One of the most charming areas of Osborne House is the nursery, occupied by the nine Royal children when staying on the Isle of Wight. The rooms have been preserved and offer a glimpse into the privileged world of Victoria and Albert’s children.
The Royal children may have had the benefit of wealth of privilege, but they were fortunate in also having hands-on parenting, especially from Prince Albert, who involved himself in their playtime and education, striving to teach them industry and practical matters by example. The Swiss Cottage, which Prince Albert had built on the grounds of Osborne House, was designed to teach both, so Victoria and I headed through the grounds to find it.
The Prince used the Swiss Cottage to employ an extensive educational regime for the children, with each one being given their own garden and the responsibility of planting and tending it. In addition, there were lessons in natural history, languages and other intellectual pursuits.
In the ground floor museum, Prince Albert and the children assembled collections to study and sketch.
Upstairs, you’ll find a complete cottage, all scaled down to allow the children to learn domestic sciences.
The tea table is set for July 21, 1861, the final time the whole family was together before Prince Albert’s death.
Sports were also on the Prince’s educational agenda, with the beach at Osborne House factoring in to the children’s daily routines. It was Albert who personally gave each of the children their first swimming lessons. Naturally, it was our next destination.
The path leads from the Swiss Cottage to the picnic grounds and beach.
Today, visitors are invited to relax by the water and to enjoy refreshments in comfortable chairs.
Speaking of refreshments, they are Queen sized at Osborne – that’s Kristine’s hot chocolate above, complete with a marshmallow so big, it needed it’s own cup.
Queen Victoria’s bathing machine sits beside the tea house.
Remember, you can see Osborne House and Gardens first hand. Please take a look at Number One London’s 2019 Queen Victoria Tour – also on the itinerary are Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.