Inside the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle

Inside the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle: Room where Prince Charles met Ursula von der Leyen is steeped in royal history – including a priceless portrait of Queen Victoria

  • Semi-state room at Windsor is steeped in history and filled with priceless art 
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King Charles met with Ursula von der Leyen yesterday, with the audience taking place at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

The royal met with the President of the European Commission in one of the castle’s lavish semi-state rooms. Not to be confused with its namesake at Buckingham Palace, the White Drawing Room at Windsor in steeped in history. 

It is one of three semi-state rooms that were created as private apartments for George IV. They feature interiors decorated by Morel & Seddon, with a selection of furnishings and fittings taken from Carlton House, George IV’s former London residence. 

The rooms, which also include the Crimson and Green drawing rooms, were used by the Queen for formal entertaining – a tradition continued by the current monarch.

Looking at the details of the room shows some of the priceless objets d’art, from a portrait of Queen Victoria to a carpet that survived the devastating Windsor Castle fire in 1992.

King Charles (left) met with Ursula von der Leyen (centre) in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle (pictured) – a semi state room steeped in history

1. Franz Winterhalter portrait of Queen Victoria

The walls of the White Drawing Room are adorned with priceless art, notably a Franz Winterhalter portrait of Queen Victoria (pictured).

One of two similar portraits Winterhalter painted of the queen in 1842, the painting shows the royal wearing Garter regalia. 

Not seen in the photos of King Charles’ audience with Ursula von der Leyen are two more Winterhalter portraits – one of Prince Albert, and another of the young Prince Albert Edward, later King Edward VII, among other paintings of royals.

2. Carpet that survived the great fire 

The floor of the White Drawing Room is covered with a carpet by famed Devon-based manufacturer Axminster Carpets that dates back to at least 1890. 

Despite being damaged by smoke in the Windsor Castle fire of 1992, the rug has since been restored. 

The carpet, which was fitted in 1851 during the reign of Queen Victoria, was originally fitted in the Green Drawing Room. 

3. Remond mantel clock

This Remond mantel clock, which sits atop the mantel piece, is one of the ornate decorative pieces lending a lavish air to the room

An ornate Remond mantel clock, with gold decal, can be seen on top of the fireplace in the White Drawing Room.

Adorning the clock is a draped bronze figure, thought to represent Astronomy. She addresses another figure, a youth carrying two parchment rolls and a pair of calipers.

The clock, which is dated back to between 1780 and 1829, was taken from George IV’s former London residence Carlton House to decorate this room.

4. Candelabra 

Also placed on top of the mantel piece are a pair of candelabra. The lighting fixtures take the shape of classical figures wearing draping robes.

Each of the pieces, which were designed by Etienne Falconet, feature a faun and mymph holding a cornucopia.

They are thought to be part of a set that is moved around the White Drawing Room as needed. 

5. Planter of white flowers

No royal room would be complete without fresh flowers or plants on view – and the White Drawing Room is no exception, boasting a potted plant

Fresh flowers are never missing from royal residences, and Windsor Castle’s White Drawing Room is no exception.

Photos from King Charles’ meeting with Ursula von der Leyen show a plant pot hosting a small plant boasting foliage and white leaves.

6. Gilted panels

Nowhere is the opulent stamp of George VI more clear in the White Drawing Room than in the gilted panelled walls.

They were gesigned by Morel & Seddon during the king’s 1827-1830 extensive refurbishment of the royal residence.

The gilt frames and gold brocade adorning the walls and doors are seen throughout the room, bringing a deeply lavish touch.

7. Fire guard 

A fireguard – which is white, matching the theme of the room – can be seen in front of the fireplace within the Drawing Room.

While it may be purely decorative, it could also protect the rest of the light-coloured room from any ash and other detritus in case a roaring log fire is set.

8. Fireplace

No grand drawing room is complete without an ornate fireplace, and this Windsor Castle space certainly meets the mark.

It is touches like the fireplace – which is adorned with an opulent gold design, that give the room its luxurious touch and make it suitable for so many big ocassions.

As well as being used by the monarch for formal meetings, the room was also chosen by Princess Eugenie as the site for her wedding photos when she married Jack Brooksbank.

9. Duchy door

Just visible in the photos from King Charles’ meeting with Ursula von der Leyen are the double Duchy doors, which are decorated in gold

The White Drawing Room’s doors were designed by Morel & Seddon – the main suppliers of furnishings to King George IV.

Boasting an ornate gold design, the door is part of the extensive refurbishment of Windsor Castle carried out by the King between 1827-1830.

The gilt frames and gold brocade design, which decorates this door, is continued throughout the room – perfectly displaying the opulent taste for which George IV was known.

This pair of double doors lead to the Crimson Drawing Room and Green Drawing Room. 

10. Pale silk sofa

The three-seat settee is part of a four-piece suite, boasting two matching arm chairs and a two-seater.

Coordinating with the room’s name, these pieces of furniture are all made from identical white silk.

While made from the lavish fabric, the seating offers the room a somewhat homely touch, offering a departure from the rest of the room’s extremely ornate furnishings.

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