You’ve got to feel sorry for the Royal Family! Despite having huge precedence, wealth and status, there’s little they can do about where they live. The Royal Family happen to live in some of the oldest buildings in the country, and as it is Halloween, I thought I’d share some of the most scary and fascinating stories of Royal hauntings in the Queen’s residences.
Windsor Castle is the oldest of all the Queen’s residences, with almost 1000 years of history behind it, it is abundant with ghosts, spirits and all manner of the afterlife, here are a few examples.
- The ghost of a young Grenadier Guardsman who shot himself whilst on duty in 1920. Immediately after his death, at least two of his colleagues reportedly saw his ghost which allegedly now haunts the Long Walk (path that leads up to Windsor Castle).
- The ghost of Queen Elizabeth I haunts the Royal Library and various members of the Royal Family have reportedly seen her ghost when in there studying!
- King George III is buried at Windsor 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.
- 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.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.
Not all the Royal Ghosts haunt Windsor Castle, there are even a few in the more modern royal residences, here are some more!
- Long before, a priory stood on the site of Buckingham Palace on what was then an inhospitable site surrounded by marshland. Some say that it is the ghost of a monk who died in the monastery’s punishment cell that haunts Buckingham Palace. He always appears on Christmas Day on the terrace over the gardens to the rear of the building. He is bound in heavy chains and dressed in brown and he clanks and moans back and forth for a bit before fading away, not to be seen again until the next Christmas.
- The palace has another, more contemporary ghost from the reign of Edward VII. Major John Gwynne, the King’s private secretary, became divorced. No big deal to us, but back then that meant he was shunned by polite society. In absolute dejection, he retired one night to his first-floor office with a revolver and shot himself in the head. Since that day, staff working in the vicinity have occasionally heard a gun firing in the room where the suicide occurred.