Visitors to Windsor Castle will be able to enjoy a Royal cup of tea from 2018, as the castle undergoes huge refurbishment, including the installation of a cafe.
The Royal Collection Trust will begin a £37 million investment programme next year, to redevelop and improve facilities at both Windsor and Holyroodhouse in Scotland. At Windsor, this means the creation of a cafe in the 14th century cellars, and learning facilities for schoolchildren.
One of the few remaining parts of the castle built by Edward III in the 1350s is the Undercroft, where the cafe will be situated – rather appropriate, since it served as the castle’s principle cellar and larder nearly 700 years ago.
The money for the project has come from ticket and souvenir sales, and not the Sovereign Support Grant, which is used for the upkeep of the Royal palaces.
Windsor is perhaps The Queen’s favourite residence; it is where she spends her weekends, Thursday to Sunday, though she often extends her stay until Monday. It is reported that Her Majesty will make it her principle residence in the event of The Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, as it is smaller and more homely.
After the refurbishment, visitors will step into the State Apartments through the Georgian entrance hall, which was used as the main entrance for visiting Heads of State and VIPs to the castle. This also gives a fantastic view of the 4 km Long Walk, created by Charles II.
It was the fire of 1992 at the castle which led to the summer opening of Buckingham Palace each year, in order to fund repairs to the oldest continuously inhabited Royal residence and largest occupied castle in the world.
The castle will remain open as the work is ongoing, with the updates due to be finished at the end of 2018.