Pavilion for Scandal

The magnificent Royal Pavilion, aka the Brighton Pavilion, was created for the Prince Regent during the madness of his father, George III. Building, to the design of architect John Nash, heavily influenced by Indian Mughal influenced architecture, began in 1815, and contrary to what one might assume, conceals an interior theme of Chinoiserie – the then fashionable craze for Chinese decorations.

The Prince of Wales, who later became George IV, first visited Brighton in 1783, at the age of 21. The seaside town had become fashionable as a result of the residence of George’s uncle, Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland, whose tastes for fine cuisine, gambling, the theatre, and general fast living were shared by the young prince.

The Pavilion has long been associated with scandal, serving as a discreet location for the Prince to enjoy private liaisons with his long-time companion, Maria Fitzherbert. A rumour spread that a tunnel beneath the Pavilion Gardens lead to his mistress’s house, but in truth, it only went as far as the royal stables, because the Prince Regent was so unpopular and overweight towards the end of his life that he didn’t want people to see him crossing the gardens above ground.

Prince George may have loved his Pavilion but his niece, Queen Victoria, “wasn’t amused” and didn’t like it one bit, and sold it to the Brighton Corporation in 1850, which is why it is a visitor attraction rather than a royal palace these days.

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