Charles Rex wrote:King's Apartments
The official state rooms of the King could be reached by the Kings Staircase in the Horn Court. They were decorated by a large collection of knights armour, swords, pikes and guns, part of the wealth of weapons amassed by Prince Rupert while he was the warden of this ancient keep. Two full suits of knights armour awaited at either side on top of the stairs.
Each room was decorated more bountiful than the next, patterned after the great palace of Louis XIV Versailles, except that the red vein marble was replaced by wood in Windsor. The walls held fine realistic carvings of fruit, fowl, game, fish and shellfish together with masterful strokes of trompe l'oeil drawing in the eye and tricking it into seeing alcoves, friezes and pillars, reaching up to the ceiling. Silver cast tables, mirrors and chairs filled the rooms, with a marble chimney in each. The ceilings were painted by Verrio into large allegoric representations of the reign of Charles II. The paint was barely dry on these magnificent paintings and were the piece de resistance of the restoration of Windsor Castle, a true masterpiece.
Joanna could not see the magnificent surroundings as they walked, of course, but she certainly imagined that they were moving from a humdrum hallway into a splendiferous series of chambers garnished liberally with gold, ornate mouldings and sumptuous fabrics treated with the finest of dyes. It was a trick of her mind, no doubt, but nonetheless she felt that she could feel the change in atmosphere as they entered the royal residence. It was headier here, mayhap a touch warmer and the air a trifle thick. Even for a girl who was not enamoured with the concept of a divinely ordained monarch, this was a moment to treasure.
With her arm slipped securely through dear Davina's, Joanna did not feel frightened. She felt nervous and anxious and scattered and excited and a bit like her heart might explode, but there was no fear, at least not enough to register. There was also curiosity amongst those crowded sensations, for she wondered why the King would choose to honour the winners of a silly game with a private lunch. It was a bit strange, was it not? They had done nothing to merit a royal audience! Ah, but perhaps Richard was right that the King merely liked to be merry and so thought that it would be fun to entertain ladies one afternoon. Yes, surely that was the reason.
Breathing in time with her steps helped to keep a steady flow of air as they were led along, though with every breath Joanna was certain that her heart was beating more loudly and rapidly. Surely Davina and the man leading them along could hear it as clearly as a peal of church bells on a quiet morning…