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Red Room

Political history meets royal life, deep in the heart of Hillsborough Castle

Political history meets royal life, deep in the heart of Hillsborough Castle

This splendid room was originally the Drawing Room of the house, and has been the setting for historic political meetings since the 1970s.

It was in this room that Queen Elizabeth II met President Mary McAleese of Ireland in 2005 – the first time that the two heads of state had met on the island of Ireland.

Royal visitors would have entered the gardens through the French window on the right; in the 1960s it had to be lowered so that the petite Princess Margaret could step over comfortably!

Today, the walls are covered in striking red silk damask fabric and a collection of art, which includes works by Antony van Dyck, Sir Joshua Reynolds and William Hogarth.

When

Open weekends


Ticketing information


Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

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Highlights of the Red Room

The Bone Miniatures

As you admire the many pieces of artwork in this room, take a moment to admire the 40 miniature portraits of English sovereigns, and several of their consorts, which span the walls.

Prince Albert commissioned this collection, named the Bone Miniatures, in 1843. Albert and Queen Victoria used to place the portraits on the floor to test each other’s knowledge of the family tree.

The collection is named after its creators, Henry Bone and his son Henry Pierce Bone.

A group of visitors enjoying a viewing of the Red Room, one of Hillsborough Castle's State Rooms. Two young girls appear in the foreground along with a young couple. A small group of older ladies and gentlemen can be seen in the background having just entered the room. The walls are lined with a deep red silk damask and a variety of oil paintings in gold frames of various sizes fill the walls. A chandelier hangs above a small round wooden table in the centre of the room. The walls are lined with grey and gold detailing.
A lady stands in the foreground looking around her at the gold-framed paintings adorning the Red Room. The walls are covered in deep red silk damask and a marble fireplace is visible. An older couple can be seen in the background, also looking at the paintings.

The round table

The round table was regarded as a key element to the function of the room as a place for political discussions and negotiations.

The shape of the table avoids any hierarchy of 'top and lower' seating, meaning that no one can be placed at the 'head' of the table. This is evocative of the legendary Arthurian Round Table.

EXPLORE WHAT'S ON

  • Things to see

The Gardens

Discover the ornamental lawns, meandering waterways, peaceful woodlands and picturesque glens that surround Hillsborough Castle.

  • Wednesday - Sunday
  • 10:00-17:00. Last entry one hour before closing.
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in all admission tickets (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

Ante Room

Discover the heart of the castle, which provides access to some of the most important spaces.

  • Open weekends
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

The Throne Room

Explore the ceremonial heart of the castle, where Queen Elizabeth II received guests at a coronation ball in 1953.

  • Open weekends
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)
Learn more

BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

The story of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

‘The Grandest House in County Down’

Art at Hillsborough Castle

Hillsborough Castle has become a place in which to see amazing art

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