Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Alnwick Castle

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Alnwick Castle, the Hogwarts in Harry Potter film series 

If you are wondering why Alnwick Castle's exterior design looks very familiar it's because it is used as a backdrop to Hogwarts, the wizard's fictional school in Harry Potter film series. Since its first movie outing in 2001, the castle drew public interest that hundreds of visitors streamed to the site annually. It also provides a romantic and wonderful venue for a wedding ceremony.

Alnwick Castle stood imposingly along the River Aln in the village of Alnwick, Northumberland, England. It was originally built by the Baron of Alnwick, Yves De Vescy, in the 11th century to protect England's northern border from Scottish invaders, it became the stronghold of English defenders through many conflicts. When War of the Roses broke out, the castle was under the hands of the Lancastrian until it was captured by Warwick's (Richard Neville) forces. In 1309, the powerful and wealthy nobleman, Henry Percy, the First Baron Percy, bought the castle from the Bishop of Durham who took care the site after De Vescy family became extinct.

It was the Percy family who made an extensive renovation of the castle retaining most of its original fortification up to these days. Henry Percy was made Earl of Northumberland during the reign of King Richard II. His successor was later created Duke of Northumberland who carried many alterations and improvements of the castle.
Beautiful environment of Alnwick Castle

Since 1950s some areas of the castle had been used for several educational establishment as annex campuses. Three of the castle's perimeter towers are used as exhibition galleries of the Percy family's art collections, relic from ancient Egypt and Romano-British objects. Because of its spectacular architectural and historical designs, Alnwick Castle is listed as Grade I building, meaning a listed building in Great Britain which should not be demolished, altered or extended without special permission from the local planning authority.
23-year-old Lady Melissa Jane Percy with her mother, The Duchess of Northumberland. Melissa could have been Prince William's perfect match who can add glamour and style to the dilapidated House of Windsor

This stunning medieval castle in Northern England is the official home of the current 12th Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy, ranked by UK Sunday Times as 163rd richest man in Britain. His youngest daughter, Lady Melissa Percy, is one of my favorites to be the future bride of Prince William of Wales, of course by now we already know that the future British King had chosen a commoner instead. Ralph's mother, Lady Elizabeth Montagu-Douglas-Scott, was a descendant of King Charles II just like the late Princess of Wales, Diana.
Alnwick Garden

Due to the castle's popularity (because of Harry Potter films) Percy's wife, Jane, the Duchess of Northumberland, initiated the establishment of Alnwick Garden to the area where the Duke donated some 42 acres of land to a Charitable Trust. This sprawling garden is situated near the cascading fountain. Today, Alnwick Garden is one of the most frequently visited gardens in the United Kingdom.

Aside from the Harry Potter films, Alnwick Castle was also used as a backdrop of other movies: Robin Hood (2010), The Time Keeper (1991), Mary Queen of Scots (1971), Elizabeth (1998) among others.

Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England next only to Windsor Castle in Berkshire. 


Other additional readings from The Castle of England and Wales book by Croom Helm