The Princesses' Pantomimes at Windsor Castle

Type:Christmas

Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ

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Christmas at the Royal Residences and Pantomime costume display at Windsor Castle. Royal Collection Trust / All Rights Reserved

About

This festive season, Christmas decorations will transform the State Apartments at Windsor Castle and a special display will bring together costumes worn by Her Majesty The Queen and Princess Margaret during wartime pantomimes. Exclusive tours will give visitors a behind-the-ropes experience at Windsor Castle, while family activities will bring royal Christmases to life for children and adults alike.

Christmas at Windsor Castle

Special display: The Princesses’ Pantomimes, 25 November 2021 – 31 January 2022

During the Second World War, Her Majesty The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and Princess Margaret spent much of their time in Windsor, safely away from the bombing in London. Between 1941 and 1944 they performed in and helped to stage a series of Christmas pantomimes to raise money for the Royal Household Wool Fund, which supplied knitting wool to make comforters for soldiers fighting at the Front.

Visitors to Windsor Castle this Christmas will have the unique opportunity to see six rare surviving costumes worn by the teenage Princesses during these wartime performances. Brought together for the first time, the costumes will be displayed in the Waterloo Chamber where the pantomimes were originally performed 80 years ago. 

The costumes that survive today were worn by the Princesses during the final two pantomimes – Aladdin (1943) and Old Mother Red Riding Boots (1944). In the title role of ‘Aladdin’, Princess Elizabeth wore a gold brocade and turquoise jacket with turquoise dungarees and matching hat, all of which will be on public display for the first time, while Princess Margaret wore a red silk dress and matching jacket to play ‘Princess Roxana’. The striking red and gold embroidered tunic worn by their fellow cast member to play ‘The King’ and another costume combining pieces worn by both Princesses will also be on display. 

Three costumes worn in Old Mother Red Riding Boots will be on display for the first time. Princess Elizabeth wore a long-sleeved pink satin and lace dress to play ‘Lady Christina Sherwood’ and later donned a chintz shirt, trousers and sunhat for a seaside scene, in which Princess Margaret wore a blue taffeta dress with cream lace bloomers to play ‘The Honourable Lucinda Fairfax’. 

Also on display in the Waterloo Chamber are the 16 large-scale and colourful pictures of fairy-tale characters that were pasted around the walls to decorate the space for the pantomimes. The pictures have been revealed for visitors to see 75 years after they were covered up at the end of the war, when paintings by Sir Thomas Lawrence that had been removed for safekeeping were returned. 

Also at Windsor Castle this Christmas: 

•    Visitors to Windsor Castle between 25 November and 3 January will see the State Apartments decorated with shimmering Christmas trees, twinkling lights and festive garlands. A highlight will be the magnificent 20-foot-high Christmas tree in St George's Hall, taken from Windsor Great Park and dressed with hundreds of iridescent glass and mirrored ornaments. 
•    The Semi-State Rooms, created as opulent private apartments for George IV and now used by members of the Royal Family for official entertaining, are now open to visitors for the winter months and will feature a spectacular Christmas tree in the Crimson Drawing Room. 
•    On 4, 11, 18, 20 and 23 December, families can enjoy drop-in festive storytelling sessions in the State Apartments. Taking inspiration from the pantomime costumes on display, weekend arts-and-crafts activities in the Castle’s Learning Centre will give children the chance to design their own costumes, make pantomime-themed Christmas decorations and make a stage for pantomime characters to perform on. 
•    Available throughout December, Exclusive Evening Tours offer a behind-the-ropes experience in the State Apartments. Led by an expert guide, visitors will discover more about the Castle’s 1,000-year history, enjoy a glass of champagne and receive a complimentary copy of the official souvenir guidebook. Tours are available to book now at www.rct.uk
•    Great Kitchen Tours, available from 30 December to 9 January, will give visitors a guided tour of the oldest working kitchen in the country, which is not usually open to the public. Built in the reign of Edward III, the Great Kitchen has remained in use for over 750 years and is still used today for State occasions hosted by The Queen. Tours are available to book now at www.rct.uk
•    The Undercroft Café, located in the oldest surviving medieval space in the Castle, will be serving a festive-themed winter menu throughout December. 

Book Tickets

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Accessible Lift - gives access to State Apartments and Semi-State Rooms.
  • All Areas Accessible to Disabled Visitors
  • Facilities for Hearing Impaired Visitors - Induction loop on audio tour.
  • Facilities for Visually Impaired Visitors
  • Facility for service dogs - water available on request
  • Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Ramp/Level Access
  • Toilets for Disabled Visitors
  • Wheelchair user accessible

Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages

  • French audio guide
  • German audio guide
  • Italian audio guide
  • Japanese audio guide
  • Mandarin audio guide
  • Portuguese audio guide - Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian audio guide
  • Spanish audio guide

Catering

  • Cafe
  • On-Site cafe/restaurant - Undercroft Café serving freshly prepared meals, including sandwiches, wraps, salads and sweet treats and an exclusive selection of teas
  • Refreshments Available
  • Vegetarians catered for

Children & Infants

  • Family Friendly, Children Welcome

COVID-19 Response

  • Capacity limit - Visitors must book tickets in advance through www.rct.uk/tickets as capacities will be limited
  • Clear signage
  • Contactless payment only - Payment by card only
  • COVID-19 measures in place
  • COVID-19 staff training completed - All front-of-house staff fully trained in COVID-secure procedures
  • Deep cleaning between visitors - Enhanced cleaning regimes
  • Hand sanitizer available to visitors & staff - Hand sanitiser stations along the visitor routes
  • Hygiene screens in place - Perspex screens at all till points
  • One way system - Introduction of one-way routes in some areas
  • Online booking possible

Establishment Features

  • Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages
  • Gift shop - Step into the Windsor Castle shops and experience a world of exclusive gifts and royal souvenirs, including commemorative chinaware, glittering jewellery, sumptuous homeware, delicious food and drink and charming gifts for children.
  • Printed Material in Foreign Languages
  • Toilets

Parking & Transport

  • Green Transport - Green Line from London. Buses and coaches from Slough, Staines, Heathrow and Bracknell.
  • Parking (charge) - No car parking on site but follow the signs for LONG STAY PARKING in Windsor town centre; these car parks are better value if you are visiting the castle.

Payment Methods

  • American Express accepted
  • Approx length of visit - A typical visit lasts between 2 and 3 hours.
  • Blue Badge Guides admitted free
  • Delta accepted
  • Groups Accepted - Only Blue Bage Guides accredited to Windsor Castle are permitted to guide within the precincts of the Castle.
  • Maestro Accepted
  • MasterCard accepted
  • Max group size - 9999
  • Min group size - 15
  • Special group rates - Reduced admission charges apply to groups of 15 or more visitors
  • Sterling Travellers Cheques accepted
  • Visa accepted

Printed Material in Foreign Languages

  • French printed material
  • German printed material
  • Italian printed material
  • Japanese printed material
  • Mandarin printed material
  • Portuguese printed material - Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian printed material
  • Spanish printed material

Provider Preferences

  • In town/city centre
  • No Smoking Attraction

Specialist Features

  • Family Fun - In addition to trails and a children's audio guide we now offer an exciting family programme every Saturday throughout the year, linked to the amazing history of Windsor Castle, the magnificent art works on display and the royal residents past and present who have lived here.

Tours and Demonstrations

  • Educational Visits Accepted
  • Guided Tours Available for Groups
  • Guided Tours Available for Individuals

Travel & Trade

  • Group discounts available

Map & Directions

Opening Times

The Princesses' Pantomimes (25 Nov 2021 - 31 Jan 2022)
Windsor Castle Christmas Decorations (25 Nov 2021 - 3 Jan 2022)
Family activities (4 Dec 2021 - 18 Dec 2021)
SaturdayOpen
Family activities (20 Dec 2021)
Family activities (23 Dec 2021)
Great Kitchen Tours (30 Dec 2021 - 9 Jan 2022)

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