Well I am away with work again - only overnight but I am in Windsor Great Park and it is amazing. we are staying in a private residence owned by the Queen. It was built in the 1600's after the civil war (please don't quote me on my history here as it could be a little inaccurate!), but from what I understand the land was given to soldiers of note after the civil war by the monarchy as a thanks, as they couldn't give money, so the house was built on the land given. At some point the house was then taken back by the crown, and since then it has been given to someone chosen by the King or Queen, normally their best friend, to live in and to be Ranger of the Park.
The Great park itself is 14,000 but only 4,000 are open to the public I think. The house we were in is on private land, not open to the general public. The ranger of the Park got to live in the house and look after this land. They have all been men barr one which was Sarah Churchill who was friends with one of the Queen's. Queen Victoria's daughter also lived there for over 50 years. The present Ranger of the Park is Prince Phillip as the Queen considers him her best friend and most loyal friend, however he has no need to live there. I think it was in the 1947 that the house was given to educational purposes by the crown which is how meetings can be held there. it is a conference facility with bedrooms but they have no TVs or locks on the doors when you leave them as the place is so secure.
The land it overlooks is breathtaking, there is a deer pen so these can be seen roaming around, and about a mile from the Lodge is a tiny little village that time forgot I think! It has a tiny old post office, proper old fashioned kind, a tiny school and about 20 houses, but there is no-one around! Apparently you can not buy houses in the great park, they are given to the park workers to live in.
I felt like I had been on a retreat or something, the place was so serene and relaxing. The best bit was the history though, there were photos, explanations, furniture and talks explaining everything. We even had lunch in the room where the crisis talks took place when King Edward VIII abdicated after he was told he couldn't marry his socialite girlfriend Wallis Simpson. It was fascinating but reminded me of how little |I know about our history.
The Queen regularly attends the little church in the grounds and often visits Cumberland Lodge, and we were told if we see a Rangerover being driven like a bat out of hell round the grounds, it was likely to be the Queen!