Marie Claire UK by Megan C. Hills
‘Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth.’
Forget Hogwarts and the Marauder’s Map, Buckingham Palace’s secret network of passages make the royal residence one of the best places for hide and seek ever. It turns out that behind some grand furniture in the palace’s White Drawing Room, there’s a hidden tunnel that allows you to bypass hundreds of rooms and slip directly into the Queen’s private rooms.
The passage was revealed by Anna Reynolds, a curator of the Royal Collection Trust, who walked royalists through the passage in a video that can be viewed here. If you pull on a small handle behind an ornate floor-to-ceiling mirror and dresser in the White Drawing Room, the entire thing swings forwards to reveal a small passageway (of course, decorated with a grand golden details).
Anna said, ‘This is the way to the Queen’s apartments, and often when the Queen is meeting guests, they’re lined up here in the music room.’
The very James Bond set up also seems to appeal to the royal family’s flair for the dramatic. Anna continued, ‘It allows her to make an entrance without having to walk through all the Palace rooms.’
Given that there’s an eye-watering 775 rooms in the palace, it’s no surprise that the Queen wants to shave off some time running from one place to the next to entertain guests. Having a secret passage that cuts out a couple of hundred hallways also sounds like the best thing ever on those days when you’re just far too tired to deal with anybody and just want to go straight to your room after a hard day’s work.
The palace recently revealed the ludicrously long route that butlers have to take in order to bring food from the kitchens to one of the Queen’s drawing rooms. Starting off in the basement kitchens, butlers have to pass through several doors, take a lift, walk down seemingly endless Buckingham Palace hallways before turning sharply towards the Chinese Drawing Room. It’s a wonder that any food gets to Queen Elizabeth’s table warm, given that you would probably have to sprint the route.
Buckingham Palace is also currently undergoing a major renovation project, which will make major improvements to the palace’s age old floor plan by improving lifts and restoring it to its former grandeur. Here’s hoping they don’t take all the fun out of the royal residence by closing off the secret passageways – the thought of Liz popping out from behind dressers and bookcases to terrify world leaders brings us no end of joy.