Exploring Windsor

Here is my last post about our time in England in May 2013.

We took the train from London to the town of Windsor. We always keep our eyes open for pretty flowers.

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At a phone booth we caught a glimpse of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

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I would have expected to find this fellow in Wyoming or Montana, but here he was outside a store in a shopping center in Windsor!

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And here I am,standing at attention with two friends.

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Queen Victoria stands at an intersection outside Windsor Castle.

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View towards the center of the castle, which was originally made of wood, built by William the conqueror in 1070 to guard the western approaches to London. The castle is the primary residence of the Queen and her family, who stay here many weekends.

King George V’s affection for the castle was shown when he chose Windsor for his family surname in 1917.

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Here we are looking up the bank of the moat (it was always a dry moat, not water-filled) to the Round Tower, the most secure stronghold of the whole castle – the keep, properly speaking.

Windsor has three sections, all surrounded by stone walls and towers. It is like a small town, with over a hundred people living and working here.

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Iconic scene of guards changing duty.

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Looking across the yard to the Queen’s personal apartments for the Queen and her family. Tourists are not admitted here.

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In the Lower Ward is St.George’s Chapel. A plaque states: “St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle College of St. George, was founded here in 1348 and has sought to fulfill its vocation of offering prayer to Almighty God ever since.”  Ten monarchs are buried here.

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Sorry, no photos are allowed inside the chapel. But we came back for a 5:00 PM vespers service of prayers and Scriptures, a service that is open to the public.

Before vespers we had tea and sandwiches at the Harte and Garter restaurant. On the wall was an art piece of the Long Walk, the private entrance to the section of the castle that consists of the Queen’s personal apartments.

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Back to St. George’s Chapel, the mix of religion and patriotism and half-unsheathed swords gave me time to reflect on Jesus our Lord who told the disciples to put up the sword, and on the sad union (sad to me) of piety and church-sanctioned war that is England and is also common in many other nations, our own USA included.

I pray that Christians everywhere will have the courage to say no to the world’s way of violence and say yes to Jesus and his radical way of peace.

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