George III and Life at Windsor

Olwen Hedley visits Windsor Castle; neglected by the first two Hanoverian monarchs, it became a favoured residence of George III and Queen Charlotte.

When King George III came to the throne in 1760, Windsor Castle offered only limited comforts as a royal residence.

The fortress planted by William the Conqueror on the chalk cliff beside the Thames had enjoyed palatial status since William’s son, Henry I, deserted the Saxon palace at Old Windsor and held court in 1110 at ‘the new Windsor’: but, after the death of Queen Anne in 1714, a period that might be called the ‘dark ages’ closed in.

King George I, comparing the older English palaces with Herrenhausen, his electoral palace in Hanover, viewed Windsor with even less enthusiasm than he did St James’s. We find him on January 24th, 1715/16, issuing a warrant for the revocation of the grant of the Comptroller of Works at Windsor to Sir Christopher Wren, ‘and for his fee of 6d per day. And revokes also the office of Surveyor as Clerk of the Works at Windsor to John Ball. And suppresses their office.’

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