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About Osborne House
It is often said, in spite of the fact Queen Victoria spent much of her time at Balmoral in the Scottish highlands, that Osborne House in its lovely setting overlooking the waters of the Solent, was her favourite home.
Victoria married her cousin Prince Albert in 1840, and four years after, with a growing family they felt the need for a retreat which would afford them a degree of privacy away from the heavy burdens of state. They discovered Osborne House, and although it was not ideal, they fell in love with the landscape and the views. They rented the property for about a year before purchasing it in 1845, when the Prince set about a massive program of rebuilding.
The grand house we see today was master-minded by Prince Albert and his builder Thomas Cubit. It is an extravaganza of Italianate design, providing comfortable luxurious accommodation set amidst magnificent grounds with terraces, fountains and statutory leading down to an idyllic private beach where the Royal couple spent happy hours with their children and entertaining Royalty from around the world. To give the seclusion they craved, hundreds of trees were planted in the grounds. Also, in the surrounding parkland a playhouse in the form of a Swiss Chalet was built for the Royal children.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were so attached to Osborne, when the Prince died in 1861, the Queen gave orders that nothing should change there, thus Osborne became a shrine to the memory of Prince Albert.
The Prince's desk remains just as it was when he died and even though the Queen spent much of her time here after Albert's death, very little altered. Queen Victoria died here in 1901. Osborne remains almost exactly as it was then with family photographs and paintings still in situ, together with a scattering of the Royal couples personal possessions, preserving for us a valuable insight into a relaxed Royal family life away from the formality of the Royal court.
This very special Royal home can be found a short distance from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, it is open to the public and is well worth seeing.
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