Friday, March 24, 2017

Windsor Castle

All of my life, I have dreamt of going to a castle.  I read stories of knights in shining armor.  I studied the histories.  I envisioned going through the dark rooms with smoke stained rocks surrounding large fireplaces.  Windsor Castle failed to meet those past daydreams.  I am not sure why I didn't think of going to a functioning castle.  The thought never entered my mind.  Walking through the archway entry onto the grounds, filled me with awe and wonder.  The flag over the castle alerted all the visitors that Queen Elizabeth was in residence.  I was close to royalty.  Surreal! 

The Visitor's Entrance

The flying flag indicates the Queen is in residence.

I believe we only saw the back part of the castle.  Even this area with the vivid green lawns were immaculate.  The foliage, though in the winter sleep cycle, stood tall and proud.  I imagined the beauty of the flowers growing and trees budding.  Magnificent.  I strolled the cobbled road with a headset on listening to the tour.  I loved the majestic structure of the buildings and delighted in the arrow slits.  Yes, I imaged them and saw them in movies, but I actually looked through them.

Not surprisingly, pictures are not allowed when you enter the castle.  I have taken the liberty to find pictures on the internet to use.  Being overwhelmed by the tour, I forgot to use my recorder as I walked through room after room.  Tears came to my eyes as I strolled through the shield room.  A fire went through this section of the castle in about 1992, destroying everything.  The Queen and Prince Philip commissioned artists to reconstruct the palace to its former glory.  I could imagine their broken hearts after all that was lost.  I longed to be able to know the story of the families that all the shields represent.  Breathtaking.

Internet Photo

Internet Photo

I enjoyed the Waterloo Chamber with artwork by Thomas Lawrence.  My favorite piece being that of Pope Pius VII.  I appreciated that even though England left the church long ago George IV honored the Pope in his part of defeating Napoleon.  The portrait is exquisite.

Internet Photo

My favorite of all the artwork though was the Massacre of the Innocents c.1565-67.  The piece is a depiction of King Herod's ordering of all male children two and under killed.  The points I found interesting is the artists use of a Flemish village instead of a Jewish village.  I imagine it as if an artist of today using a Montana town as the backdrop.  The piece would take on an air of what if it happened today and the little one at church was killed in front of me.  Because of this emotional wrenching of the heart the portrait conveyed, years later a new artist was commissioned to paint over the babies.  Now the instead of babies, the soldiers are stabbing at food, packages, and animals.  I would love to see the original, but the fact that it horrified the people of the time enough to change it speaks volumes. 

Internet Photo
Disappointingly, we were unable to go into the St. George Chapel.  They close all the churches on Sunday's for services.  Next time in England, my Sundays will include a service and touring in the afternoon or a simple picnic at a local park.  And yes, there will be another trip.
Waiting to enter the castle.


The making of Fairy Tales

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