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Queen Victoria’s seaside residence on the Solent-washed coast of the Isle of Wight, looks its best from the sea, for the broad lawns slope down to its margin, and on each side rise wooded ridges gently ascending towards the crest of the hill. The most is made of them by the winding paths and drives cut among the trees, affording glimpses of exquisite beauty as they slope from point to point. On the beach there is a pretty boathouse and landing-place, and moored at a short distance from the shore an ingeniously-contrived floating bath, with dressing rooms and every convenience that can be devised to make sea-bathing a luxury. Technically speaking, Osborne House consists of a “rusticated casement with two storeys above,” but to use the language of ordinary mortals, it is a mansion raised high on a succession of balustraded terraces, with a sunny front looking seawards, another commanding a wide stretch of the interior of the island, and a couple of Italian looking towers of unequal height. Indeed, there are many summer days when the Solent is as blue as the tideless Mediterranean and summer nights when the moonlight falls pale on the Osborne terraces and on the great ilex trees and sweet bays and myrtles, and it requires little or no stretch of the imagination for the visitor to fancy himself in Italy, and looking up at a palace of marble. The cool plash of the fountains and flowing plants add to the illusion, and the air is so still that the thud of oars is clearly heard from a distance boat making its way to Cowes, and the creaking cordage on one of the yachts that never seem absent from that stream of sea is mingled with the hoarse voices of the crew.1

Picture of Queen Victoria at Osborne
Queen Victoria at Osborne

Memories Of Osborne

Miss Dorothy Blake was born in Barton Manor on the Osborne estate on the Isle of Wight in November 1886. Her father had recently been appointed agent to the estate and, in this capacity, was responsible for arranging Queen Victoria’s daily tours of the grounds when she was in residence. These recordings were made in 1965 when Miss Blake was nearly 80 and tell of the ageing Queen’s life at Osborne. Regular Royal visitors at this time were the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and their children, Prince Henry of Battenburg and his wife Princess Beatrice (who was Queen Victoria's youngest daughter) with their children Prince Alexander who was born within a fortnight of Miss Blake, Princess Ena (Victoria Eugenie 1887 - 1969), Prince Leopold and baby Prince Morris. The interview is full of domestic detail and an insight into the life of the Victorian royal family from a perspective not recorded in the history books.2

Sources: 1. Papers Past/Otago Witness, Issue 1769, 17 October 1885. p 26

Link: 2. External link image

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:41

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Wootton Bridge Walks

Wootton Walk leaflet

If you are visiting the Isle of Wight you may be interested in our Wootton Walks leaflets which include a large scale route map.

These leaflets enable you, in a series of five walks, to explore some of our village’s history and beautiful surroundings. Enjoy your walk.

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