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Windsor Castle opens Semi-State Rooms to the public

The Windsor Castle semi-state apartments of King George IV will once again be open to the public beginning 28 September until March 2014. “Considered to be among the greatest royal commissions and the finest late Georgian interiors in the country these rooms (known as the Semi-State Rooms) are now used by the Queen for official entertaining,” according to the Royal Collection website.

Private Apartments, Upper Ward, Windsor Castle

George IV was known for his keen eye for fine objects. After the renovation of Buckingham House in to Buckingham Palace as well as the construction of the Brighton Pavilion, King George began to focus on Windsor Castle. In the 1820’s along with architect Jeffry Watville, the King transformed the exterior of Windsor Castle. His Majesty then moved the Royal Apartments from the north side of the castle and fashioned a new group of rooms on the South and East end to optimize the sunlight. This was part of His Majesty’s “most lavish and costly interior decorating schemes ever carried out in England,” as noted on the Royal Collection website.

The Government was none too happy though with the vast amount of money George IV put into the renovation. They questioned everything from library chairs to rugs. “George had proved himself to be a generous and enthusiastic patron of British culture,” Amanda Freeman wrote in a 2001 article in The Telegraph.

George IV had a sense of style and refinement that was “a sort of classical theme based on Greek rather than Roam models with a dash of Egyptian and Chinese thrown in, had become the Regency style,” according to Foreman.

George IV greatest achievement in the alterations he made to Windsor Castle would certainly be the Waterloo Chamber. The Chamber was designed in the 1820’s for displaying Sir Thomas Lawrence’s commissioned paintings of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleons’ subsequent defeat in 1815. Portraits include the men who were involved in the infamous battle such as: George III and George IV. Other portraits included in the Waterloo Chamber are that of The Duke of Wellington, Tsar Alexander I of Russia and King Frederick William III of Prussia are just a sample of the paintings displayed in the Waterloo Chamber.

Her Majesty used the Waterloo Chamber in June every year for the Knights and Ladies of the Garter luncheon.

In 1992, George IV private apartments were damaged by the one of the events as Her Majesty stated “Annus Horribilis,” The fire at Windsor Castle. By sheer luck thought, the various artworks, furniture and other priceless pieces were removed prior, therefore being spared demise in the blaze. The fire did provide for restorative work which resulted in George IV original concept to be returned to its former glory.

For over 1000 years, Windsor Castle has been home to monarchs since William the Conqueror. It has seen its share of alterations ranging from protection against revolt and unrest to that of an atheistic nature. George IV is owed a great deal of credit for the Windsor Castle as one knows it today!

Photo credit: Royal Central

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