms.”
Following the release of Royal finances in June, it was shown that Buckingham Palace was due for major rennovation, posing the questions as to whether Her Majesty would need to move out for the works to be completed.
Much of Buckingham Palace, the heart of the British Monarchy, is crumbling, with asbestos still installed, dangerous areas for staff to go, and numerous leaks: buckets often catch rainwater leaking into the Palace.
The work suggested, a decade of back-logged projects, was estimated to cost in the region of £150 million, though this may now need adjusting following this discovery. The last redecoration of the Palace took place in 1952 – when The Queen came to the throne, and much of that was touch-up work, as the official Palace rooms remain largely as they were.
The Diplomatic Reception, an annual white-tie function for the countrys top 1,500 diplomats, will now have to be adjusted accordingly, without the use of the State Dining Room. It is to be held this coming week.