Windsor Castle, Berkshire. The residence of past and present monarchs and the place steeped in history and local legends.

windsor berkshire

It is hard to believe that back to the Tudors time Windsor, this flourishing and well-cared-for town, priding itself on the neighbourhood with the Royal Family, fell in somewhat of decay and oblivion. Nowadays Windsor is one of the most visited places in England, and probably only a rare tourist has not visited the town with its sumptuous Windsor castle, having been extremely popular not only because of its almost 1000-year history and opulent interiors, but mostly for that since the time of William the Conqueror till present days it has been inhabited by the British kings and queens. The attendance of the present monarch is indicated by the flag, dignifiedly fluttering above the castle, but don’t allow yourself to be confused by the Union Jack, only the Royal Standard means that the sovereign is in residence. By the way an old worldwide tradition of lowering a flag half-mast in case state mourning, doesn’t work with the Royal Standard that cannot be taken down half-must, since the succession of the monarchs never stops, and as they also say, “The king is dead. Long live the King.”

queen victoria and prince albert

For twenty years Windsor castle had remained the love nest for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert - one of the most devoted royal couples in British history. It was in the castle where Victoria proposed to Albert, where they were bringing up their nine children and where the 42-year old prince heaved the last sight by his dazed with grief wife. It seems that Victoria struggled to accept the fact of the death of her beloved husband until the end of her own very long life. The Blue Room, where Albert passed out, was turned into a sort of shrine, the prince’s belongs were ordered to be left there untouched, as if their owner absented himself for a short while. There is the story that Benjamin Disraeli, the Queen Victoria’s prime-minister and friend, having been on his death-bed, rejected her visit, saying with irony:” It s better not, she would only ask me to take a message to Albert…”

windsor great park
Windsor Castle and the Long Walk. Photograph by Peter Trimming

The best way of appreciating the proportions of the immense 13-acres Windsor castle (in fact it is the largest inhabited castle in the world) as well as admiring the breathtaking views over the Windsor Great Park, is to do it by ascending the Snow Hill, connected with the castle by 3 miles Long Walk, reportedly created during Charles II under the impression of Versailles’ park that was laid out at the same time in France. Above the hill towers The Copper Horse - the monument devoted to George III by his son George IV, who attempted to create the memorial similar to the Bronze Horseman in Saint-Petersburg dedicated to Russian emperor Peter the Great, who in the end of the 17th century used to live and study the nautical skill in the vicinity of London through the experience of simple carpenter.

windsor great park
Statue of King George at Snow Hill. Photograph by Peter Trimming

saint petersburg russia
The Bronze Horseman in Saint-Petersburg

The statue of horse, mounting George III, doesn’t have the stirrups, which gave food for the rumour that the sculptor Sir Richard Westmacott was so upset by his inaccuracy, that he hung himself. Well, Sir Richard really died, but only 25 years after, so doubtfully that it happened because of the suffered ego.
henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
In fact the lack of the stirrups was not a mistake but an intentional feature, based on the equestrians in the Roman Empire.

Not far from Windsor Castle is yet another local attraction – the legendary Runnymede, the place where in the 13th century the Magna Carta was signed. This spot is also quite fascinating by its ancient Ankerwycke Yew, which is believed to be in excess of 2000 years and to possess magic power. The local stories say that the yew was the place, where languishing from his ardour Henry VIII and unassailable Anne Boleyn used to date. At that time Henry doubtfully could imagine that few years later he would be seating on the Snow Hill waiting for the gunfire signal from the Windsor Round Tower, notifying him of the execution of his former love and second wife.

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article in its entirety as long as active link back to this web-address is included.Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article in its entirety as long as active link back to this web-address is included.


Chris Brown said...

Henry was not on snow hill when Bolyn was executed. He was in London at the time.

William K Wallace said...

One of these days I will take a day trip to Windsor...the castle looks amazing.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails