Royal Lodge

Royal Lodge

Royal Lodge is a house in Windsor Great Park, located half a mile north of Cumberland Lodge and 3 miles south of Windsor Castle. It was the Windsor residence of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother from 1952 until her death there in 2002. Since 2004 it has been the official residence of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

The Lodge dates originally from the mid-seventeenth century, there being a house on the site by 1662. By 1750 the small Queen Anne style brick house was being used in conjunction with the adjacent dairy. By this time it was known variously as the Lower Lodge, to distinguish it from Cumberland Lodge, then known as the Great Lodge, or the Dairy Lodge.

From the mid-eighteenth century it was home to the military topographer and artist Thomas Sandby (brother of the better known Paul), as Deputy Ranger of the Great Park. The house was then known as the Deputy Ranger’s House.

It was enlarged by 1792, and was the home of Joseph Frost, the Park Bailiff, and then of the General Superintendent of Farms, after Sandby’s death.

George, Prince of Wales (later King George IV) planned to rebuild Cumberland Lodge, after he had become Prince Regent. He used the Lower Lodge as temporary accommodation in 1812. Alterations and additions were undertaken by John Nash for the Prince of Wales.

It was now a large and elaborate cottage in the contemporary style of the cottage orné, with thatched roofs, verandas, and a conservatory. It became known as the Prince Regent’s Cottage after the prince moved into it in 1815. The renovation of Cumberland Lodge was abandoned.

Additions were made after 1820. In 1823 Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyattville) succeeded Nash as architect, and the house (known now as the “King’s Cottage”) became known as the Royal Lodge in the late 1820s.

After 1830 King William IV ordered the demolition of all the house, except the conservatory. It became a residence again in 1840, and was used as accommodation for various officers of the Royal Household to 1843, and 1873-1931.

In 1931 it was granted to the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). After the death of George VI, The Queen Mother continued to use the house as her country retreat until her death there in 2002. Following extensive renovations, the Duke of York moved into Royal Lodge in 2004, having vacated Sunninghill Park.

Wings were added on each flank in the 1930s. There are two lodges at the entrance, and groups of three cottages each side. The main building has some 30 rooms, including 7 bedrooms, and a saloon (48” by 30” by 30”). The original conservatory survives.

The grounds extend to 90 acres, partly under its own head gardener, but mostly the responsibility of the Crown Estates Commissioners. While the house has grown piecemeal since the 1840s, and remains relative small and informal, the grounds have a unifying plan. This was the result of work undertaken by the Duke and Duchess of York in the 1930s, with the assistance of Sir Eric Savill, of the Windsor estate.

The grounds contain the miniature cottage Y Bwthyn Bach, a gift to Princess Elizabeth as a child from the people of Wales (1932).

The grounds also contain the Royal Chapel of All Saints, which is built on the site of a porter’s lodge, converted in the Gothic style in 1825 by Jeffry Wyatt for King George IV. One hundred yards from the Royal Lodge, it was regularly used by the King, and has since been regularly used by members of the Royal Family including Queen Elizabeth II. A chaplain was first appointed in 1852, and since 1981 the office has been held by one of the Canons of the College of St George (St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle). King William IV allowed the families of Great Park staff to use the tiny chapel, and this has continued to this day.

The chapel was substantially rebuilt in the 1860s by Samuel Sanders Teulon and Anthony Salvin, with a new chancel, and an east window in memory of Queen Victoria’s mother, the Victoria, Duchess of Kent. The rebuilt chapel was consecrated in 1863, and a service of rededication was conducted by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford in 1867. It was altered after 1936 by Sir Edward Maufe, with a new ceiling in the chancel and royal pew, new choir stalls, and casing for a new organ.

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