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Monday, 31 January, 2000, 13:19 GMT
Palace ballroom opens its doors

Palace ballroom The ballroom was opened with a ball in 1856


Tourists at Buckingham Palace will be able to see the glamour of the royal ballroom for the first time this summer.

The largest room in the palace is included in the tour during the three months when the building opens to the public.

The ballroom is 40 metres long, 20 metres wide and 15 metres from its crimson carpeted floor to its chandelier-hung ceiling.

It is still used as the centre for state entertaining, from the annual diplomatic reception with 1,500 guests, to special events like Prince Charles 50th birthday celebrations in 1998.

It is also the location for state banquets, concerts and investitures - when the Queen gives honours, including knighthoods.

Special exhibition

The ballroom, which guests usually enter via the palace's East Gallery, was built for Queen Victoria and opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War.

When it opens to the public from August, visitors will be able to see a special exhibition on investitures, explaining the different honours and decorations and how the ceremonies are conducted.

There will also be screens showing a state banquet in progress.

Despite a Consumers' Association poll, which labelled the palace tour as "dull", more than two million people, have visited the staterooms since they opened to visitors in 1993.

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See also:
11 May 99 |  UK
Palace 'too dull' for tourists

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