02:23PM, Wednesday 28 October 2015
The 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in 2016 will be marked at Windsor Castle with an exhibition celebrating the playwright.
‘Shakespeare in the Royal Library’ will show how generations of monarchs since Elizabeth I have enjoyed the bard’s work, from acquiring copies to producing art inspired by his plays.
On display for the first time will be Shakespeare’s First Folio, a possession of George IV.
Published seven years after Shakespeare's death by his friends and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, it first brought together his plays in a single volume and included previously unpublished work.
Also on display will be Shakespeare’s Second Folio, annotated by both Charles I and George III.
It is thought Charles I read the work while he was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle before his execution in 1649.
The King inscribed the words 'Dum Spiro Spero' into the book, meaning 'while I breathe, I hope'.
Some of Shakespeare’s plays were written with performance at the royal court in mind, including the comedy ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ which was performed to Elizabeth I in about 1600.
Items relating to Herne’s Oak, a tree which features in the comedy and is thought to have stood in the grounds of Windsor Home Park, will also be on show.
The exhibition also features a manuscript dated 1607, showing views of Windsor Castle and the surrounding area as Shakespeare would have known it.
Shakespeare in the Royal Library will be at Windsor Castle from February 13 to January 2017.
Visit www.royalcollection.org.uk or call 030 3123 7301 for tickets and details.
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