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Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 02:27 AM

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Built in the style of an Italian villa, Osborne House was the much-loved home of Queen Victoria and her family, a residence which afforded them some privacy and seclusion from public life. When the estate, and seaside home, were purchased in 1845, the original house was not substantial enough to accommodate a large family, and Prince Albert designed a replacement. By 1851 the new Osborne House, based on the Prince's ideas and assisted by Thomas Cubitt, was a gargantuan affair.

Prince Albert favoured the Italian Renaissance style and this is apparent in the Grand Corridor, linking the Pavilion, Main Wing and Household Wing. The walls and ceiling are highly decorated (the first floor corridors have an arabesque decoration), and the Grand Corridor served as a fine classical sculpture gallery - very popular in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Not only did Queen Victoria and Prince Albert take pleasure in their statues, but the Grand Corridor also doubled up as a useful 'promenade' in bad weather.

Apart from the splendid ceilings, the rooms also contain some impressive features, and much use was made of imitation marble, even for the legs of the billiard table designed by Prince Albert. Although primarily a family home to be enjoyed with the children, Osborne House was still a Royal residence, where affairs of State had to be dealt with. In the Council Room, the Queen's Privy Council of Ministers met, and the badge of the Garter can be seen at the centre of the ceiling.

Prince Albert influenced the highly successful Great Exhibition of 1851, and many exhibits relating to this event can be seen at Osborne. Displayed throughout the house are numerous gifts to the Queen from around the world. The Royal Nursery remains as it would have been, and the private suite of Victoria and Albert gave the couple wonderful views of the estate and the Solent beyond, which reminded the Prince of the Bay of Naples. One of the extraordinary features of Osborne House is the Durbar Room and Corridor. In 1876, Queen Victoria became the Empress of India and Maharajah Duleep Singh and his family became important allies to the Queen. She also had an Indian servant, who later became her personal Indian secretary, and he taught the Queen Hindustani. Thus, when it was decided to create a state banqueting hall, Rudyard Kipling's father, Lockwood, designed the room with a distinctly Indian influence. Completed in 1893, the room resembles a medieval hall with a minstrels gallery, and a remarkable, deeply coffered ceiling. Every aspect of the hall is elaborately embellished, and the 'Peacock' alone took over 500 hours to create.

After exploring the house and contents, there is the added pleasure of a ride in a horse-drawn carriage to visit the Swiss Cottage - a wooden chalet in the grounds where the Royal children learned to cook. There is a museum full of diverse collections, the Victoria Fort and Albert Barracks, and beautiful gardens, all purposely designed with both education and fun in mind for the Royal children. It is not difficult to understand why Queen Victoria was reluctant to leave this personal 'island paradise' and return to London. :heart:

Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 02:30 AM

Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 02:32 AM

Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 02:34 AM

Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 02:36 AM

TOMMIX 10-25-2003 10:13 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Osborne House-

thissal 10-25-2003 10:56 AM

Thank you for all the wonderful pictures of Osbourne House. I wonder why Charles and Camilla didn't want to move here instead of Clarence House which seems a little confining?

TOMMIX 10-25-2003 12:29 PM


Originally posted by thissal@Oct 25th, 2003 - 10:56 am
Thank you for all the wonderful pictures of Osbourne House.  I wonder why Charles and Camilla didn't want to move here instead of Clarence House which seems a little confining?
Osbourne House has not been owned by the Royal Family for quite some time. After Queen Victoria died in 1901, her son Edward VII gave Osbourne House to the Royal Navy to be used as a home for retired naval men.

hrhcp 10-25-2003 01:02 PM


thissal  Posted: Oct 25th, 2003 - 10:56 am

... I wonder why Charles and Camilla didn't want to move here instead of Clarence House which seems a little confining?

What are you trying to say here, thissal ?

Clarence House is downtown London. Everybody who is anybody needs a townhouse in downtown London.

Now .. in terms of a retreat .... its a toss up of where is better :

a.) Osbourne House, south of London on an island at the sea. I think this place was used as a headquarters by the Queen during Cowes (the annual yachting festival) ?

b.) Highgrove - in the middle of England to the west of London ?

c.) Balmoral - in Scotland, in the middle of the countryside somewhere west or northwest of Edinborough ?

Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 07:24 PM

Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 07:40 PM

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Royal Apartments
East Cowes
PO32 6JY
Isle of Wight

Elise,LadyofLancaster 10-25-2003 07:43 PM :heart:

TOMMIX 10-26-2003 06:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
A painting of Osbourne House-
[Artist unkown to me]

Mapple 10-07-2005 01:16 PM


Originally Posted by Josefine
is this house in use today?

It is a museum now, I think.

BTW, Hitler admired Osborne House and allegedly wanted to make it one of his post-war retreats.

Iluvbertie 10-08-2005 10:01 AM

When Queen Victoria died here in 1901 Edward VII inherited the place but he hated it - he had spent a lot of his childhood here and I am sure that you all agree that his childhood, particularly his education, wasn't the highlight of his life.

He asked his surviving sisters if they could afford the upkeep as he couldn't and he already had Sandringham as his own country retreat and had inherited Balmoral, which he enjoyed as a base in Scotland. When they said that they couldn't afford to keep it he offered it to the nation as a new training facility for the naval cadet college, where his grandsons, Edward and Bertie (Edward VIII and Geoge VI) went to school before serving in the Royal Navy.

At some stage the navy moved to Dartmouth and Osborne became a museum to the memory of Queen Victoria. If she entered the house today she would recognise it as it is decorated as she had it. The biggest change is the bedroom in which she died where above the bed there is a huge plaque recording her death and was put there by her surviving children.

If you get to the Isle of Wight you absolutely MUST go and see it. It is lovely.

As far as I am aware no-one lives there at any time today.

Feberin 10-10-2005 07:30 PM

I wish I could go visit it! It looks beautiful and I love touring old retreats for the wealthy and seeing one that is for royalty would be amazing. I've been on tours to a lot of the houses in Newport, RI.

HRH Kimetha 10-15-2006 01:31 AM


Originally Posted by TOMMIX
Osbourne House has not been owned by the Royal Family for quite some time. After Queen Victoria died in 1901, her son Edward VII gave Osbourne House to the Royal Navy to be used as a home for retired naval men.

Besides, isn't Osborne House pretty far from London?

Elspeth 10-15-2006 01:58 AM

Yes, it's on the Isle of Wight, which is just offshore from the south coast of England. You can see the island highlighted on the little diagram of Britain at the top of this page:

Pixilated 11-04-2008 08:42 PM

It's a very fussy place, architecturally and in terms of interior decoration.A mish- mash of Italianate, Rococo, and Victorian.The grounds are very pleasant though.

Fitzgerald 07-20-2009 06:02 AM

Osborne House

I found this forum a few days ago. Had a bit of trouble activating my account but now I'm here, thank you to the admin for sorting that out for me.

I'm a tour guide at Osborne House, so naturally that is my primary interest. I was there on Friday 17th when Charles and Camilla visited, I did meet Charles briefly, very very briefly.

I read some posts regarding Osborne House, some of the info is spot on, some isn't but even that is close. If you have any questions regarding Osborne House I hope that I will be able to answer them for you. I will also see if I can post some pictures but I'm not sure how to do that yet,

Best Wishes,


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