Category Archives: Windsor

Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle

Did you know that you can see the Changing of the Guard far more close up than at Buckingham Palace?  Head to Windsor Castle where you can watch the lead up to the ceremony for free outside the castle or the entire event inside the majestic structure.  If you want to watch for free, the guards parade up Sheet St., march up High St., and file into the castle in approximately 10 minutes.  Standing on the elevated steps of the Guildhall will give you a great vantage point.

Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle

However, I highly recommend touring the castle and watching the ceremony there.  Purchase a ticket to get inside the walls of the Queen’s sprawling home, and then you’ll be able to watch the entire, approximately 30 minutes-long Changing of the Guard Ceremony.  It usually takes place in the Lower Ward outside of the guardroom. The guards will enter the castle through the Henry VIII Gate. If you want to find the absolutely best spot, ask a uniformed warden to give you a suggestion.  Alternatively, try standing by the railings outside St. George’s Chapel. When I was there several years ago, I couldn’t believe how close the guards were! It was much more thrilling than watching the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

However, be aware that if the Queen is in residence (check to see if the Royal Standard is flying above the Round Tower), the ceremony will take place on the lawn of the Quadrangle.  In that case, the guard will enter through St. George’s Gate and march all the way up Castle Hill. I recommend claiming a spot near the railings at Engine Court.

Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle

Wherever you choose to watch the ceremony, it’s extremely important to note that the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle is weather dependent and only occurs on certain days that change each month.  Before you go, check the schedule at www.householddivision.org.uk.  In addition, if you want to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony inside the castle, arrive no later than 10:00AM to get through security and find a good spot from which to watch.  You’ll have an amazing view no matter where you’re standing and will create a travel experience that you won’t soon forget!

Guardsman at Windsor Castle

Frogmore House and the Royal Baby

Frogmore House
Frogmore House
Photo Courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

As an avid royalist, I was excited for today’s announcement of the name of the new royal baby.  Archie Harrison and his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have made their new home at Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of the Frogmore Estate in Windsor Great Park (where Windsor Castle is located).  Built in 1801 and very recently renovated, other notable people who have made Frogmore Cottage their home are Abdul Karim, the secretary and “munshi” of Queen Victoria (think the movie “Victoria & Abdul”) and a Grand Duchess of Russia who escaped the Russian Revolution.

Frogmore Gardens
Frogmore Gardens
Photo Courtesy of Andrew Lawson and the Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

While the public obviously can’t visit the Sussexes’ home, you can get an exclusive tour of the 17th century Frogmore House and Gardens.   More on that in a moment; let’s talk a little about the house first.  In 1792, King George III purchased Frogmore as a countryside home for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their daughters.   The Queen enjoyed simple and remote settings, away from the public eye, so in 1801, she built Frogmore House, currently used as a home for the Sussexes. 

Frogmore Gardens
Frogmore Gardens
Photo Courtesy of Derry Moore and the Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

In 1840, Queen Victoria gave Frogmore House to her mother, the Duchess of Kent.  After her mother’s death, Victoria frequently visited the house, enjoying it as a place of peace and quiet, and used it as the setting for intimate family functions.  In the 20th century, Queen Mary, wife of King George V and grandmother to Queen Elizabeth II, redecorated Frogmore with souvenirs and mementos of the royal family, treating it as a kind of royal museum.  Continuing in that tradition, in 1997, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, remodeled one of the rooms to contain sentimental items from the decommissioned Royal Yacht Britannia.  Most recently, in 2018, Frogmore House was used for the wedding reception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

You can join the ranks of the few members of the public who have toured Frogmore House and Gardens.  They are only open on three Charity Days (usually in May) per year.  Tickets must be booked at the Royal Collection Trust’s websiteSo what are you waiting for?  Go and get your tickets now!  Frogmore is one of only three British royal residences that I haven’t been to, but if I ever visit the UK in May, I’m definitely reserving a place a on the tour!

Bridge in Frogmore Gardens
Frogmore Gardens
Photo Courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019