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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 sold 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 money. 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, the king’s official residence in Scotland, although Charles himself never visited.

It was only at Windsor Castle that Charles II's ambition to create an impressive and modern palace was realised. Between 1678 and 1684, remodelling and decoration of the State Apartments, St George's Hall and St George's Chapel transformed a 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.