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

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Almost everyone remembers the tragic fire that broke out in Windsor in 1992. It took 15 hours and a million-and-a-half gallons of water to put out the blaze. Nine principal rooms and more than a hundred others encompassing about 97,000 square feet were damaged or destroyed by the fire, nearly one-fifth of the castle area. The next five years were spent restoring the castle to its former magnificence, an effort led by the Prince of Wales, which resulted in the greatest historic building project to have been undertaken in the United Kingdom in the 20th century. Now, not a single vestige of the disaster remains.

St. George’s Hall, where dinner was served, is one of the most historic rooms in Windsor Castle, associated for six centuries with the Order of the Garter. It is set on the site of Edward III’s Great Hall and Chapel. In 1829, the hall and chapel were joined to create one enormously long room more than 180 feet long. This incredibly romantic gothic room was inspired by Sir Walter Scott, whose novels were greatly admired by George IV. When he and his architect remodeled the castle in 1820, gothic, extraordinary gothic, was chosen for all the processional spaces, while classical architecture was mainly used for the reception room. In St. George’s Hall, the ceiling of plaster grained to resemble oak is decorated with the coats of arms of all the knights of the garter.

Friday, read all about the dinner, what they ate, what they said, how the enormous table was decorated, and how the guests moved through the Green Drawing Room and the Crimson Drawing Room, passing through the State Dining Room, the Octagon Dining Room and the China Corridor into the Grand Reception Room, where the Prince of Wales stood waiting to welcome them. As for the names mentioned above, not all of them were at Windsor. Some of them were at Sir Elton’s White Tie and Tiara Ball wearing their best and barest. Can you figure out who was where?
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