THE QUEEN WAS IN. Her standard flew from the Round Tower and much of the buildings were closed off to visitors. Still, the visit made for a lovely day out amidst millennia-spanning history; not to mention incredible foliage and an incredible amount of stone.
Completed in 1086, Windsor Castle was originally built as part of a defensive ring of motte and bailey castles surrounding London. It was not until Henry I that the castle was first used as a royal residence, and not until Henry III that it began to see luxurious enhancements and additions to its structure. Among its many restoration projects was the renovation of St. George's Chapel, carried out by poet Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 1300s. The father of English literature, Chaucer also served as Clerk of the King's Works, conducting repairs at Westminster Palace and Tower of London in addition to Windsor. Notable too was the grand modernization of the State Apartments, supervised by architect Hugh May in the 1600s. May was responsible for building St. George's Hall and the Royal Chapel, and his work on the Royal Apartments earned it the esteem of being the grandest baroque State Apartments in England. Most recently, Windsor Castle underwent a five-year restoration period following the 1992 fire. Having survived the fire, two wars and periods of neglect, the castle today enjoys serenity and splendor as the world's largest inhabited castle and longest-occupied palace in Europe.
An official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, Windsor Castle is unofficially her favorite weekend home. It was fabulous knowing she was around during our visit but it would be a shame to miss seeing the interiors a second time. With a trip to the English country set for the holidays, I hope to revisit the castle without Her Majesty in the house. There are only so much battlements you can look at without feeling the urge to break into song.
Maybe Camelot. Maybe Into the Woods.
Windsor Castle, Berkshire. www.royalcollection.org.uk Photos by Lady San Pedro and Jaime Sese.