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Regency-themed display at Windsor Castle shows how Christmas was celebrated by the Prince Regent in the early 19th-century

Release date: Monday, 23 November 2015

Christmas tree in St George's Hall, Windsor Castle

Christmas tree in St George's Hall, Windsor Castle Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Until 5 January 2016, the State Apartments at Windsor Castle will be transformed with a festive Regency-themed display to show how the Prince Regent (the future George IV) celebrated Christmas at the Castle in the early-19th century.

In the State Dining Room the table is laid with pieces from the spectacular Grand Service from the Royal Collection.  Comprising some 4,000 pieces of silver-gilt, the Grand Service was commissioned by the Prince Regent from the royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, and is still used today at State Banquets.

The Octagon Dining Room is decorated with yew to evoke a sense of how Queen Charlotte (the mother of George IV) would have decorated the Castle for Christmas.  Yew was the first tree to be brought indoors to be used as a Christmas tree in England.  It was later replaced by fir trees in a tradition popularised by Prince Albert in the mid-19th century.  The display includes a selection of gifts exchanged between Queen Charlotte and members of her family. 

In St George's Hall, a 24-foot Nordmann Fir Christmas tree is decked with gold decorations and over 20,000 twinkling lights while a richly decorated tree in the Crimson Drawing Room adds to the festive spectacle.

Visitors to the Castle will also see some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection which furnish the State Apartments. The Waterloo Chamber, commissioned by the Prince Regent to celebrate the allied victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, is hung with 38 portraits of those who played a key role in the defeat of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, including full-length portraits of the Duke of Wellington and the Prince Regent himself.  Until 6 January 2015 visitors can enjoy a special themed visit at the Castle to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

On 5, 12 and 19 December families can join a storyteller by the fireside in St George's Hall to find out about royal Christmases past and hear tales of glorious feasts and horse-drawn sleigh rides. On selected dates between 7 and 17 December, the sound of festive songs will fill the State Apartments as choirs from local schools perform around the Christmas tree in St George's Hall.