I don’t know where you’re spending your early January, but where I’m holed up it’s very grey outside and my beige interior – so neutral, so soothing in the summer – isn’t really cheering me up. Let’s take a tour of a royal residence that isn’t devoid of color. Or of excess, for that matter.
Windsor Castle is the longest occupied palace in Europe, and one that has seen its share of destruction. Most recently there was the 1992 fire, which affected 115 rooms, including 9 semi-state rooms. These semi-state rooms contain three drawing rooms, each a different color.
We’re taking a look at these rooms, in a crimson versus green versus white battle. The drawing rooms were damaged in varying degrees by the fire, but have been completely restored. These semi-state rooms were originally George IV’s private apartments, and are part of a group of rooms used by the Queen for official events at the Castle.
The Crimson Drawing Room
The Crimson Drawing Room was gutted by the 1992 blaze. It re-opened in 1997 and is accessible to visitors part of the year. All the better to see the views of the surrounding countryside, which are said to be spectacular. This room is well known to those of us who follow royals because the Windsor Christmas tree is set up here, and there have been many photos of official events set in this room. It, like the other two drawing rooms, was decorated by Morel & Seddon. The decorator made extensive use of repurposed French and English 18th century furniture from Carlton House, George IV’s previous London residence. A 360 degree view of the room can be seen here.
The Green Drawing Room
The Green Drawing room survived the 1992 fire but sustained significant water damage during the blaze. The floor is covered with a beautiful Axminster carpet that was originally displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and was transferred to Windsor during Queen Victoria’s reign. The rug survived the fire, but its condition is precarious, and the room is off limits for tours. The Green Drawing Room has been seen by the public in some famous photos and paintings. The official photos of Prince Harry’s wedding and his son Archie’s christening were both taken in that room. It is also the setting of the painting “The Family of Queen Victoria”. This 1887 painting depicts Queen Victoria and her enormous extended family.
The White Drawing Room
The Queen makes extensive use of this room for official events, and it too is open for tours. It is best known as the backdrop Princess Eugenie’s and Prince Charles’ wedding photos. It was also the room where the Queen spoke at the beginning of the global pandemic. Like the crimson drawing room, the windows look out over the countryside, and provide a spectacular backdrop.
Quite a spectacular rug in this room, too.