The most haunted royal homes revealed including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle
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When Her Majesty the Queen is in residence at Windsor Castle, she’s always accompanied by her team of loyal staff – and an army of ghosts!
But rather than call in the Ghostbusters, the 94-year-old monarch is said to be fascinated by the tales of spooky seamstresses and playful poltergeists who haunt her historic homes.
In fact, she has even witnessed some of the ghostly goings-on herself, according to insiders.
Here are just a few of the frightening phantom residents who like to make their presence felt in spine-tingling fashion…
HAUNTED BY: A monk and a Major
Staff working at the Queen’s London residence have told terrible tales of things going bump – and bang – in the night.
A ghostly monk in a ragged cowl is said to roam the terraces of the Palace gardens, pleading to be released from the chains that bind him.
Legend has it that he lived in the monastery that once stood on the site and died chained to the wall of a cell after breaking his strict vows.
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Another Palace phantom is that of Major John Gwynne, the private secretary to King Edward VII, who was caught up in a scandal that ended his marriage.
Facing an impending court case, he shot himself in one of the Palace’s first floor offices. More than a century later, staff still avoid the room and its strange aura.
Some have even reported hearing a single gunshot in the dead of night, thought to be the echo of the Major’s tragic demise.
HAUNTED BY: A spooky seamstress and a Wild Boy
Apartment 1A Kensington Palace, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge live, is said to be frequented by the ghost of Queen Victoria’s aunt, Princess Sophia.
She was a talented seamstress in her lifetime and staff have seen the apparition of an elderly woman sitting at a spinning wheel.
In the nursery where Kate and William’s three children play, the spirt of a character called Peter the Wild Boy is said to often appear.
He lived during the days of King George I and had a rare disease called Pitt Hopkins, characterised by severe facial abnormalities.
George II is also around in ghostly form, some 250 years after his death. His spirit cries for the lost soldiers of the Seven Years’ War, moaning, “Why won’t they come?”, in an echo of his final words.
HAUNTED BY: A mad king and a weeping queen
The 1,000-year-old property is said to be the most haunted of all the royal residences, with as many as 25 spooky spirits.
Apparently the Queen claims to have seen the ghost of Elizabeth I, who is often spotted in the library.
“Her footsteps can be heard on the bare floorboards before her striking presence appears,” says one witness.
Anne Boleyn’s weeping apparition has been viewed by members of the royal family, gliding silently from the room.
And George III has been spied “looking longingly out of the room beneath the library, where he was confined during his several periods of madness”, according to insiders.
In the grounds of Windsor Great Park you may come across the terrifying ghost of Herne, a huntsman for Richard II. It’s said that anyone who looks upon the grim figure will be struck by misfortune.
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HAUNTED BY: Poltergeists, a mystery boy and a masked lady
The sprawling Norfolk estate is traditionally the location of the royals’ annual Christmas get-together. But Sandringham House plays host to a number of ghostly guests, too.
Poltergeist activity is said to commence every Christmas Eve and continues for several weeks, with footsteps heard in deserted corridors, doors opening by themselves, lights switching on and off and the sound of heavy breathing in a second floor room.
One unnamed royal told author Joan Forman how a female guest woke at 2am to find her room brightly lit. A young boy carrying a long pole was walking around the room, pausing every few seconds as if to extinguish nonexistent candles. He then vanished.
Sandringham’s library is another hot (or rather, cold) spot, with books seen to fly off the shelves.
Prince Charles and an aide are said to have been in there when they suddenly felt extremely chilly. Sensing that someone was standing behind them, they turned around – to find no one there.
Prince Christopher of Greece meanwhile saw a reflection of a “sad” young lady wearing a black mask in his bedroom mirror. He later recognised her in an old portrait hanging in nearby Houghton Hall.
But the strangest sighting was made by a footman in his bedroom. He claimed to have seen what looked like, “a large paper sack breathing in and out like a grotesque lung”.
HAUNTED BY: A spooky Scotsman
Her Majesty’s favourite getaway is also popular with the ghost of John Brown, Queen Victoria’s trusted confidant, who was famously portrayed by Sir Billy Connolly in the 1997 movie Mrs Brown .
John befriended Victoria in the years after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. It’s claimed the pair were in love and Victoria later commissioned a statue of John that stands in the grounds of the Scottish Highlands estate.
Visitors to the castle have reported seeing the ghostly form of a man in a kilt moving through corridors looking for his queen.
Hampton Court Palace
HAUNTED BY: Tragic royal wives and a Grey Lady
Once home to King Henry VIII, Hampton Court is said to be visited by the ghosts of at least two of his wives.
Jane Seymour appears on the Silverstick Stairs as a sad white wraith carrying a lighted taper, while Catherine Howard’s rather vocal ghost has been heard screaming as she runs along the aptly named Haunted Gallery.
The famous Grey Lady is thought to be Sybil Penn, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. Her tomb was disturbed during a rebuilding project at St Mary’s in Hampton village.
“Soon afterwards, the 19th-century inhabitants of the palace began to report that they’d heard Sybil and her ghostly spindle,” says Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces.
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