British royal residence in Windsor, founded by William the Conqueror on the site of an earlier fortress. It includes the Perpendicular Gothic St George's Chapel and the Albert Memorial Chapel, beneath which George III, George IV, and William IV are buried. In the Home Park adjoining the castle is the Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried.
Beyond the Round Tower or Keep are the state apartments and the sovereign's private apartments. Windsor Great Park lies to the south. In 1990 the royal residence Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle, as well as the Royal Mausoleum, were opened to the public.
On 20 November 1992 the castle was heavily damaged by a fire in its 14th-century St George's Hall. In April 1993 the Queen decided to open Buckingham Palace to the public to raise money for the necessary repair work. St George's Hall was reopened in 1998.
Windsor Castle was constructed by William the Conqueror as an earthwork surmounted by wooden palisades, and has been in continuous royal possession ever since. The work of replacing the palisades with stone walls and towers was started a century later by Henry II (1165-79), and finished in the following century by Henry III, who built the three vast towers towards the town. Stone walls were followed by stone buildings, to which succeeding centuries have made many alterations and additions. The most notable are those made in the 14th century by Edward III, under the direction of William of Wykeham; in the 17th century by Charles II, whose architect was Hugh May; and the extensive renovations made in the 19th century by George IV, with Jeffrey Wyatville as architect.
The fire of 1992
In 1992 a fire caused extensive damage to the castle. The restoration work was undertaken by the Sidell Gibson Partnership whose masterpiece is undoubtedly the rebuilt St George's Hall. It was opened in 1998 by Her Majesty the Queen.
Architecturally, the main feature of the castle is St George's Chapel, a masterpiece of Perpendicular architecture. It was built from 1475 to 1511, with a lierne vault and fan-vaulted aisles. The wooden stalls in the chancel were carved 1478-85; attached to them are the arms of the Knights of the Garter, painted from about 1390 onwards. Here the knights, under the sovereign, convene for their annual service. Opposite the chapel are the lodgings of the Military Knights of Windsor, dating from the 14th and 16th centuries.
Windsor Great Park (1940 ha/4792 acres) is connected with the castle by an avenue 5 km/3 mi long, known as the Long Walk.
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