The first reports from Windsor Castle, where the Prince of Wales threw his annual spectacle.

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Now you know who, here is where and why all those Americans and other exotica were caught mingling among the Brits. The Prince of Wales has a foundation in his name based in Washington that supports the charities and causes he favors in England and the U.S. Each year, Prince Charles is the host of grand parties like no other in London and the surrounding countryside to benefit those particular causes, inviting those who contribute to them. Every year, the parties, always splendid, always surprising, are different and magnificently done — produced is a better word — in venues that only he and other members of the royal family have recourse to, castles, palaces, vast country houses. When it seems the divertissments are too grand and glamorous, imaginative and clever and ingenious to be outdone, he outdoes them. This year, the two dazzling parties he hosted with Camilla by his side were given in Clarence House, where the Prince now lives and where Camilla has porters, and at Windsor Castle.

Because awe-inspiring Windsor is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth and the largest occupied palace in the world, let’s begin there, where Charles received his guests wearing what is known as the Windsor Jacket with scarlet lapels and cuffs and gold buttons. And Camilla charmed her way through the group wearing a brilliant turquoise and diamond necklace and her biggest smile.

History tells us there has been a castle at Windsor for more than 900 years. William the Conqueror chose the site, high above the Thames and on the edge of a Saxon hunting ground. It was a day’s march from the Tower of London, a fortress castle intended to guard the western approaches to London. Since those early days, Windsor Castle has been inhabited continuously and improved upon by successive sovereigns. Some were great builders who strengthened the castle against uprisings and rebellions, and others, living in more peaceful times, created a palatial royal residence.

More history. Nine centuries after it was founded, the castle still performs its prime role as one of the Queen’s official residences. The State Apartments are the opulent formal rooms used for court ceremonials and official occasions. These glorious rooms range from smaller, intimate rooms of Charles II’s apartment to the vast reaches of The Waterloo chamber, which was built to commemorate the famous victory over Napoleon in 1815. Here you will find such treasures from the royal collection as masterpieces by Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyke and Lawrence, exquisite tapestries and porcelains, sculpture and armor.
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