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Character is what you are. Reputation is what people think you are.

Henry H. Saunderson

The prince, the palace & the partying

04 October 2012

It’s widely known that England’s George III was a little nuts. But you’d be forgiven for thinking that “Mad King George’s” eldest son Prince George (1962-1830) was the eccentric in the family upon visiting his princely pavilion in Brighton. The young prince began drinking with abandon and enjoying the pleasures of women while still a teenager. And to daddy’s displeasure, he soon started hanging out with dissolute uncle the Duke of Cumberland, who was enjoying himself royally be the sea in Brighton.

In 1787 George commissioned Henry Holland to design a neoclassical villa as his personal pleasure palace. While he waited to accede to the throne , George whiled away the years with debauched parties for himself, his mistresses and his aristocratic friends. Even conscious of what was trendy, George decided in 1815 to convert the Marine Pavilion to reflect the current fascination with all things Eastern . He engaged the services of John Nash , who laboured for eight years to create a Mogul Indian-style palace, complete with the most lavish Chinese interior. George finally had a palace suited to his outlandish tastes and he was now a king. His brother and successor, William IV (1765-1837). Also used the pavilion as a royal residence, as did William’s niece Victoria (1819-1901). But the conservative queen never really looked to the place and in 1850 sold it to the town, but not before stripping it of every piece of furniture,143 wagons were needed to transport the contents. But many original items were later returned and the palace is now restored to its former glory.