The History of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is one the best-known landmarks in England. It was built in the 11th century in the county of Berkshire. It is one of the homes of the Royal Family, and has been lived for longer than any other castle in Europe. Windsor Castle is also extremely well-known for its central role in the history of England and the Royal Family.
The history of Windsor Castle began in the 11th century, when the first buildings started to go up after the Norman invasion that was led by William the Conqueror. Significant changes were made to the castle by later monarchs. Some of the most sweeping changes were overseen by Edward III, who basically rebuilt the castle from the ground up in one of the most ambitious building projects of the Middle Ages.
Henry VIII and Elizabeth I both made Windsor Castle central to English rule, housing most of their respective courts there. Later on in history, Windsor Castle was also a significant strategic stronghold during the English Civil War, although much of it was destroyed. Reconstruction began under the rule of Charles II, the son of Charles I who was imprisoned there during the civil war.
Windsor Castle is considered to be an architectural marvel in many circles for many reasons. Some of the distinguishing features include the Baroque interiors of many of the castle’s rooms, some of which are still admired by architects for their beauty and design. Windsor Castle remained unchanged for a while, and fell into a state of disrepair and neglect between the 15th and 18th centuries.
The next significant changes to Windsor Castle occurred under the rule of George III, and later his son George IV. They basically gutted and then renovated the castle from top to bottom, a project that was extravagantly expensive even for royalty. Much of the work that was done then remains today.
Minor changes to Windsor Castle were made later by Victoria I, who favored the castle as a center for court entertainers, and other royal functions. The royal family took refuge there during the massive bombing campaigns that rocked England during World War II. The castle also survived a fire in 1992. It is still an important part of English rule. Even though the Queen now calls Buckingham Palace home, she likes to stay in Windsor Castle on weekends and during the holidays, whenever possible.
Windsor Castle will always be considered a major landmark of English history. It has withstood the test of time, the ravages of war, and the whims of many different rulers. Yet it still remains, standing tall and proud, guarding what was once considered a very important strategic position on the River Thames. What started out as a simple “motte and bailey” design has grown into the magnificent structure seen and admired by so many people today.