Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle Twelfth-century castle built by William the Conqueror said to be haunted by four of the British sovereigns who are buried there. The royal Ghosts of King Henry VIII, his daughter Queen Elizabeth I, King Charles I and King George III have been seen throughout the years by sentries. Other ghosts belong to people who had served the sovereigns in their households or armies.

Two other apparitions are those of a very old ghost and a very young one. The ghost of Richard II’s forester, Herne the Hunter, has been a frequent spirit for centuries since he hanged himself from a tree on the castle grounds. Even King Henry VIII claimed to have seen him. In 1863, the tree was cut down and Queen Victoria used the wood in her own fire, hoping to “kill the ghost.” Nevertheless, Herne’s spirit is said to still make visits. Much more recently, a young royal guardsman who committed suicide in 1927 reportedly returned as an apparition.

Sentries have reported seeing the ghost of King Henry VIII walking along the castle battlements, but he has also appeared in the cloisters, which are said to be his favorite haunt. Henry’s spirit is said to be accompanied by groans and the sound of him dragging his ulcerated leg.

One favorite room for ghostly appearances has been the royal library. The ghost of Queen Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, appeared there before Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret. Elizabeth’s spirit is said to have haunted the site since her death in 1603. Other visitations to the book-lined room were witnessed by Empress Frederick of Germany and a Grenadier Guard.

Two other spirits visiting the library are King George III, whose madness caused him to be confined to the castle during the last years of his life in the 1820s, and King Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649 after the English Civil War.

Further Reading:

  • Underwood, Peter. A Gazeteer of British Ghosts. Rev. ed. London: Pan Books, Ltd., 1973.
  • Whitaker, Terence. Haunted England. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1987.

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written byRosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007
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