In the last episode of this series, historian Dan Cruickshank takes viewers through the developments that occurred to a number of Britain’s royal palaces during the nineteenth century and twentieth century. With the widowhood of Queen Victoria, the break out of the First World War and the difficult interwar period, Britain’s palaces faced numerous threats of damage and possible ruin.
Last week’s episode looked at the ways in which classical architecture dominated Stuart and Georgian palaces and how this style was used to emulate divine kingship. However in this episode, called Opening the Palace Doors, Dan Cruickshank illustrates how the shock of Prince Albert’s death in 1861 nearly led to the end of palace livelihood altogether.
Cruickshank describes to viewers how there was a flourish of palatial development just before the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 through the redesign and renovation of Buckingham Palace and The Mall. He then analyses the challenges that the royal family faced in retaining their palaces during the hardship of the interwar years.
Cruickshank brings the series neatly to an end by revealing the ways in which Britain’s palaces have been restored and conserved in recent years, much to the appreciation of the royal family and tourists alike. During his investigation, Cruickshank comes across a number of interesting finds, including decades old Hoovers, a piece of broken decoration from Henry VIII’s Turkish bath and even some old John Lewis receipts.
Opening the Palace Doors will be broadcasted on BBC Four at 9pm on Wednesday 2nd July. It will then be available to view online soon after. This episode was directed and produced by Graham Cooper.
Featured photo credit: BBC/Emilie Sandy
Photo credit: BBC/Historic Royal Palaces