Esteemed royal biographer Hugo Vickers on why Windsor is the Queen’s favourite residence

At Windsor, the Queen lives in the Victoria Tower, built between 1677 and 1679, with expansive views across the East Terrace Gardens, the Home Park and down the great sweep of the Long Walk, with a distant view of the equestrian statue of George III . She has the park to walk or ride in. She has her budgerigars just below the East Water Terrace. Until recently, she would regularly attend Sunday matins at All Saints Church at Royal Lodge, among those who live in the Home Park and Great Park. Due to the pandemic and more recently her health issues, she now tends to stay within the castle, conducting many of her engagements by Zoom.

The Queen won’t remember her first recorded arrival at the castle, which took place 94 years ago on 4 April 1928. She had come to visit for Easter with her grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, and stayed for nearly a month. The King opened the East Terrace Gardens to the public, and between 4,000 and 5,000 people came to hear the bands of the Life Guards and Coldstream Guards perform. The King and Queen looked out across the garden in the summery weather, and the crowds were much taken by seeing the little princess in her perambulator. Evidently, the young princess ‘waved her hand to the thousands of people who looked down at her’. On April 21, the day of her second birthday, she was joined there by her parents. She was back for Royal Ascot week, though too young to enjoy the racing, and returned again in May 1929, while her parents went to Inverness Princess Elizabeth’s visits were clearly a success, since she spent every Easter and birthday with the King and Queen between 1930 and 1935. Crowds loved to see her when she appeared at the Changing of the Guard and there were birthday tea parties.

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