Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

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Windsor Castle is one of the official residences of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and also Head of the Commonwealth. The monarch’s direct powers these days are limited: as a constitutional sovereign The Queen normally acts on the advice of her ministers; nevertheless the government, the judges and the armed services all act in the Queen’s name and she is an important symbol of national unity. She is kept closely informed about all aspects of national life and the Prime Minister has a weekly audience with her. The Queen has certain residual ‘prerogative’ powers which include the appointment of the Prime Minister and granting the dissolution of Parliament. As well as being Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen is Head of State of sixteen of its fifty-four member countries. Many of the Queen’s duties are ceremonial and a reminder of the United Kingdome’s long history. They include the State Opening of Parliament, The Queen’s Birthday Parade, state visits and the Garter Day celebrations. The Queen is officially in residence at Windsor twice a year: in April and also in June, when the annual Garter Service is held in St George’s Chapel with the installation of new Knights. The Castle is used alternately with Buckingham Palace for ceremonials visits from Heads of State of other countries. The Queen and her family also spend most of their private weekends at the Castle. Windsor Castle is one of the major repositories of the Royal Collection, where incomparable works of art are displayed in the historic setting for which they were collected or commissioned by successive monarchs. Because of the Status of the building as a working royal palace, objects are sometimes moved. Pictures and work of art are also frequently lent to exhibitions all over the world, so the arrangement may vary from time to time. CONTENTS Plan of the Castle……………………………………………………...4 The Development of the Castle……………………………………………4 History of the Castle…………………………………………………..6 Origins …………………………………………………………………………..6 Medieval reconstruction …………………………………………………………6 Charle’s Baroque Palace…………………………………………………………7 Picturesque Revival ……………………………………………………………...8 Queen Victoria and the Twentieth Century ……………………………………………………………….9 The Fire of 1992 ………………………………………………………………….9 Restoration ……………………………………………………………………….9 The Upper Ward and North Terrace……………………………….10 Tour of the Castle……………………………………………………………….10 Queen Mary’s Doll’s House…………………………………………………….10 The Gallery………………………………………………………………………11 The China Museum……………………………………………………………..11 The State Apartments……………………………………………….12 The Grand Staircase……………………………………………………………12 The Grand Vestibule……………………………………………………………12 The Anthe Throne Room……………………………………………………….12 The King’s Drawing Room…………………………………………………….13 The King’s Bed Chamber………………………………………………………13 The King’s Dressing Room…………………………………………………….14 The King’s Closet……………………………………………………………….14 The Queen’s Drawing Room……………………………………………………15 The Octagon Lobby……………………………………………………………..15 The King’s Dining Room……………………………………………………….15 The Queen’s Ballroom………………………………………………………….16 The Queen’s Audience Chamber………………………………………………16 The Queen’s Presence Chamber……………………………………………….17 The Queen’s Guard Chamber………………………………………………….17 St George’s Hall…………………………………………………………………18 The Private Chapel……………………………………………………………..19 The Lantern Lobby……………………………………………………………..19 The State Apartments (Continued)…………………………………23 The Grand Reception Room……………………………………………………23 The Garter Throne Room……………………………………………………....23 The Waterloo Chamber………………………………………………………...24 The Upper Ward……………………………………………………..25 Engine Court And The Quadrangle…………………………………………...25 The Lower Ward……………………………………………………..25 St Gerorge’s Chapel…………………………………………………………….25 The Albert Memorial Chapel…………………………………………………..26 The Lower Ward………………………………………………………………..26 Plan of the Castle The Development of the Castle The existing vast structure has evolved over the many centuries from its origin as a Norman fortress. Windsor Castle is the oldest royal residence to have remained in continuous use by the monarchs of Britain and is in many ways an architectural epitome of the history of the nation. The Castle covers an area of about 5 hectares (13 acres) and contains, as well as a royal palace, a magnificent collegiate church and the homes or workplaces of a large number of people, including the Constable and Governor of the Castle, the Military Knights of Windsor and the Dean and Canons of St George’s Chapel . The earliest part of the structure is the artificial earthen mound in the middle which was raised c.1080 by William the Conqueror. It supports the Round Tower built by Henry II, who adapted a purely defensive fortification as a residence by building the first royal apartments on the north side of the Upper Ward. The Upper Ward was converted into a huge Gothic palace by a succession of medieval kings, notably Edward III in the fourteenth century. He also founded the Order of the Garter and the associated College of St George in the Lower Ward. Edward IV built the present St George’s Chapel in the fifteenth century. Charles II reconstructed the State Apartments in Baroque taste in the 1670s, and the whole of the Upper Ward was reconstructed to its present picturesque Gothic appearance and the Round Tower heightened by George IV in the 1820s. He was also responsible for a acquiring much of the magnificent art collection which now fills the rooms of the Castle. Following a serious fire in 1992, a new roof was designed for St George’s Hall, and the adjoining Lantern Lobby and the Private Chapel were rebuilt in modern Gothic style. HISTORY OF THE CASTLE Origins The Castle was founded by William the Conqueror c.1080 as one of the chain of fortifications round London. It occupies the only natural defensive side in this part of the Thames Valley, 30 meters (100 feet) above the river. Norman castles were built to a standard plan with an artificial mount (motte) supporting a keep, the entrance to which was protected by a fenced yard or bailey. Windsor is the most notable example of a distinctive version of the plan developed for use on a ridge, with baileys on both sides on central motte. When first built, the Castle was entirely defensive, but easy access from London and proximity to the old royal hunting forest (now Windsor Great Park) soon recommended it as a royal residence. Henry I had domestic quarters within the Castle as early as 1110 and Henry II built two separate sets of apartments, a stat residence in the Lower Ward, with a hall where he could entertain his court on grate occasions and a smaller residence on the north side if the Upper Ward for his family’s exclusive occupation. Henry II ...

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