Fiona Bruce has revealed that St George’s Hall, the room in which Harry and Meghan introduced baby Archie to the world, is in fact surprisingly modern.
The presenter shared the secrets of Windsor Castle as part of a BBC documentary series about The Queen’s Palaces on BBC 4 tonight.
Fiona described how after a blaze in 1992 completely destroyed St George’s Hall, meaning craftsman were forced to rebuilt the entire room.
Giving viewers a glimpse at the hall, she revealed: ‘It was decided craftsman should try to recreate the medieval spirit of the hall’ but with a modern twist.
Prince Harry and Meghan used St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle for their son Archie’s first photocall
Fiona revealed how when the room was completely destroyed in the 1992 fire, it was decided that the ceiling be altered when it was rebuilt
Meghan and Harry have a special connection to the room having used it as the place they introduced Archie to the world.
The couple’s quiet first public outing as a family with Archie happened in May of this year, as they revealed their baby to the world for the first time.
But royal fans may be surprised to hear that the room in which Archie was introduced in is in fact one of the most modern in Windsor Castle.
More than a quarter of a century ago, a huge blaze broke out at Windsor Castle in 1992, damaging more than 100 rooms including the vast medieval St George’s Hall.
Fiona revealed the secrets of Windsor Castle, with one historian calling the building ‘a fantasy castle’ in the programme
More than 200 firefighters from seven counties battled the flames.
Speaking in the programme, British art historian Sir Hugh Roberts called the fire terrifying, and revealed he had entered the castle on the day the fire was burning.
He said: ‘On the day of the fire, I came into this room here. You could hear the noise of the fire coming through at roof level.’
‘They said, this room will go. The room was really burnt right back to the brick and the stone.’
Sir Hugh Roberts revealed that certain rooms were able to be restored almost identically to their original designs
‘The decision was taken, I think and hope rightly that the room was put back to it’s original designs.’
However, St George’s Hall, which was right next to where the fire began, was completely destroyed.
And unlike other rooms in the castle, Fiona revealed: ‘It was decided that craftsman should try to recreate the medieval spirit of the hall, but with a modern twist.’
St George’s Hall was restored to a design close to the room’s 14th-century appearance, but with a 20th-century reinterpretation.
The hammer-beam designed roof was a ’20th century reinterpretation’, despite appearing like a medieval masterpiece
A new hammer-beam roof was constructed from sustainable English oak using traditional methods and tools.
Fiona described the original ceiling as ‘plain’ and ‘flat’ roof.
She pointed to the shields as holding one of the main key secrets in the room, revealing knights who may have been ‘stripped of their colour’ having brought dishonour on their family.
Fiona revealed how heroic shields were painted on the ceiling that represent knights of the garter – with certain shields painted white to if dishonour is brought on the family
Fiona said: ‘What is faithful to the original is the heroic shields on the ceiling, each one representing a knight of the garter. Everyone has been painstakingly repainted.
‘But if you spot an odd white one, it’s not because they haven’t got round to it yet. It represents a knight whose colours have been removed because he brought dishonor on the order.’
She called the fire ‘an opportunity for fresh invention’ to the Castle, which is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world.
And later, historian Steven Parrisen called the building a ‘fantasy castle’ that was a ‘a celebration of British history.’