of windsor castle

While my parents were here, we finally managed to make it out to Windsor Castle. We’ve been wanting to see it for a while, and the day was a lovely one. It happened to be the Queen’s birthday, but we didn’t offer our best wishes as she was not in residence, as indicated by the absence of her standard from the top of this tower. It is, however, her favorite place, as it was Queen Victoria’s before her.
As we entered through the visitor complex and came up the hill to the gate, the daily changing of the guard was about to happen. We had missed it at Buckingham Palace in London a few days before. Well, we didn’t actually miss it. It was, in fact, occurring right in front of us, only the heads of about two thousand tourists were blocking all view of it! This time we were in position, right on the ropes, as the band and the guard marched merrily in rejoicing.
Dad had the wide-angle lens, so I got the close-ups. I just love this guy. Is he English or what? (No, I will not explain what I mean by that.)
We spent some time in St. George’s Chapel, which was my favorite part. Something about seeing the graves of George IV and his queen and Princess Margaret (Think: The King’s Speech) and many of England’s monarchs was particularly fascinating. I think my heart was pounding when I saw the gravestone of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, but that may just have been because I was trying loyally to shield my father, who was taking an illegal picture of it right behind me.
The architecture, the stone ceilings, the banners of the Knights of the Order of St. George hanging in splendor in the chancel . . . it was all something out of a fairy tale. I guess that’s how Americans always see it.
Like at so many sites in Britain, there was an audio guide to listen to as we made our way around. Or at least to listen to in the intervals of supporting the happiness of two small children. Until one of the small children, given an audio guide to hold, learned to use it, which made the whole experience so much more educational.
We saw the incredible, enormous doll house of Queen Anne, which fascinated Norah and made Harriet want to squiggle and scream. We toured the impressive rooms of State and saw Rembrandt’s self-portrait and enough medieval armor to make a battleship, if it were melted down. Or sink one. I loved the room where the Queen holds the annual dinner for the Order of St. George, occupying a white throne cushioned with dark green velvet. It was so King Arthur. (sigh) I suppose every American says that, too. I looked around at other tourists, trying to spot the syllables “King Arthur” on their lips, but I must have looked a moment too late.
There is, sadly, no moat at Windsor Castle. There was, but it has been turned into the garden above. There are, however, royal crowns on the street lanterns.
After we left the castle, we wound our way through the little town of Windsor on a creative route to the car. It was crowded, touristy, and very, very charming. (I almost said “quaint” but caught myself just in time.)
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5 Responses to of windsor castle

  1. Liz says:

    Yes, I am truly living my life vicariously through you and all of your adventures! Windsor Castle is one of my absolute FAVORITE memories from England. I’m with you – thoughts of Camelot and King Arthur meandered in and out of my imagination the whole time I was there. Not to mention, the present royalty and what it must be like to just “go” there for “holiday”. *sigh* No… DOUBLE *sigh*. Thank you yet again, dear Betsy, for sharing your British years with those of us “across the pond”.

  2. Dad Barry says:

    After your mention of how you were “loyally sheltering your father” who “was taking an illegal picture right behind you” of Henry VIII’s burial stone; and now having publicly divulged such a disgrace in the rather public forum (no less the world-wide web)… I formally apologize for my despicable behavior to the Queen, the people of England, and my lovely daughter for my total loss of self control.
    Most humbly… Dad

  3. Amy Park says:

    Betsy, have you been to Hampton Court Palace? That was one of our favorite (favourite) stops on our trip. It was Henry VIII’s palace, and it’s amazing to see the Tudor kitchens where they cooked meals to feed the 600 members of Henry’s court every day! The gardens are BEAUTIFUL. It is very kid-friendly, with velvet Tudor capes for the kids to wear and a kid-friendly audio tour. There are people dressed up as all of Henry’s wives, Henry himself, and Cardinal Wolsey. It’s a bit southwest of London, right on the Thames. I would highly recommend it as a family outing. And I agree that the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is no fun – you can’t see a thing. My mom recommended the changing of the Horseguards, which happens every day at 11 AM – on horses!

  4. Lana Teeters says:

    Betsy, when Brandon and I were in England, we love Windsor Castle and walked all through the village, castle and the grounds. Brandon was so impressed by the weapons and armor, but I loved all of the churches, quaint little villages, castles and the food, especially the shepherd’s pie. One of our favorite times was taking the double-decker bus ride and the cruise on the Thames River. But we were there during the millenium with a million other people. Didn’t see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, but did see the Horseguards at St. James. It was one of my most favorite trips ever! See everything that you can while you are there.

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