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Semi-State Apartments reopen to the public at Windsor Castle

The Semi-State Apartments at Windsor Castle reopen to the public today (Saturday). Deputy editor Nicola Hine reports.

Used by the Queen for official entertaining, the Semi-State Rooms are among the most richly decorated interiors in the castle.

They were originally created as private apartments for George IV, who reigned from 1820 until 1830.

With the help of his architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville, the king completely remodelled the castle’s exterior in the 1820s, and decided to create a new suite of private rooms on the east and south sides, which benefited more from the sun.

It was one of the most lavish – and expensive – interior decoration projects ever carried out in England, and was only just completed at the time of the king’s death in June 1830.

The principal room of the Semi-State Rooms is the Crimson Drawing Room, decorated by Morel and Seddon and featuring a black marble chimney piece. On the walls are the State Portraits of George VI and Queen Elizabeth which were painted at Windsor during the Second World War.

The Semi-State Rooms were severely damaged when the castle caught fire in 1992, but were painstakingly restored to their 19th century look.

They also include the State Dining Room, home to a rosewood table which can seat up to 36 guests when fully extended.

The Semi-State Rooms reopen to the public today (Saturday) and can be visited until March as part of the castle tour – although they will not be open when the State Apartments are closed.

Admission to the castle is free to Royal Borough residents who have an Advantage Card.

Visit www.royalcollection.org.uk for more details.

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