A Regency Christmas, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire SL4, until 5th January 2016.
This year the Castle’s State Apartments have been decorated in a manner that evokes how the Prince Regent (later George IV) would have celebrated his Christmas there in the early-19th century.
While there are impressive Nordmann Fir Christmas trees in the Crimson Drawing Room and St George’s Hall – do look closely at the latter as its decorations reflect that this is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – it is the State Dining Room which has the major wow factor. The table is set with pieces from the silver-gilt Grand Service which is still used today at State banquets. It was made for the Prince Regent by the royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell and there are some four-thousand pieces in all.
The Prince Regent’s mother Queen Charlotte (wife of George III) is recalled in the Octagon Dining Room which is decorated with yew. The yew tree was the first tree to be used as a Christmas tree in England and an 1819 memoir of the Queen tells us that ‘in the middle of the room stood an immense tub with a yew-tree placed in it, from the branches of which hung bunches of sweetmeats, almonds, and raisins, fruits and toys, most tastefully arranged, and the whole illuminated by small wax candles’. There is also a small display of gifts exchanged by Queen Charlotte and her family.