“And we’ll never be Royals. It don’t run in our blood. That kind of luxe just ain’t for us”, so says the kiwi singer Lorde.
Windsor castle is one of the very few ones that are both open to the public, and still functions as what castles should be – royal residences. It is a weekend home for the Queen, and it’s still used for hosting banquets for VIPs, like other heads of state. When not in official use, parts of the castle are open to the public, and it’s quite interesting as a visitor to walk the same floors that the Queen and her guests walk on during official events.
Rising at the highest point of the town of Windsor, the Windsor Castle has an imposing, but also elegant presence. The site is of strategic military significance, and the castle was made to withstand sieges, but it does not look all war-like. From the color of its walls, to the many nicely shaped windows, you could see that it’s a house – a gigantic one at that – fit for a queen. But you haven’t seen Windsor until you’ve been inside the castle – and I guarantee you that seeing the state rooms inside is worth every mile and every penny of your journey. Inside the castle are many adjoining rooms, some of which are still in official use, and some just retained for historical signifance. These include the previous kings’ and queens’ bedrooms, their studies, closets, changing rooms, etc. And then there are those gigantic rooms where the Queen hosts dinners, or where members of the royal family stay occasionally. The artwork on these rooms, from the painted cielings to the portraits and busts of important people, are breathtaking to say the least. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside, so I will leave it to Google and your imagination to see what’s in it.
The towns of Windsor and Eton
The castle sits majestically atop the town of Windsor and its next door neighbour, Eton. The two towns are just separated by the River Thames, upstream from London. Both are quite good examples of old English towns, and a stroll around their narrow streets are a good way to feel what life in England used to be like. Being just an hour (or less) north of London, a trip to the towns is a good way to experience the English countryside, if you have limited time.
The Eton Collage
Eton’s most notable resident is, perhaps, not man, but a school. The Eton college, an all boys school and one of England’s most exclusive, educated no less than 19 former British prime ministers, and counts Princes William and Harry as former students, along with several other royals and heads of state from other countries.