The State Apartments
Berkshire SL4 1NJ
The State Apartments we see today were the creation of Charles II and subsequent monarchs. These State Apartments are the rooms reserved for Official and State occasions and are still used for this purpose today. They are sumptuous and lavishly decorated.
State Appartments looted during Civil War
During the Civil War the Castle was the headquarters of Oliver Cromwell and his Parliamentarian soldiers. The soldiers were badly paid and were allowed to loot the palace treasures in recompense. By the time of the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the State Apartments were in a pretty bad state of repair.
Castle restored by King Charles II
Charles II worked hard to refurbish and restore the Castle to a magnificent royal palace. He employed the architect Hugh May to design a new set of State Apartments and refurbish St George’s Hall. The best artists, painters and carvers of the time were used. Antonio Verrio created murals and painted ceilings and Grinling Gibbons carved doorways and fireplaces festooned with swathes of lifelike fruits, flowers and game. Charles furnished the rooms with tapestries and paintings, most of which are now in the Royal Collection.
Out of twenty rooms created at this time only three have survived relatively unchanged. They are the Queen's Presence Chamber, the Queen's Audience Chamber and the King's Dining Room. Happily quite a lot of Grinling Gibbons’ iconic carvings were saved and incorporated in 19th century renovations to the Garter Throne Room and the Waterloo Chamber.
Buildings in Upper Ward remodlled in Gothic Style
After Charles II died in 1685 subsequent monarchs preferred to live at other royal palaces. Needing a large palace to accommodate his big family, George III took up residence in 1804. His successor George IV employed architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville to completely remodel parts of the Castle.
The exterior of the castle buildings in the Upper Ward were remodelled in the Gothic style to give the castle an overall medieval look. Most of the State Apartments were also given a Gothic makeover, particularly St George’s Hall. The old baroque interior was turned into a medieval hall with a wooden roof decorated with the Garter Knights’ coats of arms. A courtyard was roofed over to create the Waterloo Chamber.
Furnished with Treasures from the Royal Collection
The State Apartments are furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection – porcelain, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, armour and paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Durer, Canaletto, Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and Lawrence
The Print Room and Royal Library house the Royal Collection of precious drawings, prints, manuscripts and books. These are exhibited in displays in the Drawings Gallery.
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Contact & Further Information
Getting ThereDetailed 'Getting There' information is in the Royal Windsor article in this website.
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