Q was a difficult one for little old Britain to come up with a name for a Castle – but I thought Queen’s Castle would be a good way round and it is longer than usual, sorry!
|An aerial view of Windsor Castle (L to R) the Lower Ward, the Middle Ward|
and Round Tower, the Upper Ward with the Long Walk in the lower right-hand
corner. The River Thames can be seen in the upper left of the photo.
Windsor Castle has played an iconic role in our Queen’s history and many of the views will be well known, so I have summarised the history and shown some aspects that you may not have seen or been aware of.
|Windsor Castle in 1658, as seen from the south-east,|
by Wenceslas Hollar (1607 - 1677) .... a bohemian etcher
The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I (1068 – 1135) it has been used by a succession of monarchs and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe.
|The Horsehoe Cloister built in|
1480 reconstructed in the
The Castle’s lavish, early 19th century, State Apartments are architecturally significant described as a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste.
The 15th century St George’s Chapel is considered to be one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic design. The Horseshoe Cloister was built at the west end of the Lower Ward near to the Chapel to house its clergy.
Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, the castle fortifications were always being strengthened.
|The Long Walk|
Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the 13th century; this was enhanced by future royals with Henry VIII and Elizabeth I both making increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
Soon after her Accession in 1952 our Queen decided to make Windsor her family weekend retreat, but by the 1990s a major refurbishment programme was commenced to replace the ancient heating and wiring systems, while work was also undertaken to underpin the motte of the Round Tower after fresh subsidence was detected in 1988, threatening its collapse.
Sadly a major fire ensued in 1992 during these renovations. Nine of the principal state rooms were destroyed, and over a hundred more were severely damaged. Fire-fighters applied water to contain the fire, while staff rescued most of the precious works of art from the castle.
|Downes' work on the roof of|
St George's Chapel, Windsor
A Law of Unintended Consequences ensued – the water damage caused more complex restoration problems than the fire itself – resulting in Buckingham Palace being opened to the public to help pay for the costs.
The decision was taken to largely follow the pre-fire architecture with some changes to reflect modern tastes.
The architect, Giles Downes’ new roof of St George’s Hall is the largest green-oak structure built since the Middle Ages, and is decorated with brightly coloured shields celebrating the heraldic history of the Order of the Garter.
|Downes' drawings for the|
The Lantern Lobby features flowing oak columns forming a vaulted ceiling, imitating an arum lily – here you can see Downes’ drawing; he has held the positions of Chairman of the Judges for the Wood Awards, and Senior Warden of the Carpenters’ Company.
Because of the Castle’s position on top of steep ground, the gardens are limited in scale, however the estate is surrounded by extensive parkland, farms, estate cottages, the Frogmore Estate, woodlands, a private school for the choristers to the Chapel, while across the River is to be found Eton College, the English public school.
|The Crimson Drawing Room in|
2007, following the 1992 fire and
More than five hundred people live and work in Windsor, making it the largest inhabited castle in the world – while the Queen enjoys hosting state visits here, it is also her preferred weekend home ...
That is Q for the Queen’s Windsor Castle ... THE CASTLE of Great Britain ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles.
Bob Scotney’s castle yesterday was Powis Castle, Wales
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