Monday, October 7, 2013

The Royal Ghosts of Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle located in Berkshire England is the oldest and largest castle in the world. It has been continuously occupied for almost 1000 years. It is the official residence of the British monarchy. 

Today 500 people live and work in Windsor. Witnesses state that several ghostly former members of the English royal family also reside in the castle. 

In the 16th century King Henry Vlll ruled Britain and Wales. * His ghost has been heard wandering the castle’s halls and corridors. He is heard groaning and dragging his ulcerated leg in the Cloisters, which is the condition that eventually caused his death in 1547. 

Several witnesses have described him as “being a large anxious, angry man” he is heard pacing back and forth and sometimes he is heard shouting. 

A more recent sighting occurred in the mid-1970s. Castle guards saw the former monarch walk through the battlements. Later they were told that there used to be a door at the spot they saw his ghost disappear.

Henry Vlll had two of his wives beheaded, Anne Boleyn who is also seen at Winsor and her cousin Catherine Howard who haunts Hampton Court, which I wrote about in another post

Anne not able to give Henry a son and heir was found guilty of treason, adultery, and witchcraft. She was executed at the Tower of London in 1536. Her ghost has been seen in the Dean’s Cloister at Windsor. 

She is spotted peering through windows. Some have stated she appears to be sad, others said they saw her weeping. One fanciful legend states she is seen running holding her head under her arm.

King Henry’s youngest daughter, Queen Elizabeth l is said to haunt the royal library at Winsor. 

Witnesses have heard the sound of her clicking heels as she moves around this wood floor room. She is seen wearing a black dress and shawl. 

Both members of the royal family and staff had seen her ghost for years. One witness, King George lll not only saw her he talked to her. She told him that she was Elizabeth and that she “was married to England.”

One hundred years after this encounter, Edward Vll told his mistress that he had seen her ghost. He described her dressed all in black stating she resembled the “the great Tudor queen.” 

Princess Margaret also saw Elizabeth’s ghost.

In recent years a guard saw her ghost, he followed her to the library where she then just disappeared as he watched her. 

She is considered a harbinger because she has appeared just before war breaks out. George Vl saw her several nights in a row just as World War ll began.

Another English king spotted at Windsor is George lll. He suffered from mental illness during his reign in the 1700s. When he would have bad spells, he was kept from prying eyes in a room located below the library. 

His ghost was often seen during the Victorian era standing at this libraries’ windows or in the doorway. 

Military Guardsmen at Windsor have seen his ghost staring down at them from a window as they perform their various duties. Several have admitted to being rattled by this strange sight. 

Other witnesses have heard him mutter a phrase he was fond of saying while alive, "What, what?' He was unhappy in life, but some witnesses have stated that they saw his ghost smiling.

Another royal known to haunt Winsor is Queen Victoria.

Ironically, while alive, she attempted to get rid of a ghost that hundreds of people had seen over 250 years. ** 

Herne the Hunter, Richard ll's forester hung himself from an oak tree because he was dismissed from service. Witnesses have seen him wearing deer skins and a helmet adorned with antlers. 

In the 1860s Queen Victoria had this tree chopped down and then she burned the logs as firewood in an attempt to get rid of his spirit--it didn't work.  

Her ghost made an appearance during Edward’s Vlll's very brief reign. 

A short time after Edward's father died he started to modify the Windsor grounds at the request of his lover, Wallace Simpson whom he abdicated the throne for. She requested several spruce trees be removed that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had planted.

As the workmen proceeded to cut these trees down, several inexplicable incidents occurred that hampered their work. 

These strange occurrences were explained when Queen Victoria’s displeased ghost was seen running from the castle in their direction. She was moaning loudly and waving her arms frantically.

* Yet another monarch who haunts Windsor who reigned after HenryVlll's time was Charles l. He was accused of treason and held as a prisoner at Windsor Castle for his role in the English Civil War, he was found guilty and decapitated in 1649. 

He is buried in a vault at Windsor along with Henry Vlll. His ghost has been seen in the Cannon's house, but most often he is seen standing near a table in the royal library.

** Windsor also has a variety of other ghosts that were not members of the royal family. In the future, I will share some of their stories.

Click to enlarge

No comments: