Castleholics Anonymous with Virginia of The Lady & the Rose

Welcome to the second edition of Castleholics Anonymous. (Check out the first one with Ella Kay here.) In today's post I spoke to Virginia of The Lady & the Rose, one of my favourite fellow Castleholics and partner-in-crime when we visited the Residenz in Munich together last year!

You are one of my fellow Castleholics who I actually visited a castle with. Where does Munich’s Residenz rank in your list of favourite castles and palaces?
You are the first fellow Castleholic to accompany me to a castle! Munich's Residenz is definitely one of the top 10 castles/palaces on my list! It may be the most confusing from a bird's eye view but the interiors are incredible! My favourite part would have to be the Hall of Antiquities. Had Ludwig II's rooftop Winter Garden not been dismantled after his death - though for good reason, due to water leakage - I'm sure that would have been my favourite! I also recommend visitors to the Residenz to visit the Bavarian National Museum (before or after) to see a large collection of the furniture, ceilings, and paintings that once adorned the palace.

When I asked you if I could do a little interview with you, you told me that it would be impossible to choose your favourite castle saying “this is why royals had many”. So instead of your most favourite of them all, you can choose (up to) five castles or palaces though they should be located in (at least) three different countries.
Inside Winter Palace
(Photo: The Lady & the Rose)
Just five? I shall do my best!
1. Hermitage / Winter Palace (Russia) - No one does palaces like Russia! The Jordan Staircase was my favourite part of the palace. Obviously, I pretended to be one of the court ladies going up the stairs.
2. Peterhof (Russia) - It's a great shame that the palace had been severely damaged during WWII, but the restoration work in the 90's resurrected the ornate rooms. It's quite 'small' for a palace but you'll need more than half an hour just to focus on the details in each room.
3. Linderhof (Bavaria, Germany) - As you already know, Ludwig II and I are best friends. I love all of Ludwig's castles but since I visited this one most recently, I think it's the most charming and I can see why he loved it here. It's hard to pick a favourite here, but the palace and the Venus Grotto stand out the most.
4. Nymphenburg (Bavaria, Germany) - The summer palace of Munich offers just as much as the Residenz. Aside from the palace, visitors can see many garden pavilions, royal carriages, a collection of Nymphenburg porcelain, and so much more.
5. Hampton Court (England) - As much as I love the Rococo period, I adore Medieval buildings as I find them fairly rare or at least I haven't seen very many. I prefer the Tudor side of Hampton Court - not that the Baroque side wasn't equally beautiful - and tried to imagine what it was like for Anne Boleyn, the then Princess Elizabeth, and Catherine Howard to have walked in each room or hall..
(*Please note that the list may change in the coming months as more castles and palaces are visited.)

The royal sights of Moscow and especially St. Petersburg are probably pretty high up on the list of places to see for every castle lover. I know you have visited both, which did you enjoy most and what makes them so special?
Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to discover the castles or palaces of Moscow. (The Kremlin complex doesn't count if I didn't get to go inside the palaces.) I loved St Petersburg the most, with its colourful and gilded buildings. I highly recommend the Hermitage / Winter Palace. Sadly, I barely saw the entire complex but what I saw was breathtaking. There is so much history and art, you'd really need to spend your entire life inside to appreciate every detail! In the meantime, do watch Russian Ark.

Great Hall of Hampton Court Palace
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
You are currently based in London – which are the royal and noble sights that you would recommend the most to a first time visitor?
I suppose the obvious choices would be Buckingham Palace and Clarence House during summer when the royals are holidaying. I have yet to visit both but I have tickets this summer so I'll let you know in a few months! As for the other historical palaces, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, and the Tower of London are a must, especially for royal history lovers. Best to get an annual membership card or a London pass and see as many palaces and aristocratic residences as you can for the duration of your trip!

And as the last question: Leaving out all time and money restrictions, which castles and palaces are on your bucket list and why?
I'll keep this list short (one for each country) or else you'll never get to the bottom of my list!
1. ​Versailles in France has been at the top of my list ever since I became fascinated with Marie Antoinette. I just have a feeling it's the palace of my dreams! I can't wait to see the Hall of Mirrors, Marie Antoinette's bedroom, and her charming hamlet. Here's hoping I will finally visit Versailles this year.
2. Catherine Palace in Russia because it's meant to rival Versailles and many period dramas are filmed inside, including BBC's War and Peace (2016). Oh and let us not forget that the animated Anastasia also features the Catherine Palace.
3. Palacio de la Magdalena in Spain because the exterior of this former seasonal royal residence was used for Spain's Downton Abbey, Gran Hotel, one of my favourite TV series!
4. Peleș Castle in Romania because it's something out of a fairytale. I've wanted to visit since I was 17 and obsessed with Romania at the time!
5. Hohenzollern Castle in Germany because it's another romantic fairytale castle atop a mountain that has been the ancestral seat of the house of Hohenzollern since the 11th or 13th Century.

Come back next Sunday when I talk to Moniek of History of Royal Women
about castles connected to royal women and bucket lists.

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