The fascinating history of Windsor Castle goes through centuries and it still continues to attract people all over the world. Windsor Castle is not only one of the three residences of the Queen, along with Buckingham Palace and Holyrood Palace, but it also holds the title of the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. The Queen comes often at Windsor together with her husband, this being their weekend residence.
With a history of more than one thousand years, the castle has undergone several adaptations and restorations resulting in the architecture we see today. Even if it was founded during William the Conqueror times, the castle keeps a Georgian/Victorian architectural style. Here, you can find gothic designs combined with some elements from the Georgian, Victorian and New Elizabethan periods.
- Significant Moments in the Castle’s History
The castle was marked by at least one significant moment in every century since its foundation. It was the residence of various British monarchs, with the first occupying the castle being Henry I. His successor, Henry II, continued the construction of some buildings around the castle. In the 14th century, the Order of the Garter was established. This is Britain’s most important chivalry order and the ceremony of investing or celebrating the Knights of Garter takes place at Windsor ever since.
Another significant moment was the construction of St George’s Chapel that was started by Edward IV and finished by Henry VIII. St George is the patron of the Order of the Garter. Today, the chapel is an important medieval architecture attraction in Europe, burying ten of the British monarchs.
Windsor Castle faced various tumultuous periods in British history. During the Civil War, it served both as headquarter for parliamentarians and a prison for Charles I. Throughout the years, the numerous kings of England restored and put their mark on the castle’s buildings or art works.
- Windsor Castle – A Top Tourist Attraction
Windsor Castle is not only an important residence for the Queen, but also an attractive place for the tourists. Obviously, not all areas and buildings of the castle are open for tourists, but it still attracts many tourists every year. Rooms such as the State Apartments, Semi-State Rooms, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House or St George’s Chapel are open for the public. Also, tourists can admire the treasures from the Royal Archives in an interesting exhibition.
- Changing the Guards at Windsor
The changing of the guards is one of the main attractions at Windsor Castle with the peak season for tourists generally between April and July. The ceremony begins at 11 am, from Monday to Saturday. Those who are interested can check the schedule on the official site of the castle.
Whether you decide to visit the castle or not, you should know that:
- It was marked by a fire on 20 November 1992, burning 9 principal rooms and over 100 other rooms.
- The restoration following the fire lasted 5 years and 70% of the budget needed was raised due to the Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms opening to tourists.
- The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary there.
- There are over 1,000 rooms in the castle.
- It is not open for public tour when the Queen is there.
- The Chapel, the St George College (a school accommodating 400 children) and St George’s House are administrated by Dean and Canons of Windsor.