June 2, 2012
0235 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - Windsor Castle
Located in Berkshire, west of London, Windsor Castle is used in present as royal palace, as well as weekend home for the Queen Elizabeth II, but also for state banquets and official entertaining. Moreover, every year the Queen takes up official residence in this castle for a month over Easter (known as Easter Court), and for a week in June, when she attends the service of the Order of the Garter and the Royal Ascot race meeting. With over 900 years of history, Windsor is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, with more than 500 people living and working there.
It can be said that the castle was born in the same time with English nation, ie immediately after the Norman conquest, the last important ingredient in the mixture which had as result the English people. Built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century to protect his dominance around London, and to oversee an important part of the River Thames, Windsor withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War. Henry III built a luxurious palace within the castle, and Edward III rebuild it, turning it into "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England". Henry VIII and Elizabeth I used the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
As military headquarters for Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War, the castel was used as prison for Charles I. Charles II rebuilt much of it, creating a set of extravagant, Baroque interiors. After a long period of neglect, George III and George IV renovated the palace, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. The castle was used as refuge for the royal family during the bombing campaigns of the WWII and survived a fire in 1992.
About the stamp
The stamp is part of the Countries Stamps definitive series, about which I wrote here, but with the new value, 87 pence.
Sent from Windsor (England / United Kingdom), on 30.04.2012