The Crown: A Look Inside Windsor Castle – The oldest and biggest inhabited castle in the world, Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century by William The Conqueror and has since housed 40 kings. Today it is the resting place of Queen Elizabeth II and an important historic monument. Discover more about Windsor Castle in this new article by The Most Expensive Homes blog.
The current form of Windsor Castle is the culmination of nearly a thousand years of evolution. The 39 monarchs who have lived there, each of whom left their mark, have made it the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world.
The Grand Reception Room is one of the most visually appealing spaces. It was previously the main ballroom in the Castle and had chandeliers and gilding. The massive malachite urn, one of the largest examples outside of Russia, and a gift from Tsar Nicholas I to Queen Victoria in 1839 is a feature you can’t miss in this room. It’s difficult to imagine that the fire in 1992 could have caused such terrible damage to this chamber when you look about at the gold-covered walls and ceilings. The space was painstakingly restored to its original splendour, which is now visible.
George IV built the enormous Waterloo Chamber to commemorate Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat in 1815, a new set of private chambers called the Semi-State Rooms and a new grand entrance and stairway for the State Apartments.
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Charles II and his queen, Catherine of Braganza, commissioned the construction of the historic rooms. These rooms are organized in a series of smaller rooms that get smaller as they get closer to the most secluded places, following a pattern developed in English palaces over hundreds of years. The king and queen were only accessible to the most important members of the court due to severe admission restrictions.
Charles II set out to surpass his cousin Louis XIV’s accomplishments at Versailles in France. With painted ceilings by Antonio Verrio and carvings by Grinling Gibbons, he modernized the Castle’s interiors in the 17th century, transforming them into the largest State Apartments in England.
The rooms have seen major alterations since then. Under the guidance of George IV’s architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville, several of the painted ceilings were covered with decorative plaster. A gilded plaster ceiling, such as the one in the Grand Reception Room, was restored following the fire at Windsor Castle.
The Royal Collection’s best artwork, including pieces by Holbein, Van Dyck, and Rubens, is displayed in the State Apartments‘ furnishings. Many of the pieces of art that the kings and queens who resided at Windsor originally acquired or commissioned are still in their original historical settings.
The private chambers built for George IV are known as the Semi-State Rooms. They have interiors designed by Morel & Seddon and a selection of Carlton House’s furnishings and fixtures, which were once George IV’s London home. Queen Elizabeth II used the spaces, which are among the Castle’s most lavishly furnished interiors, for official banquets. In our online trail, you can find out more about George IV’s design concepts for the Green Drawing Room.
George IV enjoyed the theatrical and cherished excellent objects. In the 1820s, he fully remodeled the exterior of the Castle with the help of his architect, Sir Jeffry Wyatville, giving it the beautiful and attractive appearance it has today. Additionally, he made the decision to build the magnificent Crimson Drawing Room as part of the new Semi-State Rooms, a collection of private spaces on the Castle’s sunny east and south sides. This was one of the most extensive and pricey interior design projects ever completed in England, as well as George IV’s final and most important request.
The Semi-State Rooms were severely damaged by the fire of 1992, although, by chance, their contents had been moved elsewhere at the time. They were completely restored to their 19th-century appearance using the original designs supplied to George IV.
One of the best specimens of English Gothic architecture can be found on the grounds of Windsor Castle in St George’s Chapel. In 1475, during the reign of Edward IV, work on the current Chapel began, to conclude 50 years later during the reign of the most famous Tudor King, Henry VIII.
Numerous royal nuptials have taken place at The Chapel, including those of HRH Princess Eugenie and Mr. Jack Brooksbank, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and The Earl and Countess of Wessex. It is also the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter, the highest order of British Chivalry founded in 1348 by Edward III.
The tombs of 11 monarchs and other royal family members are located inside the Chapel, including those of Queen Elizabeth II, George VI, Henry VIII, Charles I, and Prince Philip. When visiting, look for the magnificent marble memorial by Matthew Wyatt to George IV’s only child, Princess Charlotte, who passed away in childbirth in 1817, among the many memorials in the Chapel.
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