On 12th August, 1783, George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, celebrated his 21st birthday.
Shortly after this date he arrived in Brighton for an eleven day visit to his uncle, the infamous Duke of Cumberland. The pair threw themselves into an endless round of entertainment, all spiced with lavish amounts of food and spirits.
The Prince liked Brighton so much that he returned again and again. In Brighton his lifestyle consisted of gambling, boxing, riding, horse racing, cricket, balls, theatre visits, banquets and love affairs. At first he rented a farmhouse and eventually bought it. This building was situated at the end of the main road from London to Brighton, ideally placed to create a stunning impression on all visitors to the town.
It became known as the Marine Pavilion. Initially, the Prince added to his new home in the French Neo-Classical style.
As with all his interests, however, he constantly changed his tastes. Thus, the Pavilion underwent further enlargements and modifications. By 1802 there was a new banqueting room and a confectionery room. [The Prince kept three confectioners on his domestic staff!]
In 1801 the prince received a gift of some oriental wallpaper. From that point he had the Pavilion redecorated in a range of oriental styles, featuring Indian and Chinese elements. This was accompanied by further remodelling of the exterior to the highly exotic appearance it has today.
By the time the Pavilion looked like this,
George IV looked like this...
The Prince Regent and his Pavilion feature in The Rake's Challenge, the story of a seaside holiday that nearly went horribly wrong.