Although the Royal Pavilion will always be chiefly associated with King George IV, the palace was also used as a royal residence by William IV and Queen Victoria.

William IV and a more subdued palace

Oil painting from the Fine Art collection. "Portrait of William IV" by John Simpson, showing a full length portrait of William the Fourth standing in Coronation robes with a crown on the table to the left. 1830.
Portrait of William IV, John Simpson, 1830

On his death in 1830, George was succeeded by his younger brother, William IV. William IV was a popular and affable king and continued to visit Brighton and stay at the Royal Pavilion. As George IV had become reclusive towards the end of his life, the people of Brighton were reassured by William’s visibility and openness.

However, the Royal Pavilion’s accommodation was not suitable for a married sovereign and extra room had to be found for Queen Adelaide’s extensive household. Further buildings were added to the Pavilion Estate, virtually all of which have since been demolished.

Although William and Adelaide continued to entertain at the Royal Pavilion, it was in a much more informal style than the glamour and extravagance of former decades.

The young Queen Victoria

King William IV died in 1837 and was succeeded on the throne by his niece, Victoria.

Queen Victoria in green dress and bonnet holding a riding crop standing in opening framed by curtains, a column to her right decorated with a garland and 'VR' in centre at the base. To her right a small tablecovered with patterned material and bowl of flowers. Behind her a man holding a grey horse. The Royal Pavilion in the background. Group of men on horseback behind a hedge. Lithograph by Day and haghe. Published 1838 by JW Laird 1, Leadenhall St
Queen Victoria, Lithograph by Day and Haghe, 1838

Queen Victoria made her first visit to the Royal Pavilion in 1837 and this gesture of royal approval thrilled the people of Brighton.

However the style of the Royal Pavilion, and its association with her extravagant and indulgent elder uncle, made Queen Victoria feel uncomfortable. She adopted a policy of financial stringency during her residence in Brighton.

As her family grew, and the Royal Pavilion failed to provide her with the space and privacy she needed, she finally sold her uncle’s pleasure palace to the town of Brighton for £50,000 in 1850. As it was thought the Pavilion would be demolished, she ordered the building to be stripped of all its interior decorations, fittings and furnishings, for use in other royal homes.