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|ESU hears history of England's Windsor Castle|
Oliver Everett is everything one might expect from a librarian.
His quiet voice fills a banquet room well, thanks to the lapel microphone, but it is easy to picture this tall, thin British man among the stacks, speaking with the same voice.
What makes Everett different is his last job title. From 1985 to 2002, Everett served Queen Elizabeth II as royal librarian at Windsor Castle.
Everett paid a visit to Monroe over the weekend as part of a nationwide lecture tour of English Speaking Union chapters. He spoke publicly Sunday at an ESU gathering at The Atrium.
While in Monroe, Everett regaled the ESU with tales from the history of Windsor Castle, one of the queen's many official residences throughout the United Kingdom.
During his lecture, Everett challenged the audience to recall the four monarchs whom he says "made tremendous changes" at Windsor Castle in its 900-year history, beginning with the king responsible for its construction.
Built in 1080 c.e. by William the Conqueror, Windsor Castle began as one of nine embattlements around London.
"William, being a conqueror, built the first castle in England," Everett said. "He proceeded to build nine more castles around London."
Everett said the locations of those nine castles were strategically stationed by William to ensure that troops stationed there remained within 25 miles of the first castle.
Though eight of those castles fell into disrepair, Windsor Castle has persevered as one of the monarch's favored residences, in part to good hunting and its position near the River Thames.
Also, Everett noted it is particularly popular with modern royals because of its close proximity to the M4 Motorway, a major highway out of London.
Windsor Castle has seen its share of battles during the last nine centuries.
Thanks in part to a well-thought design in its original construction and a stone wall erected by Henry II in 1170 c.e., the castle has never fallen to siege.
In fact, Windsor Castle was the scene of one of the most important events in English history, Everett said.
In 1643, knights and soldiers of King Charles I led an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Sir Oliver Cromwell, who had deposed the king and established his government.
Cromwell and his forces took up arms and successfully defended Windsor Castle from attack. Even the king's own army could not penetrate the fortress, Everett noted.
Unfortunately, Cromwell's troops abused the castle severely.
"They kept their horses in St. George's Chapel and sold all of the gold plate," Everett said.
After a restoration in 1660, Charles II undertook major renovations to modernize Windsor Castle to convert the fortress into a royal palace.
"He was the first to put windows in the outer wall," Everett said. "If you have a fortress, you don't put windows in the outer wall."
The reign of King George IV saw Windsor transformed into the familiar sight it is today.
Begun in 1823, the estimate for the overhaul of the castle was £150,000. By the time George died seven years later, more than £1 million had been spent on the restoration.
Though much of the castle was severely damaged by a fire in the 1990s, today Windsor Castle has been restored.
As Royal Librarian, Everett assisted with the restoration by providing details about the castle's history and architecture.
Everett retired from the Royal Library in 2002, after spending more than 24 years in service to the Royal Family.
Everett was assistant private secretary to Prince William and private secretary to Princess Diana until 1985, when he began his tenure with the Royal Library.
Sunday's lecture marked Everett's next-to-last stop in the United States before returning home to the United Kingdom.
He was scheduled to present a lecture in New Orleans earlier this week.