So what do you do in the hinterland that is the time between Christmas and New Year? You go to a free exhibition, of course!
Okay, so it wasn’t completely free, I took a train from Kingston upon Thames to Windsor but it was still cheaper than my ticket into London the day before.
I paid to get into Windsor Castle the week of the royal wedding back in May. I happily blogged from a local cafe later the same day posting Windsor is Royal Wedding Ready!
When you buy a ticket at Windsor Castle you can return again for free as long as it is in the same twelve-month period. Remember though, you must get the staff there to date-stamp your ticket on the day or you invalidate your return ticket!
So last Friday I decided to go and admire Meghan’s wedding dress and ooh and ahh at a few other wonders at Windsor!
When I arrived at Windsor the queue to get in was horrifically long and snaking along the High Street. A Castle employee was warning visitors that the queue was two hours in length and even if you eventually queued that long you were not guaranteed entry as if they hit 8,000 visitors before then you would not be allowed in. Armed with my previously printed ticket, which had enabled me to jump the queue on my visit in May, I asked the gentleman if I needed to queue as I had my pre-printed ticket. I was informed that as it was a re-visit I would have to queue to exchange for a daily ticket at the ticket office.
I’m not a patient person, but sadly I had to wait. The queue moved pretty fast almost immediately and I was thrilled to be heading towards the ticket office along Castle Hill, only to find that we were being moved from the High Street to the mews towards the back of the Castle, where it was safer, I suppose.
We then came to a standstill for around 20 minutes before slowly making our way up the road. Thankfully, at this point, the sun came out and the couple in front of me kept me entertained with their arguing, although not in English so I didn’t have a hope of understanding. At least their facial expressions and gesticulations kept me amused.
Finally, after ONE HOUR queuing, I was able to receive my free ticket! And the good news is, I can go back again as many times as I like for free as long as it is before Harry and Meghan’s first wedding anniversary!
On my previous visit, I headed straight to St George’s Chapel where the nuptials would be held. This time, I headed to the State Apartments to see the royal wedding outfits in person!
I kid you not, a guy in front of me entered the State Apartments carrying his takeaway pizza box and he passed a couple of Wardens before one actually stopped him and told him to take it outside.
I know I’m supposed to pay attention to all the splendour BUT there were lots of people around me and so I made my way through to the Grand Reception Room where I would find the royal wedding display.
I did stop in my tracks several times to admire the dazzling Christmas trees that were arranged around the State Apartments, it’s a shame there is a no photography rule as they were definitely awesome.
Once at the Grand Reception Room, I was able to walk slowly around the glass case which housed the royal wedding apparel. The length of the train was quite stunning, I did not fully appreciate the length of it from watching on TV. I was still a little underwhelmed with the dress itself, I do like the shape, but I would have liked to see some embellishment, pearls or embroidery for example, around the classic boat neckline. It was designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, using double-bonded silk cady, with triple silk organza underskirt.
The Queen Mary tiara was fabulous to see, a real treat and although I knew it before visiting, it was still a shame to see that Harry’s outfit was a replica as his real wedding uniform is expected to be in use during the time of the exhibition.
I was excited to see little Prince George’s pageboy frockcoat and Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress. I hadn’t anticipated these items as part of the display and the empty-nester (of little ones, at least) that I am, is surprised that I find all little kids cute! That said, I don’t have to deal with any of the un-cute things that kids get up to!
The Queen Mary’s Doll’s House exhibit was closed during this trip. I had missed it during my previous visit as a large school group had just gone ahead of me and regardless of what I said up there, ↑ I opted to skip it!
Of course, I had another wander around St George’s Chapel as its history is compelling and it’s rather gorgeous and even with other people walking around and talking in hushed tones it’s a very peaceful place to be.
Photos author’s own unless stated