It is The Queen’s weekend home and is apparently her favourite royal residence. But did you know that Windsor Castle is also the home of many royals from years and centuries gone by. In this piece we explore the ghostly goings on at Windsor Castle and just who haunts the 1000 year old fortress.
King Henry VIII
The ghost of the second Tudor King is said to be Windsor Castle’s most famous haunting. King Henry VIII in his time as monarch, amongst other things, dissolved the monasteries and married six wives, two of whom he had beheaded. The spirit of Henry VIII is said to have been witnessed on a number of occasions wondering the halls and corridors of the Castle. Guests staying at the castle are said to have heard the footsteps of the King and some have even heard his moans and groans coming from the hallway. Those that have encountered the ghost of Henry VIII have described a large anxious, angry man pacing furiously and shouting loudly.
The second wife of King Henry VIII is also one of the most famous hauntings at Windsor Castle. After her arrest in 1536 on charges of treason, adultery and witchcraft Anne Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower of London. It is reported that Anne Boleyn haunts the Dean’s Cloister at Windsor Castle where her ghostly form has been seen peering from a window where she is said to look sad, distressed and sometimes looks as if she is weeping.
Queen Elizabeth I
Good Queen Bess is said to haunt the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, with the sound of her high heels being heard on the bare floorboards before her figure appears and she passes through the library to an inner room. It is said that Elizabeth has a liking for dropping in on her ancestors, with several members of royalty having witnessed the ghost of The Virgin Queen. King George III once claimed to have conversed with a spectral woman, who was dressed in black and claimed to be ‘married to England’. King Edward VII confided in one of his many mistresses about his encounter with a woman dressed in black, who resembled the Tudor Queen. Even our present Queen’s father, King George VI, is said to have observed the ghost of Elizabeth I on eight consecutive nights during the opening days of the Second World War.
King George III
During his reign King George III suffered from several bouts of mental illness and the troubled soul is said to still haunt the royal residence. When the King became ill, he was taken from London and Windsor Castle was used to cloister the monarch. George spent many a dark night confined within the walls of Windsor Castle. The ghost of King George III has been witnessed many times since the Victorian era, peering mournfully through the windows and doors of the Castle.
The queen who gave her name to a whole period of British history is said to haunt Windsor Castle because she was unhappy with the alterations that her great-grandson, King Edward VIII, made to the residence. Though he was a King who was never crowned, Edward quickly set about changing things at Windsor at the request of Wallis Simpson, who wanted spruce trees planted by Victoria and Prince Albert uprooted. The work was hindered by some unexplained phenomena with some workmen in 1936 claiming to see the ghost of Queen Victoria crossing the grounds, waving her arms and moaning loudly.
King Charles I
The ghost of the Stuart king has been seen on numerous occasions in the Library and the Canon’s house. Though the King lost his head during the English Civil War, Charles as a ghost is seen whole.
Whilst the majority of ghostly goings on at Windsor Castle are from past Royal Family members, there are a few ‘normal’ haunted happenings at the residence including a young boy in The Deanery who shouts “I don’t want to go riding today.” The ‘Prison Room’ in the Norman Tower is said to be haunted by a former Royalist prisoner from the Civil War. The Long Walk is said to be haunted by many spirits including that of a Grenadier Guard, who shot himself while on duty there in the 1920s.
So as we come to the end of our spooky season on Royal Central, we wish you a Happy Halloween and after hearing of all these royal, ghostly goings on there is just one thing left to say…. Sleep Tight!
Photo Credits: Robert Moranelli & “Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Carl Rudolph Sohn, 1883” by Carl Rudolph Sohn (1845-1908) – The Royal Collection . Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons & By Follower of Hans Holbein the Younger (philipmould.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons