British Folklore

Windsor Castle



Hector Bolitho, writing in 1943, reported sightings of two royal ghosts in Windsor Castle, the first being Elizabeth I:

As recently as a quarter of a century ago (c. 1918), a Guards officer was reading quietly in the Castle library one evening, near the part which survived from Elizabeth’s gallery, and he claimed afterwards that he had seen her ghost passing quietly before him. He did not know until afterwards that this was one of the few parts of the Castle which she had built and decorated.


The second story concerns George III, who during the years of his ‘madness’ spent some time confined to a suite of rooms in the castle and used to enjoy looking from the windows towards the Thames. Whenever sentries patrolling the terrace below looked up and saw him there, they would salute, and the king would raise his hand in acknowledgement.


Long after George III died, the sentry on the terrace looked up at the window one evening and saw a hand parting the curtains. The ghost of George III looked down at the soldier, and a pale hand was raised to the salute. The curtains fell back and the terrified soldier ran to his companion on the East Terrace. Soldiers came to hate their vigil on the North Terrace, for the ghost appeared again and again, until the death of William IV when the Hanoverian regime ended and the ghost apparently retired into tranquillity.