Dusting off the Queen’s treasures! Windsor Castle staff install a bust of Queen Victoria and polish up suits of armour as the royal residence prepares to welcome visitors for the first time in five months

  • Windsor Caslte is preparing to reopen its doors to the public for the first time in five months after lockdown
  • Photographs released today show Royal Collection Trust staff cleaning and setting up the State Apartments 
  • The Queen, 95, remains in residence at Windsor Castle following the death of Prince Philip last month 

An army of staff are hard at work cleaning the priceless artefacts at Windsor Castle as it prepares to open its doors to the public next week. 

The State Apartments, which are furnished with some of the finest works from the Royal Collection, will welcome visitors for the first time in five months when lockdown restrictions ease on Monday. 

The public State Apartments include the Grand Reception Room and St George’s Hall, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle introduced son Archie to the world in May 2019. 

These are separate from the Royal Family’s private apartments, where there Queen, 95, remains in residence following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh last month.  

Staff dust the 1.8m high Malachite Urn in the Grand Reception Room. The vase was presented to Queen Victoria in 1839 by Tsar Nicholas I after the visit of his eldest son, the future Alexander II, to England. Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, reported that the vase was considered to be the ‘finest in the world’. It was one of the few objects in the Grand Reception Room to survive the fire of 1992, though considerable restoration work was required to restore it to its former glory

A member of staff dusts a marble bust in St George’s Hall, the largest room in Windsor Castle. This is the room where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle presented their son Archie to the world days after his birth in May 2019

A member of staff installs a marble bust of Queen Victoria in the Inner Hall, which was restored and opened up to visitors in 2018. Queen Victoria commissioned the bust of herself as a birthday present to Prince Albert in 1855

The Queen typically only spends a few weeks of the year at Windso but moved to the Berkshire royal residence at the start of the first lockdown last spring. 

She has only spent brief periods of time away in last year. Yesterday she attended the State Opening of Parliament in London. 

Windsor Castle has been closed to visitors since December last year due to lockdown restrictions. 

Now staff from the Royal Collection Trust, which looks after the art in the Royal Collection and manages the public opening of the Queen’s official residences, are busy polishing, dusting and shining ahead of the reopening on Monday. 

Photographs show staff dusting the the 1.8m Malachite Urn in the Grand Reception Room that vase was presented to Queen Victoria in 1839 by Tsar Nicholas I after the visit of his eldest son, the future Alexander II, to England. 

Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, reported that the vase was considered to be the ‘finest in the world’.

It was one of the few objects in the Grand Reception Room to survive the fire of 1992, though considerable restoration work was required to restore it to its former magnificence.

Members of staff at Windsor Castle dust the suits of armour that flank the Grand Staircase at Windsor Castle

A member of staff dusts a 17th-century bronze bust of Charles I in the Grand Reception Room at Windsor Castle

A member of staff installs a marble bust of Emperor Napoleon III in the Inner Hall. Queen Victoria welcomed Emperor Napoleon III in the Inner Hall when he arrived at Windsor during his State Visit in 1855

Elsewhere staff are pictured installing marble busts of Queen Victoria and Emperor Napoleon III in the Inner Hall,which was restored and opened up to visitors in 2018.

It was in the Inner Hall that Queen Victoria welcomedEmperor Napoleon III when he arrived at Windsor during his State Visit in 1855.

Queen Victoria commissioned the bust of herself as a birthday present to Prince Albert that same year.

The Royal Collection Trust suffered a financial blow due to the pandemic and will be hoping for a boom in visitor numbers to boost its coffers.  

Its income derives from visitor admissions to tourist attractions such as Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the summer opening of Buckingham Palace, and the Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh, and related retail sales.

The trust maintains and displays the large collection of royal artefacts from artwork to furniture held in trust by the Queen for her heirs and the nation, and carries out other charitable work.

Perched on ladders, Royal Collection Trust staff carefully dust the Malachite Urn in the Grand Reception Room

Visitors are greeted by suits of armour that flank the Grand Staircase. Here, they are dusted by members of staff

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