Windsor Castle is a 13-acre royal residence in the English county of Berkshire. It was built in the 11th century by William The Conqueror. The castle is notable for its long association with the British royal family. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch. It is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments have been described as superb and have unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste. The castle has it’s own chapel. The 15th-century St George’s Chapel is situated within the castle’s walls.
Windsor Castle was built very strong. It has stood the test of time and has survived a few wars. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further and rebuilt the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England. Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made great use of the castle as a royal court and a centre for diplomatic entertainment. Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period during the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters for Parliamentary forces and as a prison. In 1660 Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of architect Hugh May. They created an set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired in the castle. The castle went through a period of neglect during the 18th century, Thereafter George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II’s palace at a massive expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria then made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for most of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge for the royal family during the Luftwaffe bombings during the Second World War. Windsor Castle also survived a fire in 1992.
Windsor Castle is a hugely popular tourist attraction. Queen Elizabeth II regularly hosts state visits there. The castle is her preferred weekend home. Today, more than 500 people live and work in Windsor Castle, making it the largest inhabited castle in the world. Windsor Castle is positioned on top of steep ground. The castle gardens stretch east from the upper ward across a 20th-century terrace. Windsor Castle is surrounded by extensive parkland. The immediate area on the east side of the castle is a 19th-century creation known as the Home Park. The Home Park includes parkland, two working farms, many estate cottages mainly occupied by employees and the Frogmore estate. The Long Walk, a double lined avenue of trees leading up to the castle, is 4.26 km long and is 75 m wide. The Home Park adjoins the northern edge of the more extensive Windsor Great Park occupying some 5,000 acres. It includes some of the oldest broadleaved woodlands in Europe. St George’s Private School is in the Home Park, to the north of the castle.
What a magnificent grande castle Windsor Castle is! For more about castles see our articles Curious About Castles and All Things Magically Enchanting.