Windsor Castle

The following pictures are of Windsor Castle. This was the afternoon part of the Evan Evans Tour. The sun was still shining and it was beautiful. The town was bustling with people shopping and vendors peddling all sorts of souvenirs. It was in a shop off a cobbled street that I eyed a beautiful Scottish tartan serape. I hemmed and hawed and after all the procrastination, I didn't buy it because the tour was about to enter Windsor Castle. However, sometimes things turn out anyway as you'll read about later.

Windsor Castle
In order to get into the castle, you were screened just like at airport security. Your purses and backpacks were x-rayed and they made you pass through this arch that would beep if you had any metal object on you. The interior of the castle is absolutely sumptuous, grandiose and at times gawdy. But it's a MUST for anyone interested in castles, monarchy, or history.

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the castle so I bought a guide book. Windsor Castle is truly imposing. Due to the fact that it is one of the residences of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, it is kept in tiptop condition. No doubt it's a beautiful place to live but I think I would be bothered that about every 30 seconds there is an airplane that flies right overhead - headed for the runway at Heathrow which is nearby. The Queen was in residence while we were there. The flag flying above the castle was the Royal Standard.

There has been a castle at Windsor for over 900 years. William the Conqueror chose the site, high above the River Thames and on the edge of a Saxon hunting ground. It was a day's march from the Tower of London and intended to guard the western approaches to the capital. Since those early days, Windsor Castle has been inhabited continuously and improved upon by successive sovereigns. Some strengthened the Castle against war while others, during peaceful times, added comforts and luxury to the palace.

The Queen's Flag Flying Above Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle
Nine centuries after its foundation, the castle is still in use. The State Apartments, are the formal rooms used for Court ceremonial and State and official occasions. They range from the smaller intimate rooms of Charles II's Apartments to the vast area of the Waterloo Chamber, built to commemorate the famous victory over Napoleon in 1815. Most of the rooms were cordoned off with ropes and you had to walk along the edge. The carpets were also rolled up a couple of feet into the rooms to prevent wear from the tourists trodding on them.

Another gem that we weren't allowed to photograph was St George's Chapel. I bought the guide book for that too. It contains some spectacular pictures. The Chapel is the resting place of ten sovereigns. Founded by Edward IV in 1475 and completed by Henry VIII, the Chapel is dedicated to the patron saint of the Order of the Garter, Britain's highest Order of Chivalry, and ranks among the finest examples of late medieval architecture in the United Kingdom. I saw the final resting place of Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Henry VIII and Jane Seymore among others.

On 20th November 1992, a fire broke out in Windsor Castle. It began in the Private Chapel when a spotlight came into contact with a curtain over a long period of time and ignited the material. It took 15 hours and a million and a half gallons of water to put out the blaze. Nine principal rooms and over 100 other rooms over an area of 9,000 square metres were damaged or destroyed by the fire, approximately one-fifth of the Castle area. The next five years were spent restoring the Castle to its former glory, resulting in the greatest historic building project to have been undertaken in Britain in the twentieth century.

The Gardens of Windsor Castle

Inner Court Yard of Windsor Castle
To mark the completion of the restoration, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh held a 'thank you' reception in the restored rooms on 14 November 1997 for 1,500 contractors, and on 20th of November they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary with a ball also held at Windsor Castle. To the right is the entrance that the Queen uses to enter and exit the Castle. In the distance by the part of the wall that sticks out, (close to the arch) you can see her limo.

The tour ended with a cruise on the River Thames complete with afternoon tea! It was the first time I had tasted clotted cream and it was delicious on scones with jam and butter. The views from the boat were very beautiful. In the distance you can see Eton as well as its private school (barely visible from above the arched bridge). All the swans on the Thames are property of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. There was even a ramp on the Thames to help the salmon swim upstream past the locks to spawn.
Eton viewed from Thames cruise

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