Monday, July 22, 2013

Visiting at Windsor

The Round Tower at Windsor Castle.
The moat is now an ornamental garden.

There is so much history surrounding Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II's favourite homes, that this blog post can do little more than show you a few pictures (exterior only - day tourists can't take photographs inside), encourage you to visit yourself, point you to this link, and share the story of How I Saw The Queen.

Yes, on a lovely sunny weekend in July, Her Majesty was 'in', as she often is on weekends. The flag was flying on the Round Tower. I had worked my way through a number of luxurious and ornate interior rooms, sumptuously furnished and filled with numerous art treasures, and was exploring St George's Hall, the enormous long gallery which is plastered with the coats of arms of members of the Order of the Garter. The fire of 1992 started near here, but all is now rebuilt to the expected level of splendour.

I was about to move on to examine what further treasures awaited, when one of the docents - a particularly helpful breed in Windsor Castle - drew my attention to the courtyard outside the window. 'There's the dogs! Her Majesty will be out soon.' Really?! I peered through the dusty glass to the portico opposite, where I had just glimpsed a few doggy tails disappear. Within a minute or two, sure enough, down the steps came a short, upright figure with white hair and outdoor clothes. She too disappeared under the portico, and shortly there emerged a car; for all the world it looked like a short white haired elderly lady behind the wheel. Off to exercise the dogs in Windsor Great Park? A confirmed sighting.

I later learnt that the Queen does indeed drive, having learnt to do so in 1945 when, as an 18-year-old Princess, she was a member of the war-time Auxiliary Territorial Service. She can, from time to time, be seen driving about in Windsor Great Park like any other member of the public enjoying the weekend.

A short drive from London, on the Thames.

Local Windsor pub - recently renamed.

Local Windsor inhabitants, on a sunny summer day.

Approach to the Castle.
The venerable Castle walls.
Courtyard in front of the State Apartments.
Her Majesty is IN! (Note the portico, roughly centre.)

The ornamental moat.
St George's Chapel, resting place of monarchs, recent and historical.


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