Queen Elizabeth has spent time in the castle since she was a child, and during World War II she and her sister, Princess Margaret, were evacuated to escape the Nazi bombing of London. According to royal experts, the queen prefers the country retreat to her palace in the capital.
“Buckingham Palace is the office … Windsor is her home,” said Amanda Bryett, Director of Windsor Tourist Guides. “This is where she grew up.”
The queen spends weekends in Windsor from October until July, when she goes to Scotland’s Balmoral Castle. The royal standard flies when the queen is in residence, letting everyone knows she’s home.
“This is really where she can relax,” said Bryett, who has lived in Windsor since the 1980s and said she often sees the queen driving her green Jaguar through Windsor’s park on her way to church.
“She goes horse riding in the park, she walks her dogs in the park,” said Bryett marveling at the fact that, at 92, the monarch is still so active. “She was out last week.”
Even though she lived through the war there, the queen was reportedly surprised to learn, when it was revealed to her during a BBC documentary this year, that the crown jewels had actually been hidden in a cookie jar at the castle during World War II.
Windsor Castle really is “her majesty the queen’s favorite home,” said Andrew Roberts, a British historian and royal commentator for NBC News. “So it’s very fitting that Meghan and Harry should have chosen somewhere that matters so much to his grandmother to have their wedding.”
The actual ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel. King Edward IV set in motion the building of the chapel in 1475 and it was completed 50 years later by King Henry VIII.
With its fan-vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows, it is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. It is also the chapel of the Order of the Garter, Britain’s most prestigious order of chivalry.
The intimate choir area is lined with colorful banners, with heraldic family crests, symbols and animals, hanging above the area where the couple will exchange vows.