King Charles III will be offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sleep in a unique bedroom in Parliament on the eve of his momentous Coronation Day. Charles, 74, will be offered the chance to rest his head in the luxurious State Bed, within the State Apartments of Speaker’s House, on the night before he is crowned on May 6.
The bed, fit for a king, lies inside the grandest residence in Westminster, and holds a fascinating history.
Beautifully carved and embroided, the bed was built to honor a tradition dating back to the days of William the Conqueror, according to the Daily Mail.
The tradition saw monarchs sleep at the Palace of Westminster the night before the coronation in nearby Westminster Abbey.
But George IV is the only monarch to have actually slept at the Speaker’s House in 1821 – and that was in a completely different bed.
In 1834, the old Houses of Parliament were destroyed in a fire.
This meant the Gothic Revival replacement wasn’t ready for Queen Victoria’s accession.
The State Bed was eventually designed in 1859 by Augustus Pugin and carved from walnut by John Braund in 1859. It measures 12ft high and 7ft 6ins wide and features the royal crest.
Until 1943, the stately bed remained in the State Bedroom on the first floor of Speaker’s House.
The couple eventually sold the bed in 1981 and it was restored with funds from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
About 1,500 members of the public will get to opportunity to visit the State Bed ahead of the King’s Coronation after tickets went on sale for tours of the State Apartments between April 1 and 15.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle described the bed as a “national treasure”.
He said: “Visitors to Speaker’s House are always surprised when they see this huge, beautifully carved bed with its embroidered fabric, and hear about its fascinating history.
“We believe that it was stored away with other heritage furniture during the Second World War to keep it safe from bombing raids, which destroyed the House of Commons Chamber in 1941.
“The fact that something as big as this could go ‘missing’ and end up in a Welsh woolen mill years later seems quite incredible, but it just adds to the intrigue surrounding the bed. “
“It really is a national treasure, and I am delighted even more people will be able to see it during tours of Speaker’s House.”