Now that the late Prince Philip has received his personally-sanctioned, socially-distanced sendoff, the next question in: will he return to visit members of the current and future royal families when they stay at Windsor Castle – perhaps the most haunted of the British royal residences? If the past is any indication, there’s a good chance the prince with the wicked sense of humor when he was alive may join in the fun of scaring and pranking his family from the great beyond – including the queen, who has seen plenty of ghosts while there.
“(She’s) “often seen in the library (and) her footsteps can be heard on the bare floorboards before her striking presence appears.”
That would be Elizabeth I, who both Elizabeth II and her late sister Margaret reported seeing at Windsor Castle. That’s a long time to hang out there — Elizabeth I died in 1603 – but she was said to enjoy staying there as much as the current queen does. Perhaps she herself encountered the ghost of her father, Henry VIII, who is said to haunt the deanery cloisters (the lodgings of the deans or wardens of St George’s Chapel where Philip’s funeral was held), where he is often heard groaning and dragging his feet as he looks for someone to behead or marry or both. The Deanery is also said to be haunted by a young boy who has been heard running and shouting “I don’t want to go riding today.” What royal doesn’t want to go riding?
“(He is seen peering from the window in the room where he was often detained.”
That would be George III, whose reign ended in in Windsor Castle where he died in 1820 after spending much of his later years there with a variety of maladies, including blindness, rheumatism, mental illness and eventual insanity. Charles I is said to haunt a Canon’s House on the property, while Charles Stuart, better known as “the Young Pretender” and “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was held there as a prisoner and buried there after being beheaded – as his coffin was entering St. George’s Chapel, the beautiful weather was suddenly interrupted by a terrible blizzard. The ‘Prison Room’ in the Norman Tower is haunted by a former Royalist prisoner from Civil War times.
A castle with 1,000 rooms needs a huge staff, so it’s not surprising that many of the ghosts are suspected to be former employees. The kitchen is said to be haunted by a man leading a horse through the wall to the stables. Footsteps are heard in the belfry of the Curfew Tower and the bells were once heard ringing without a bellringer … at least, a live one. The Long Walk, a double lined avenue of trees runs for 2.65 miles up to the castle, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young Grenadier Guard who shot himself while on duty there in the 1920s. But the most famous employee ghost at Windsor Castle is Herne the Hunter, who haunts the Great Park, Windsor’s 5,000-acre woodlands. Herne was wounded while saving King Richard II from being mauled to death by a cornered stag, and was said to have been healed by witchcraft. He was later framed for theft by jealous other hunters and hanged himself on ‘Herne’s Oak’. His ghost has since been seen many times in the Great Park.
There are more, but the real question is … will Prince Philip come back for a visit? It’s doubtful he would come to scare his loving wife of 73 years, even just to say he’s doing fine, but it would be appropriate for the prince to spook his troublesome son Andrew or grandson Harry.
If he does, you can be sure it will be covered on the tours and on a future season of “The Crown.”