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Everything to Know About the 1992 Windsor Castle Fire

FIRE AT WINDSOR CASTLE - Firemen fighting against fire.

FIRE AT WINDSOR CASTLE - Firemen fighting against fire.

Foto: Mathieu Polak/Sygma/Sygma via Getty

Tragedy struck Castello di Windsor in 1992.

Exactly three decades ago, il historic royal residence was engulfed in flames when a fire broke out in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel room one November morning.

The castle, which overlooks the River Thames near London, was first constructed in the 11th century by William the Conquerer and is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. It has housed 39 British monarchs, serving as a royal residence for nearly one thousand years.

Windsor Castle was home to the late Regina Elisabetta II when the blaze broke out in 1992, a time she described as an “un anno terribile,” or horrible year. Before the fire, Principe Carlo, Principe Andrea e Principessa Anna all announced the ends of their respective marriages that year.

The blaze didn’t just destroy the room the fire ignited in, but it spread throughout the castle. Furthermore, it impacted the surrounding area, Compreso ns. George's Hall (dove il principe harry e Meghan Markle aveva their wedding reception in 2018) e Brunswick Tower.

Between the total damage done and the time it took to restore, here’s everything to know about the tragic Windsor Castle fire of 1992.


When did Windsor Castle catch fire?

Windsor castle fire

Windsor castle fire

Windsor Castle fire 1992.
Tim Graham/Getty

Windsor Castle caught fire on Nov. 20, 1992. The blaze broke out in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel around 11:30 sono. that Friday morning.


What caused the fire at Windsor Castle?

Windsor castle fire

Windsor castle fire

Windsor Castle fire 1992.
Tim Graham/Getty Images

The fire at Windsor Castle was caused by a faulty spotlight that ignited a curtain next to the altar in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel. Within minutes, the fire spread to St. George’s Hall next door, Brunswick Tower and the surrounding private apartments.


Was the Queen inside Windsor Castle when it caught fire?

Principe Andrea, 1992 Fire At Windsor Castle

Principe Andrea, 1992 Fire At Windsor Castle

Mathieu Polak/Sygma via Getty

regina Elisabetta II was not inside Windsor Castle when it caught fire, but her son, Principe Andrea was there when the blaze began. Although he wasn’t in the Private Chapel room, lui still found himself horrified at the smokey scene — despite there being more than 1,000 rooms in the vast establishment.

I heard the fire alarm, and when I came out of the room I could see the smoke,” he told reporters at the time. “My reaction was shock and horror at the fact that it took hold so quickly.

Sebbene regina Elisabetta was not at the scene when the fire broke out, she rushed 20 miles west from Buckingham Palace in London to Windsor Castle to help remove priceless paintings and artifacts from the 900-year-old palace.

She joined a human chain with Prince Andrew, firefighters and other responders to pass pictures, tables, clocks and other irreplaceable antiques from hand to hand to safety. “She is helping to take stuff out of the castle — works of art,” the Duke of York told reporters of his mother on the scene. “She has been in there for 30 minutes.


How was the Windsor Castle fire put out?

Firefighters battle a huge blaze at Windsor Castle, a royal residence 30 miles (48 kilometres) west of London, 20 novembre 1992. The blaze, that reportedly started in the private St. George's Chapel, caused extensive damage. <a href="https://people.com/tag/queen-elizabeth/" data-inlink="true">regina Elisabetta</un> II's youngest son Edward will marry his fiancee Sophie Rhys-Jones 19 giugno 1999 a St. George's chapel.

Firefighters battle a huge blaze at Windsor Castle, a royal residence 30 miles (48 kilometres) west of London, 20 novembre 1992. The blaze, that reportedly started in the private St. George's Chapel, caused extensive damage. <a href="https://people.com/tag/queen-elizabeth/" data-inlink="true">regina Elisabetta</un> II's youngest son Edward will marry his fiancee Sophie Rhys-Jones 19 giugno 1999 a St. George's chapel.

THIERRY SALIOU/AFP via Getty

Three hours after the fire was first detected at Windsor Castle, più di 220 firemen from seven counties rushed to the scene in an attempt to put out the blaze. They worked nonstop for 15 ore, using 36 pumps to spray 1.5 million gallons of water, per il Royal Collection Trust.

The fire was finally extinguished the next day, il novembre. 21. It was completely put out at 2:30 sono. that Saturday, after blazing for 15 hours in total.


How much damage did the Windsor Castle fire cause?

Windsor castle fire

Windsor castle fire

regina Elisabetta at Windsor Castle fire 1992.
Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

The team managed to remove all of the prized possessions from Windsor Castle, except for two pieces of art: a rosewood sideboard and a large painting by Sir William Beechey that couldn’t be taken down in time.

Despite the feat amid the tragic circumstances, there was far more damage done to the building as a whole. The blaze destroyed 115 rooms in the castle, including nine official staterooms. Furthermore, ns. George’s Hall — a soaring gallery where banquets were held — collapsed completely.

Al tempo, experts estimated that repairs would cost up to $90 million and take 10 years to complete, secondo United Press International. Controversy arose when Prime Minister John Major suggested British Parliament pay for the restoration of the castle.

FIRE AT WINDSOR CASTLE - Firemen fighting against fire.

FIRE AT WINDSOR CASTLE - Firemen fighting against fire.

Mathieu Polak/Sygma/Sygma via Getty

Since the establishment and its contents were too expensive to insure, “the Crown had to pay for the repairs without the help of insurance or funds from parliament,” per History.com.

As a way to help cover the approximate 36.5 million pound restoration price tag, regina Elisabetta opened the doors of Buckingham Palace to visitors for the first time in history and used the admission fees to pay for most of the reconstruction of Windsor Castle.


How long did it take to rebuild Windsor Castle after the fire?

Windsor castle fire

Windsor castle fire

Windsor Castle fire restoration.
David CheskinPA Images/PA Images via Getty

Five years to the day after the fire, Windsor Castle was officially restored on Nov. 20, 1997 — a day after Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 50th wedding anniversary. Total restoration cost approximately $60 milioni, di cui 70% came from entrance fees from Buckingham Palace visits in London, per il Los Angeles Times.

In addition to the controversy surrounding the bill, there was much debate over whether the castle should be restored to its original appearance or take on a completely new look. The Restoration Committee, guidato da il principe Filippo, settled upon a compromise.

A new room titled The Lantern Lobby replaced Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel (the room where the fire started), a passageway between the private and State Apartments was created and St. George’s Hall was restored but took on a 20th-century reinterpretation. Furthermore, a new hammer-beam roof was built, per il Royal Collection Trust.