Fire and Spirits at Windsor Castle

Bruna Zanelli


On November 20, 1992, flames blazed high above the picturesque Berkshire town of Windsor, as fire devastated parts of historic Windsor Castle, the favourite home of England’s Queen Elizabeth. It happened on the 45th Wedding Anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip. Some anniversary present! But today, the Castle, which stands on the site where a Castle has stood for 900 years, is back to its former glory, proudly remaining ‘the largest inhabited castle in the world’.

But the present Royal Family may not be the only residents in the hilltop Castle. Many have claimed to have seen several ghosts: royal and unroyal.

Herne, the ancient Saxon hunter, about whom there are several legends, is said to frequent the castle’s gardens, wearing his famed ‘stag’s head’. The Long Walk, the drive up to the Castle, is haunted by a young guardsman who shot himself, legend claims, because while on duty one night he came upon the ghost of Herne the Hunter.

Ghosts of a more regal nature include, of course, Henry V111, who is occasionally seen in the Cloisters, painfully dragging his feet. He is also seen in several castle hallways where many have been terrorised by his agonizing moans as he drags his swollen and putrid legs on tired feet.

If there is Henry, there is sure to be his Queen, Anne Boleyn, and she stands at the Dean’s Cloister window, gazing out. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth 1, haunts the Library. A Lieutenant of the Grenadier Guards, reported he was in the library, reading. He first heard the tap of high heels on the polished boards before Elizabeth appeared, dressed in a black gown with a black lace shawl around her shoulders. He claimed she passed so close he could have touched her then entered an inner room, from which there was no exit,and the Lieutenant followed but she had disappeared!

It’s interesting to note that during Elizabeth 1’s days at Windsor, the Library would have been her State Apartments!

The Library is also haunted by the ghost of George 111, who was considered insane. The Monarch was actually suffering from Porphyria, a rare gentic disorder which interferes with the body’s chemical balance. Today he would have been treated by drugs and told to avoid excessive sunlight.

These days, he can be seen forlornly looking from the windows below the Royal Library, where he would be confined during his attacks.

Another ‘visitor’ to the Royal Library is King Charles 1. Although he was beheaded during the English Revolution, Charles is always seen whole, looking exactly like his portraits. He also visits the Canon’s House.

So much for Windsor Castle but let’s not forget about the town of Windsor, a most haunted setting. Many of the buildings date back hundreds of years to Tudor and Georgian times, some even earlier. Sir Thomas Wolsey, disgraced by Henry V111, waited in Windsor for the King’s Pleasure and his own fate, and paces back and forth across the floor of a bedroom in one old cottage to this day.

There are many such tales - shall we return to Windsor another time?

© All Stories and Content Copyright of Bruna Zanelli - all rights Reserved. Redistribution without prior consent is punishable by law.