Windsor Castle Ghosts
The Windsor Castle ghosts are probably the largest regal of Royal spectres to be found in any one place in the entire world. This is only fitting for the castle that is, according to the official website for Windsor 'the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen'.
Henry VIII ghost
Queen Elizabeth I ghost
The first of the famous Windsor Castle ghosts is King Henry VIII. He is not seen but he is heard in the Cloisters, groaning and dragging his ulcerated leg which was the eventual cause of his death. King Henry is buried at Windsor Castle, in a vault in St. George's Chapel with his third wife, Jane Seymour. In the same vault are the mortal remains of King Charles I who has been seen in the Canon's house and who is said to look exactly like his portrait.
The youngest daughter of Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I
, haunts the Royal Library. Her high heels are heard on bare floorboards and go across the library and into an inner room. Her spectre has also been seen at a window in Dean's Cloister where she always wears a black gown with a black shawl over her shoulders. Elizabeth is not buried at Windsor but at Westminster Abbey, so maybe she just likes it here. It is her spirit who has allegedly been seen by a member of the Royal Family.
King George III spectre
King George III is buried here and he was confined to a room below the library during his periods of 'madness'. He would watch from a window his troops drilling on the parade ground. Guardsmen have occasionally been startled to see his face still looking out through the window.
One of the non-royal Windsor Castle ghosts that is sometimes seen in the Long Walk is a guard who shot himself in 1927. Apparently, in life, he was a very unhappy man. However, it looks like he might have found happiness in death that he couldn't in life as his phantom has been seen smiling.
Hern the Hunter
Of course the most famous of the Windsor Castle ghosts is Hern the Hunter and he actually haunts Windsor Great Park. The story is that he was a huntsman to King Richard II. The King was out hunting and injured a stag. The enraged animal turned on the king and Hern, in order to save his sovereigns life, threw himself in front of the charging beast. As he lay dying, a wizard appeared and said that the only way to save Hern's life was to cut off the stag's antlers and to tie them to Hern's head. This was done and Hern recovered and became, not surprisingly, a great favourite of the king.
Unfortunately, the other huntsmen were jealous and, in order to keep the peace, the king reluctantly dismissed him. Hern was devastated and went into the forest and hanged himself from a great oak tree. And it is in Windsor Great Park near where the tree once stood that he is supposed to be seen, usually when England is in dire trouble. He has antlers on his head and is covered in chains.
A modern day sighting!
Some people have suggested that Hern is one of the Windsor Castle ghosts that is just folklore, perhaps a distant memory of the Celtic god, Cernunnos. However, in 1962, a group of youths found a hunting horn in the forest and blew it. Immediately, the call was answered by another horn and the baying of many hounds. Then Hern himself appeared with the antlers on his head and riding a black horse. Not surprisingly, the youths ran for their lives!
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