LONDON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Staff at Windsor Castle, the weekend home of Queen Elizabeth, were Thursday completing the task of a major "high clean" to prepare for its opening to the public this Saturday.
It has meant the closure of the castle's State Apartments to enable essential conservation work to be carried out to protect the Castle's interior and works of art from the Royal Collection.
Over a two-week period the State Apartments have been cleaned from floor to ceiling, in advance of the re-opening to the public.
The State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto. Many of the works of art are still in the historic settings for which they were first collected or commissioned by the Kings and Queens who have lived at Windsor.
Thousands of tourists from around the world will visit the castle this year for a close-up view of how royalty lives.
The original Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century following the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. It was positioned on the outskirts of London to protect Norman rulers. As well as being the longest occupied castle in Europe, it employs a staff of around 500 people, making it the largest inhabited castle in the world.
Windsor Castle has been the home of 39 monarchs, and the appearance of the State Apartments today reflects the changing tastes of the Castle's royal occupants, particularly Charles II and George IV. During the English Civil War in the 1600s, the castle became the headquarters of parliamentary forces.
One of the highlights of life at the castle is the changing of the guard ceremony at the castle, a duty carried out by the military since the 1660s.
The colorful ceremony lasts for 30 minutes. Thanks to an army of careful cleaners the castle will, to use an English expression, look spick and span when the doors of the five hectare site re-open on Saturday.