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Charles II's Palaces

A View of Windsor Castle©

In 1660 there was an urgent need to re-establish the palaces as a magnificent setting for court life. During the Commonwealth many former royal residences had been sold, demolished or used by the military and the majority of the furnishings and paintings auctioned to raise money for the new regime. Only Whitehall Palace and Hampton Court,
which had been occupied by Oliver Cromwell, retained their glory.

Charles II’s early building projects were constrained by a lack of sufficient finance. Whitehall was improved in a piecemeal fashion, while at Greenwich and Winchester, new palace buildings were left uncompleted. Significant improvements were carried out at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the king’s official residence in Scotland, although Charles II himself never visited.

It was only at Windsor Castle that Charles II’s ambition to create an impressive and modern palace was realised. The new suites of State Apartments, St George’s Hall and the Chapel, completed between 1678 and 1684, transformed part of the medieval castle into a magnificent representation of royal authority.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.