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UK royals open up new areas of palaces to summer visitors



Britain’s monarchy will be temporarily opening up to visitors off-limits areas in two of its most famous palaces, including Buckingham Palace’s East Wing housing its famous balcony.

Public guided tours of the wing will be offered for the first time from mid-July through to August, following the conclusion of more than five years of improvement works, the Royal Collection Trust said.

A department of the Royal Household, it manages the public opening of the official residences of King Charles III.

The East Wing encompasses the London palace’s front facade and features the central balcony where since 1851 monarchs and other royals have gathered for public appearances during special occasions or historic moments.

Tickets for the tours must be purchased alongside a ticket to visit the state rooms, with the combined price £75 ($95) for adults.

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Balmoral Castle tour

Meanwhile visitors will for the first time also be able to see parts of Balmoral Castle in Scotland used by the royal family.

The castle, deep in the Scottish Highlands, was said to have been the late Queen Elizabeth II‘s favourite royal residence and where she died in September 2022.

Previous tours, which will continue, have concentrated on the grounds and gardens with access to the castle limited to the ballroom.

But from the start of July until August 4, guided tours will be offered of “several of the beautiful rooms” inside, the castle’s website said on Wednesday.

“You will learn about the origins of the castle and how it has been loved by generations of the royal family,” it added.

Tickets – priced £100 or £150 with afternoon tea included – are limited to 40 per day and set to sell out fast.

The tours end in early August, when King Charles III and Queen Camilla would typically arrive for the monarch’s summer break at the estate.

King Charles back in the public eye

Last weekend, Charles made his most high-profile public appearance since revealing a cancer diagnosis earlier this year, attending an Easter service at Windsor Castle, west of London.

The palace announced in February that he would be pausing all public-facing engagements while undergoing treatment for the unspecified cancer.

It was detected after he had been admitted for surgery for a benign prostate condition.

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