"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day at Windsor

I'm in the habit of visiting royal palaces--the ones my characters occupied or frequented, that is. Each year I alternate. Let's review: last year Hampton Court and Kensington Palace, two years ago Windsor Castle, three years ago Hampton Court. Making this a Windsor Castle year.

The approach to Windsor/Eton station on the riverside.

First we strolled into the old town. I never can help shooting the Crooked House by Market Cross.

Which, in fact, looks crooked-er from the back.

Stopped in St. John the Baptist Church, rebuilt in 1822, so it does not resemble what my characters would have seen. Here it is as they knew it:

We encountered another unexpected event, the Changing of the Windsor Castle guard.

For your enjoyment, a little film of the passing parade. Complete with music!

Inevitably I come to this spot.

The Royal Mews complex occupies the site of the house belonging to the duke and duchess in my novel.

After touring all the requisite MEP sights, we entered the Castle grounds.

The Round Tower.

St. George's Chapel.

We visited the State Apartments, of course. The ones I like best are arranged as they were in the time of Charles II. I had a good long look at the Wissing portrait of Mary II--painted in Holland before she became Queen. There's a brief portrait-sitting scene in my book.

Fragrant daphne blooming along the wall near the Round Tower.

At the end of her very long life, my duchess was laid to rest here.

As on my last visit, one of the Chapel wardens was kind enough to let me pass through the velvet rope and ascent to the Choir to view the stall plate of my duke. (who became a Knight of the Garter in 1718.)

There's a reason for my guilty expression.

When I 'fessed up to the Chap that I'd taken a highly illicit photograph of the duchess's burial place, he replied, "You would!" Sometimes when I'm naughty like that, he's my accomplice. But not today.

I do feel bad, especially as Her Maj smiled at me so sweetly yesterday. But really--why must she keep genealogical-minded visitors out of the Rutland Chapel? It's just not fair!

On leaving the Castle, we wandered about the town.

Queen Victoria surveys the High Street.

Thanksgiving tomorrow. I'm having a day off from research--clothes shopping, visiting a music store to gaze at European-made mandolins, and perhaps a museum or gallery. Plus we've been invited to eat a traditional turkey dinner at home by a very kind and hospitable American author and her family.

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