Are you feeling cooped up or going stir crazy? Now, you can quarantine with Queen Elizabeth, via a virtual tour of the UNESCO-listed Windsor Castle. Or relive the wedding of retired royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Windsor Castle has been a royal residence and fortress for almost 1000 years. The castle has seen countless royal births, deaths, and marriages. It’s withstood battles and sieges.
History of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle was originally a fortress for Saxon kings. In the 11th century, William the Conqueror used it to form a defensive ring outside of London, along with 8 other castles. It was conveniently just a day’s march from the Tower of London.
Henry I was the first king began to occupy Windsor Castle. Henry II later built it into a proper royal fortress with formidable stone walls. Edward III completed its transformation into a Gothic royal palace.
Queen Elizabeth I got busy too. She added what is now the Royal Library. George IV renovated the entire palace. And Queen Victoria added a private chapel and rebuilt the Grand Staircase.
Windsor Castle is also home to one of the most beautiful Gothic chapels in the world, St. George’s Chapel. Edward IV began construction and Henry VIII finished it in 1528. The chapel has been the scene of many royal weddings. It’s also a royal mausoleum, with 10 monarchs buried there, including Henry VIII.
Windsor Castle has an impressive art collection too, with works by Rembrandt, Canaletto, Holbein, and Rubens.
It even owns drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, which are the sole extant evidence that da Vinci painted the controversial Salvator Mundi, the world’s most expensive painting ($450 million).
Windsor Castle has been the site of many historic events. It’s where the Magna Carta was signed, where Edward VIII abdicated the throne, and where Queen Victoria fell in love with Albert.
Today, Windsor Castle is the largest occupied working castle in the world. The Queen uses Windsor Castle as a private home. She often weekends there and hosts visiting monarchs and presidents at “dine and sleep” events. Now, the queen is self-isolating at Windsor Castle.
Virtual Tour of Windsor Castle
You can quarantine with the queen via the Windsor Castle virtual tour. The tour takes viewers inside the State Banquet Hall, the Waterloo Chamber, the Crimson Drawing Room, and St. George’s Chapel. The opulent rooms feature chandeliers, gilded ceilings, rich tapestries, and paintings.
On the virtual tour, you can make yourself at home in each room. You can zoom in or click on information icons for more details.
If you want to really get to know Queen Elizabeth, you can delve into her life story, with over 3,000 entries on Google Arts & Culture.
You can also take a virtual 360 tour by the BBC on YouTube, and discover some of the royals’ most valuable treasures.
Or listen to the queen herself talk about the coronavirus crisis here. If you’d need more virtual tours, here’s my guide to virtual tours of famous royal palaces in Europe.
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