Property

Peek Inside Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's Seaside Escape

This week on Victoria, the royals head to the Isle of Wight. Here's what their home there was really like.
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Tonight's episode of Victoria on Masterpiece PBS takes us to Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's seaside home on the Isle of Wight. But it was more than just a royal residence. It was a home that had significant meaning for the couple.

"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot," Victoria once wrote of her holiday escape, though when she and Albert first bought the property in 1845, changes were necessary to suit the needs of the growing royal family. And so, Albert designed an entirely new house for the land with architect Thomas Cubitt. (See a full plan of the home here.)

In 1848, when tonight's episode takes place, the original house on the estate was demolished. That didn't stop the monarch from visiting, as the first phase of building on the new structure had already been completed. In fact, Victoria wrote of a trip that year in her journal, recalling a sunset seen from Egypt Point, the northernmost point of the island.

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The view from Egypt point towards the Needles & Hurst Castle, with a glorious setting sun, in a cloudless sky, reflected in a perfectly smooth sea, was quite beautiful. When we came home, we 2 walked, feeling truly grieved that we must leave this dear sweet Island, now it is so fine.


Queen Victoria's bedroom at Osborne House

Even after Albert's death in 1861, Victoria still used the house, though it was a reminder of her late husband. Over the course of her latter years, many additions were made to the property, including a museum, a private chapel, a dormitory for male servants, and an additional wing, which housed a large reception room and a private suite for the Queen's daughter Princess Beatrice and her family.

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In 1901, Victoria died at Osborne, and as her son, King Edward VII (or "Bertie" on the show), had no use for the estate, he gave the property to the nation. It was later used by the military as a royal naval college, but today it is open to the public.


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The Drawing Room at Osborne House

“It really feels like their family home. You get a real sense of them there,” actress Jenna Coleman, who plays Queen Victoria on the series, tells Town & Country. She said that while the show only filmed a few exterior shots on site, the cast went to visit to get a feel for the place.

"What’s amazing there is Victoria’s bed—she died there at Osbourne House. You can see the bed that she passed away in, and next to it is a picture of Albert, but like on the head board. And his pocket watch, and apparently, every night she put his pocket watch next to her on the bed for her whole life, so he was kind of next to her.”


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Judi Dench and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, enjoy soft serve during a visit to Osborne House in July 2018.

If you'd like to visit Osborne House, the ground floor of the house and the grounds are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (though it is sometimes shut down for cleaning) and admission costs £18.50 for adults and £11.10 for children. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, visit english-heritage.com.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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