Sunday, May 1, 2022—Windsor Castle

After an English breakfast of soft boiled eggs, a couple “rashers” of bacon (tasting similar to our salt-cured pork without the salt), baked beans (tasting like our pork and beans), dark (wheat), and sugared cream tea (tea with milk/cream) provided energy for a stroll up and down ”the Long Walk.” Afterwards, we returned to the room to catch up on news, mail, and messages.

At 2 o’clock, we met our CIE tour director, Harry Gray and fellow tourists; there are 27 of us, plus Harry and our driver, Dennis. We did an afternoon tour of Windsor Castle and some of its courtyards.

Windsor Castle was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. It is the largest inhabited castle in the world, has been the home of 39 monarchs, and is the primary residence of Queen Elizabeth as she prefers the country rather than Buckingham Palace in London. Windsor Castle as it appears today is the result of almost a thousand years of development, but four monarchs in particular have left their mark: William the Conqueror, who founded the castle and established its outline plan and extent; Edward III, reigning from 1327-77, who rebuilt it in a magnificent Gothic style and established the royal apartments in the Upper Ward; Charles II reigning from 1660-85, who transformed the Upper Ward of the medieval castle into a baroque palace; and George IV, reigning from 1820-30, who restored the exterior to conform with romantic ideals of castle architecture and created sumptuous and richly furnished palace interiors within the ancient fabric of the building. Oru tour of Windsor Castle focused on the State Apartments. These are where official royal ceremonies occur, and are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto.

Following the tour, we gathered for drinks and discussion of tomorrow’s itinerary before being excused for dinner.