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Berkshire is a county of south east England, located to the west of London. It has also been known as the Royal County of Berkshire since at least the 19th century because of the presence of Windsor Castle and was recognised as such by the Queen in 1957 and letters patent issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin and is both a ceremonial county and anon-metropolitan county without a county council. Berkshire County Council was the main county governance from 1889 to 1998, except for the separately administered County Borough of Reading.