21 September 2011

Windsor Castle. . .

So. . . back to Maggie's birthday weekend (in JULY--never credit me with being able to keep up with things!!)

On our second day in Windsor, we headed to Windsor Castle.  One of the things that struck me the most about this very historic and important place was that it was smack-dab in the middle of the surrounding town.  Most of it is not set off in the distance past rolling fields or contained in a fortress of trees. . .it was right in the middle of it all.  Here is an aerial shot from Google images of the whole thing.

The castle was founded by William the Conqueror at the end of the 11th century and it is one of the official residences of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II--in fact, it has been the home of 39 monarchs.  It sits on 26 acres and in the Upper Ward, where the State and royal apartments are, there are 951 rooms--225 are bedrooms.  In other words, it is a obnoxiously fancy weekend  home for the Queen! :)  (Can't imagine the Obamas could get away with that!)

It is a working castle, with staff driving through the crowds of tourists, and official business happening while all of us were snapping photographs and ogling at the artifacts.  We had a ton of fun at this castle. . .Keith and the older girls especially like the places that we go that have headphone tours.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone touring England--it is touristy, but worth the crowds!

A little bit of sister love on the walk there. . .best part was that we didn't even make them hug!  :)

Along the street on the walk there.

A little bit of the USA right next door. . .McDonalds, Starbucks and Pizza Hut in this shot.

We were pretty excited about this flag. . it meant that the Queen was currently in residence.  I am guessing that is the closest we are going to get to Her Majesty while we are here.  The girls practiced a curtsy, but no royal sightings this trip!

Since the Queen was in residence, this area was restricted to tourists because it is an entrance to the private royal apartments--their very gorgeous "front door" is below.

The girls listening to the tour.

Apparently, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (King Edward the VIII and Wallis Simpson) were huge pug fanatics and owned 11 or so of them over the years. . .in honor of our Wrigley, I had to snap this one!

Ironically, they were playing American music.

St. George's Chapel on the right.

Obviously Daddy and I were far more excited about the cannons than especially Hannah was!

Different angle on courtyard to the royal residence. . .

So glad to have the pushchair join us in this shot. . oh well. . it's still a nice pic!

The important stuff!