Windsor Castle

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Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle
Article Image
Windsor Castle Upper Ward Quadrangle.
Windsor Castle
Artist Attributed to Diliff
Year 2006
Location Windsor, England


Windsor Castle is a royal residence located in Windsor, England. The castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since Henry I, the castle has been used by the reigning monarchs making it the longest occupied palace in Europe. It was originally designed to protect against Norman attacks. It is still to this day used as a venue for hosting state visits. Windsor Castle is the weekend home of Elizabeth II.



Windsor Castle first came to fruition during the reign of William the Conqueror when he chose its location. He decided the best place for it would be above the Thames River next to the Saxon hunting grounds and construction began around 1070 AD. It was completed in 1086, sixteen years later. It was originally built to ensure safety on London’s western front, but it also made excellent hunting grounds with a close distance to the capital. The Castle was first kept as a place of residence for King Henry I in 1110 and was then converted into a palace by King Henry II. During King Henry II’s reign, he built two sets of royal apartments spectate from each other, changed the wood fortifications into stone for better defense, and continued to fix the outer perimeters. The final major improvement was created by King Henry III when he built the large chapel. [1]

Residents who made major modifications

  • Edward III

Edward III sought to change the place from a military fortification into a gothic palace. His plans were to make the space a place with both State Apartments for official business as well as private royal apartments for the king and queen. The process cost 50,000 pounds making him the medieval king to spend the most on any single building.[2]

  • The Tudors
  • Charles II

Charles II's modifications marked the completion of the transition from military stronghold into a baroque palace. He had the Royal Apartments modernized by Hugh May. The rooms were filled with expensive tiles and tapestries. In order to preserve them, they were only displayed when the king and queen were present.[3]

  • George III
  • George IV
  • Queen Victoria

State Apartments

39 monarchs have called Windsor Castle home and the appearance of the State Apartments today reflects the changing tastes of the Castle’s royal occupants, particularly Charles II and George IV. Charles II set out to rival the achievements of his cousin, Louis XIV, at Versailles in France. He modernized the Castle’s interiors, which became the grandest State Apartments in England, with painted ceilings by Antonio Verrio and carvings by Grinling Gibbons. George IV gave the State Apartments a new grand entrance and staircase, and he added the colossal Waterloo Chamber, celebrating the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, introduced in the short film below by Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures.
The State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Canaletto. Many of the works of art are still in the historic settings for which they were first collected or commissioned by the Kings and Queens who have lived at Windsor. On 20 November 1992, a fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms at the Castle. The restoration of the Castle, particularly St George’s Hall and the Grand Reception Room, shows the extraordinary skills of some of the finest craftsmen in Europe.
Today Windsor's State Apartments are frequently used by members of the Royal Family for events supporting organizations they are patrons of.

Queen Mary's Dolls' House

Queen Mary's Dolls' House
Queen Mary's doll house at Windsor Castle.jpg
Credit: Rob Sangster [4]

Queen Mary's Dolls' House is the largest and most famous dolls' house in the world. It was built for Queen Mary by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, starting in 1921 and finishing in 1924. It includes contributions from over one thousand five hundred of the finest artists, craftsmen, and manufacturers of the early 1900s. The dolls' house is exquisitely detailed; It includes a garden, wine cellar, garage, dining room, kitchen, entrance hall, library, strong room, saloon, a bedroom and sitting room for the Queen, a bedroom and bathroom for the King, two nurseries, a linen room, and several staircases. The house has electricity, running hot and cold water, and working lifts. Every room is fully furnished, including miniature printed books, tiny hand-painted portraits, and real silver dinnerware[5].

St. George's Chapel

St. George's Chapel
Photograph Credit: Emily Wilson

The College of St. George was founded in 1348 by Edward III as a symbol of devotion to the church. The chapel was originally the Chapel of St. Edward the Confessor however in the 13th century it was rededicated to St. George who is England's patron saint. It was built in the Gothic style of architecture which has lines that draw your eyes upwards towards the heavens. [6] The church remains active today with three different services each day. The chapel closes on Sunday's to visitors and tourists, but anyone is welcome to attend the religious services held in the Chapel. Among the many different memorial slabs, one in the quire (in between the choir stalls) includes King Henry VIII and Queen Jane Seymour from the 16th century.

The Chapel is also used for the annual Garter service, for the order of the Garter. The members have lunch at the State Apartments and then hold their service inside the chapel. This ceremony was stopped in 1805 after its decline in the 18th century but was later reinstated in 1948 by King George VI to commemorate the 600th anniversary since the founding of the order.

In the past, the chapel has been used for many royal weddings, mainly the weddings of the children of Queen Victoria, as well as many royal burials and internments.

The Changing of the Guard

Weather permitting, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at about 11:00 am the changing of the guard takes place. The guard first parades through the town outside of the castle and then enters the castle. The ceremony takes place by St. George's Chapel, and it is accompanied by a Regimental Band and a a Corps of Drums. It is considered a privilege to guard the Sovereign and it belongs to the Household Troops, commonly known as 'the Guards'. The entire ceremony takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and at the conclusion, the retired guard returns to the Victoria Barracks.[7]

The Gift Shops

There are 4 gift shops for Windsor Castle which are located around the enormous fortress. They offer cute souvenirs such as Royal Guard teddy bears, royally dresses corgis and children costumes. You can also purchase homeware, china, clothing and jewellery, children’s toys, books and postcards. The revenue from every purchase contributes directly to the care of the Royal Collection, which is held in trust by The Queen for her successors and the nation.


The Scenery in and around Windsor Castle is spectacular. The building itself is well maintained giving the castle its natural feel. The greenery around Windsor Castle is also something that catches ones eye. Especially the moat garden, which is the the most beautiful of all. It is fulled with well trimmed grass and decorated with flowers that reach up to the surrendering towers. It makes one stop to admire its beauty when passing by.


  1. Who built Windsor Castle? (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2017, from
  2. Who built windsor castle? Retrieved from
  3. Who built windsor castle? Retrieved from
  4. By Rob Sangster [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
  5. Lambton, L. (2009). The Queen's Dolls' House. Royal Collection.
  6. A short History of St George's. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
  7. Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle. (2017). Retrieved 13 June 2017, from

External Links

Windsor Castle - Royal Collection Trust

Image Gallery

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