The Queen has made history by opening Windsor Castle's Inner Hall to the public for the first time. The vaulted hall was created by George IV in the 1820s as a space to receive official guests, but was closed by his niece, Queen Victoria, in 1866. Now, 150 years later, the space has been restored and opened to the public and serves as a magnificent welcome area for visitors to the castle.
Queen Victoria made use of the Inner Hall for almost 30 years, but instructed her architect Anthony Salvin to close it off and build a new, smaller State Entrance Hall in 1866. However, she recorded her dissatisfaction with the work in her journal the following year. "Went…to look at the alterations being made in the Grand Staircase & State Entrance which I think dreadful! They will have to be altered again," she wrote. However, no further significant changes were made, and for many years the Inner Hall was used as a storeroom.
The Inner Hall at Windsor Castle has opened to the public for the first time
The impressive architectural details of the Inner Hall have now been restored, and its opening reinstates the sequence of spaces linking the visitor entrance on the North Terrace with the State Entrance on the south side. From the Inner Hall, visitors will be able to explore the State Apartments and semi-State Room, and see the State Entrance for the first time. This is where the Queen's guests are welcomed to Windsor, and boasts spectacular views of the two-and-a-half mile Long Walk.
Windsor Castle is the Queen's second home, and she spends the majority of her weekends there with her husband Prince Philip. Her Majesty also takes up official residence at Windsor for a month over Easter, and spends at least one week there each June while attending Royal Ascot and the Order of the Garter service at St. George's Chapel.
Architectural fragments recovered during the restoration have gone on display
Unlike Buckingham Palace, which only opens to members of the public during the summer, visitors can tour Windsor Castle at any time of year. However, the entire castle or the state apartments may be closed during official events such as state visits or special royal family events.
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