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The Royal Library

The Royal Library is based at Windsor Castle. It occupies rooms which were formerly Queen Catherine of Braganza’s state bedchamber, Henry VII’s private bedchamber, and Elizabeth I’s indoor walking gallery.

It was established by William IV in the 1830s, after previous royal libraries had been given to the nation. It is formed from collections of books held by George III at Kew and Windsor, and George IV at Carlton House, and from significant collections of royal books acquired by gift and purchase in the nineteenth century. It now contains over 200,000 items.

There are over 500 volumes of works by Shakespeare in the Royal Library, including the first three Folios, miniature books in Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, and versions of Shakespeare’s works in numerous languages including French, Italian, Portuguese, Georgian and Hebrew.

View of the Library at Windsor Castle

The Library at Windsor, after Joseph Nash. RCIN 705277.x ©