Windsor Castle is one of the most significant residences of the British Monarchy ever conceived, and it has continued to maintain that perfect balance between ancient traditions and modern needs. Built by a conqueror to defend his new domains, it now hosts tourist groups from around the world. The castle has often served as a refuge, with its early battlements offering shelter to royals for centuries, while the castle helped shield others from the attacks of French kings and the Nazis. At the same time, it's known as one of the Royal Family's coziest homes, and it has long been preferred by monarchs with many children, including George III and his famous granddaughter, Victoria. Even today, Queen Elizabeth stays there with four generations of royals, as Prince George and Princess Charlotte scamper across the same lawns that she and her late sister once played on.
Given its importance, it's no surprise Windsor Castle has long been an important national symbol to the English. During the time of the English Civil War, the Puritans held Windsor Castle and used its once beautiful chapel as a prison, but when Charles II came back into power, he turned the castle into a symbol of his dynasty and the permanence he hoped it would enjoy, and though his dynasty did not endure, the castle has.
That said, the buildings themselves have suffered much in their nearly millennium-long history, suffering everything from dry rot to flooding to fire. As recently as 1992, 20% of the castle was destroyed in a fire that began with burning drapes and raged for hours, but each time it looks like the building has finally outlived its usefulness or has been damaged beyond repair, someone comes along, usually someone with a crown or his or her head, and sets it right and restores it. In this way, Windsor Castle, and the British Monarchy, are both likely to last for decades to come.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors