What I have learned about both castles and palaces here is that many people reside directly on the grounds, in addition to the royals. It is not one building but a collection of many buildings, typically cathedrals, residences, and museums. (The guard or “Beefeater” we met at the Tower of London took residence inside the Tower-see inset photo from previous weekend.) And those also living in Windsor Castle include Military Knights, Constables and Governors (senior retired officers), in addition to Her Majesty herself, who is rumored to drive around Windsor in a green Jaguar.
One of the highlights of the day was attending a service at St. George’s Chapel. Founded in the early 13th century by King Henry III, it is considered one of the finest examples of gothic architecture of its time. Since our visit was on Sunday, the chapel was closed to visitors but open to those wanting to worship, so we thought, what better place? (This was after the woman at the front assured me children were welcome.) I won’t try to comment on the theology of the Church of England, since I really don’t know much about it yet, but in my observations, the service style is much like that of Episcopal in the U.S. – that is, very formal, mostly read out of a book, followed by communion at the end. Since we weren’t sure if it was an open communion table, we proceeded forward for a blessing, which after my many years of study at Roman Catholic institutions is quite common for non-members. As we approached the kneelers, we literally walked over the remains of King Henry VIII and his “favorite” wife Jane Seymour, King Charles I, and the infant son of Queen Anne, only some of the monarchs who are buried inside the chapel.
The treat for us was the visit to Windsor Castle. The treat for my daughter, however, was our visit to nearby Lego land. I was excited also until I arrived and realized it was a theme park built almost exclusively on a hill. Lots of walking, but still a good time.