Osborne House

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Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat.

Prince Albert designed the house himself in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo. The builder was Thomas Cubitt, the London architect and builder whose company built the main façade of Buckingham Palace for the royal couple in 1847. An earlier smaller house on the site was demolished to make way for a new and far larger house.

Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in January of 1901. Following her death, the house became surplus to royal requirements and was given to the state with a few rooms retained as a private royal museum dedicated to Queen Victoria. From 1903 until 1921 it was used as a junior officer training college for the Royal Navy known as the Royal Naval College, Osborne. Today it is fully open to the public.

Contents

History

Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert bought Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in October 1845. They were searching for a home away from the stresses of court life. Queen Victoria had spent two holidays on the Isle of Wight as a young girl. The setting of the existing three storey Georgian house appealed to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; in particular, the views of the Solent reminded Albert of the Bay of Naples in Italy. It soon became obvious that it was too small for their needs. Pulling down the house and building a new residence was deemed to be the appropriate course of action.[1]

The new Osborne House was built in the style of the Italian Renaissance complete with two belvedere towers between 1845 and 1851. Prince Albert designed the house himself in conjunction with builder Thomas Cubitt[1] the London architect and builder whose company also built the main façade of Buckingham Palace. The sale of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton paid for much of the new house's furnishings.[2]

The house consisted of the original square wing known as 'The Pavilion', which contained the principal and royal apartments. The apartments contain reminders of Victoria's dynastic links with the other European royal families. The Billiard Room houses a massive porcelain vase, which was a gift of the Russian Tsar. The grandeur of the Billiard Room, Queen's Dining Room and the Drawing Room on the ground floor forms a marked contrast with the much more homely and unassuming decor of the royal apartments on the first floor. These rooms contain the Prince's Dressing Room, the Queen's Sitting Room, The Queen's Bedroom and the children's nurseries, were intended for private, domestic use, and were therefore as comfortable as possible. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined to bring up their children in as natural and loving environment as their situation allowed so that as a consequence the royal children visited their parents' bedrooms when other children of a similar status lived in a far more detached manner.[3]

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