Windsor Castle, England

East Terrace, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons

Street View

Official site

The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as “a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste”. Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be “one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic” design.

Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. 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, rebuilding 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”.[6] Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.

Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II’s palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign.

Street View (overview)

Long Walk. Windsor Castle.
Postmarked 1907.
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

A dramatic first impression is exactly what Charles II intended when he created the Long Walk between 1683 and 1685. As part of a major programme of improvements to the Castle, the King restored Windsor’s Great Park, which had been divided and sold off by Parliamentarians during the Civil War. By planting trees, taking land out of arable use and bringing in over 500 deer from Germany and Richmond Park, he turned the land south of the Castle back into a great royal hunting forest. To connect the Castle and the Great Park, he ordered a ruler-straight avenue of four rows of elms stretching for two and a half miles.
Royal Collection Trust

Henry VIII. Gateway, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons

Windsor Castle. The Presence Chamber.

Queens’s Presence Chamber: Royal Collection Trust

Windsor Castle. The Throne Room.
Publisher: F. Frankel & Co. (1904-1916)

GARTER THRONE ROOM: Created as part of Jeffry Wyatville’s reconstruction of the Castle, the Garter Throne Room served as Queen Victoria’s principle Throne Room, and is still the room where new Knights and Ladies of the Garter are invested by the Queen.
Royal Collection Trust“>

Windsor Castle The Rubens Room.
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

KING’S DRAWING ROOM: Originally the room where Charles II would receive important visitors and hold court assemblies, by the time of Queen Victoria this had become known as the ‘Rubens Room’, as it was hung entirely with works by or thought to be by the Flemish painter.
Royal Collection Trust

The Vandyke Room, Windsor Castle
Postmarked 1905
Publisher: F.G.O. Stuart (1902-1923)

QUEENS’ GALLERY Until the creation of the Grand Reception Room and Waterloo Chamber in the 1830s, this was the principle ballroom of the castle. The room took on its present appearance during the reign of Queen Victoria, when it was hung exclusively with portraits by Anthony van Dyck. These include The Five Eldest Children of Charles I, and George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628-87), and Lord Francis Villiers (1629-48). The magnificent chandeliers were also hung at this time. The silver furniture in this room, including an English table and mirror originally made for Kensington Palace, and a side table made for Charles II, are exceptionally rare survivals of perhaps the ultimate symbol of prestige and power.
Royal Collection Trust.

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