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Palace by the Sea

By Robin Tulley

Come with me and you will see

A Regency folly of renown

With bulbous domes and minarets

It is an icon in the town

When the Prince of Wales came visiting

And decreed it fashionable to reside by the sea

He instructed Nash an Architect of fame

To visualise a palace of oriental symmetry

In 1815 the building begun in earnest

Converting the once royal marine residence

The brief was plain and simple

To create a ‘pleasure dome’ at no expense

With an authentic Indian exterior

And a Chinese interior by contrast,

The prince sent out a statement

The cost of indulging his fantasy was vast

Its opulence and grandeur became the talk of the town

With a chandeliered banqueting room,

A Saloon and a Music Room en suite

The hoi polloi indulged their fantasy

And Mrs Fitzherbert swept the Prince off his feet

They went through a form of marriage

That was declared illegal from the start

Princess Caroline of Brunswick

Maintained she had his majesty’s heart

The great Chef Careme was employed

To provide cuisine at its best

Musical soirees were convened

And enjoyed at the Prince’s behest

Brighton soon became a magnet

For society to be seen and flattered

What was good for them and the Prince

Was the only thing that mattered

Time moved on, then Victoria took the throne

She was “not amused” with her seaside home

The corporation then purchased the unwanted folly

With what is now, the Museum, Library and Dome

The ravages of time played havoc with the palace

Restoration was the only thing they all decreed

Thousands of visitors now view its revitalised interior

It was a cultural triumph they all agreed

You may either like it or loath it

But I’m sure your bound to agree

There’s no building more compelling

Than this sumptuous palace by the sea

Robin Tulley


This page was amended on 16/07/2012
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