Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Off To London To See The Queen Part 4......

Before we knew it Monday had dawned, our last day of sightseeing and our journey home.   Our first stop was The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead where we had about four hours to entertain ourselves before the return journey home.    The most famous place there is Windsor Castle so, of course, we had to do the tour.

Windsor Castle

The Castle was originally built by William The Conqueror at the end of the 11th Century.  It has been the home of 39 monarchs and is the oldest royal residence in the British Isles to have remained in continuous use.   Windsor Castle occupies 26 acres (10.5 hectares) with  951 rooms of which 225 are bedrooms.

Plan of Windsor Castle

In the above photo you can see the scale of the Castle and it's grounds and in the slide show below you will see the various places as we toured the Castle.

We weren't allowed to take photographs inside the Castle apartments so the following photos are courtesy of Google Images.   There are so many beautiful rooms in the Castle and items of interest it would be impossible for me to put them all in this post so I'm going to choose just a few to give you a taste of the splendour.
Grand Staircase
The site of the Grand Staircase was originally an internal courtyard known as Brick Court.  Jeffry Wyatville added the glazed gothic lantern roof, which survived the realignment of the staircase in the 1860s.  The trophies of arms and armour which line the walls are based on an arrangement for for William IV in 1830.  All visitors to the State Apartments, whether members of the public or heads of state, ascend this magnificent staircase to begin their tour. 
In the Grand Vestibule stands a marble statue of Queen Victoria which has been displayed here since it's completion in 1872.    Also displayed here is the musket ball that killed Lord Nelson.  He was struck in the left shoulder while on the deck of HMS Victory during the Battle of Travalgar in 1805.  The ball was removed by the ship's surgeon shortly after Nelson's death and made into a pendant locket which was later presented to Queen Victoria.
The Latern Lobby which was created after the 1992 fire on the site of the former private chapel, where th fire broke out, houses a magnificent suit of armour which belonged to Henry VIII.

The armour was made at Greenwich around 1540.  Several 'exchange' pieces to adapt the armour for the different exercises of the tournament are shown in the Queen's Guard Chamber.   The armour records the King's impressive proportions, which were quite exceptional in the sixteenth century.

We left the State Apartments and went out into the grounds again and down to the parade ground in the Lower Ward.  The soldiers on sentry duty within the precincts are drawn from the five regiments of Foot Guards (Coldstream, Genadier, and Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards), of which one battalion is always stationed at Windsor.   The Changing of the Guard routinely takes place at 11 am on the parade ground in the Lower Ward.   When the Court is in residence the ceremony takes place in the Quadrangle.    Luckily we were there just as the Changing of the Guard took place.

Then I just had to go and have my picture taken with one of the guards on sentry duty.
I asked him if he could possible crack a smile but he just gave a little chuckle without it showing on his face.
The five Regiments may be recognised by the grouping of buttons on their tunics and the Coldstream Guards grouping is twos, which is how we deduced that he was a member of the Coldstream Guards.

St. George's Chapel is also in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

We were not allowed to take photographs inside the Chapel so the following photographs are courtesy of Google Images.

Work on the present chapel began under Edward IV in 1475 and the east end or Quire (choir) was completed by 1484 with a wooden roof.  

The stone fan vaulting seen today was added shortly afterwards, by Henry VII, when the nave was also finished.   The chapel was finally completed under Henry VIII in 1528.  Medieval carved wooden stalls in the Quire are where the Knights of the Order of the Garter gather during their annual ceremony. The banners hang over their individual stalls and about 700 engraved and enamelled brass plates of former knights are attached to the backs of the stalls. In 2008, Prince William became the 1,000th knight of the order.   You can see a 360 degree tour of the Quire here showing all the banners and engraved plaques in all their glory.

St. George's Chapel also houses the tombs of King George V and Queen Mary. Anyone who has seen pictures of the British royal family in the early part of the 20th century will instantly recognise Queen Mary's distinctive hairdo in the carving. There is also an elaborate but rather moving carved memorial to Princess Charlotte, only child of King George IV, who died in childbirth.

The memorial is in a side chapel toward the back of the nave.   Also a side chapel, off the north Quire aisle, holds the relatively simple memorials of Queen Elizabeth II's parents (George VI and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) and her sister, Princess Margaret.

A simple stone slab in the center aisle of the Quire is the entrance to a vault that holds the tombs of Henry VIII, Charles I (beheaded by Cromwell's forces, after the English Civil War) and Jane Seymour (Henry VIII's third wife, who died following the birth of Henry VIII's only son).

Our tour concluded and we exited the Castle to have some lunch (yes in a pub!) down this little street opposite the entrance to the Castle.

This lovely lady dressed in a crinoline was handing out leaflets.   A little further down the street we came across Nell Gwynn's house. 

Nell was the mistress of King Charles II, from 1670 until his death and lived either in Pall Mall in Westminster, London or Church Street in Windsor, in order to be near the King while at his palaces.

Windsor is full of 'olde worlde' buildings like those above and below.

Market Cross House
(The Crooked House of Windsor)

Unfortunately it was time for us to return to the coach for our journey home.  We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend (was it really only a weekend???) in London, I hope you did too.


A Daft Scots Lass said...

I'm so jealous!!!

The weather looked great by the way. Love looking at the castles.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

well i completely enjoyed that!

smiles, bee

CrystalChick said...

It's been so much fun to read about your trip and see the photos of those magnificent sights! OH how I would love to travel there and see it all in person. Maybe someday!

There are a couple of books I've been looking thru and reading a bit of while in the coffeeshop at Barnes and Noble lately. One is about Anne Boleyn and the other Mary Tudor. Fascinating!

Ron said...

What a faaaaaabulous tour!

It felt like I was there!

The photo of you standing next to the guard reminded me of an old "I Love Lucy" episode where she visited Buckingham Palace and tried desperately to get one of the guards to laugh. But, she couldn't - HA!

Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed, m'dear!

Excellent slide show!

Have a great day.


Flowerpot said...

I felt I was there with you!

clean and crazy said...

thank you for taking us on a journey with you, that was lovely

Julia Smith said...

That was breathtaking. Just getting caught up on parts 3 & 4. The Sutton Hoo artifacts made me shivery! Thank you ((kisses)) for all of that!

All the gorgeous rooms at Buckingham and Windsor - *shaking head* It would blow my mind into tiny bits to see it all for myself!

Daryl said...

Finally .. I was getting that damn 'no service' thing forever ... loving your visit with/to the Queen!

R. J. said...

Thanks for the reminders--we enjoyed our visit too. We had tea at the Crooked House of Windsor. I enjoyed the St. Georges Chapel tour. I took pictures of jets landing at Heathrow as they came into the picture near the Round Tower--great contrast of time.

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Akelamalu: I loved the tour. It was so much...that I am coming back and re-reading the favorite parts again. I'm really into history and know much of England's history...but never knew the castle was so large.

I'm using your tour to plat a will get my girl interested in it...she is into interesting places and maybe this will get her to say yes to a trip to the UK.

thanks honey. xxx

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Ps...I've been trying to get on your blog...I've had quite a hard time getting on to some other blogs too. Third try did it. and now it's easy...go figure.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tour my friend. I so enjoyed this. I want to soooo go there :)

Valerie said...

You crammed a lot into a weekend. I was quite taken with the changing of the guard when I was there. Must look out the pictures.

Travis Cody said...

Someday I'll get there.

Akelamalu said...

The weather was just perfect Scots Lass :)

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it Bee x

I love Tudor history too Crystal Chick, for me it is the most interesting period in English history. I'm glad you enjoyed our trip.

I think I remember that episode Ron. There's absolutely no way those guards will crack a smile let alone laugh.

Oh that's nice Flowerpot :)

You're so welcome Clean&Crazy, I'm happy you enjoyed it.

Julia you would so love The British Museum and the Palaces and Castles. I hope you get to see them for yourself someday. x

I'm sorry you're having problems getting on here Daryl but glad you're enjoying the posts when you do. x

How nice that you went in the Crooked House in Windsor RJ, we didn't unfortunately. I agree with you about the planes flying over the Round Tower showing the contrast in time. :)

I hope this post will help you persuade your girl to come to England Spiky, you will both love it as you're so interested in history - we have so much! Good Luck. x

Glad you enjoyed the tour Thom, I hope you manage to get here some day. x

We did pack a lot in that weekend Valerie it was fabulous. :)

I really hope you do Trav x

KB said...

A wonderful post, especially loved the pics. Makes me feel a little home sick. Must be time to go back for a visit myself :)

aims said...

Really? A weekend?

Still - a day is better than none.

I envy you. Someday.....sigh.... :0)

nitebyrd said...

I very much enjoyed the trip! Thank you for sharing your fun and pictures!

Akelamalu said...

I can imagine how much you miss it KB. Definitely time for a visit.

We packed a lot into the weekend - really could have spent a lot longer Aims. I hope you get to see it for yourself. x

My pleasure Nitebyrd, I'm happy you enjoyed it.

Carol said...

Oh boy, I am so naughty. All those things are on my doorstep and have been for all of my 50 years. It has taken you, from up norf, to make me appreciate them!! LOL. Hope you are well.

Akelamalu said...

That's usually the case though isn't it Carol, one doesn't appreciate what's on one's own doorstep! I'm good hon, hope you are too. x

JMD said...

I'm jealous that you got to see the inside. The apartments were closed when we visited the Castle. :(

May I ask where you got the image of the Castle grounds? (I'd love to use it in my blog entry as well).