Queen Victoria’s love of Prince Albert is well documented as is her withdrawal from society after his death. Her enduring grief has been portrayed in many ways but it is perhaps a little easier to understand once you have seen the interior of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. The house was built as a retreat for herself and her family, somewhere they could be together away from the limelight, yet every opportunity has been taken to remind themselves, and others, that they are a couple. Their desks, where they frequently spent the day in correspondence, are placed side by side and their entwined initials decorate every available surface in an almost obsessional manner.
And it’s not just on the Isle of Wight that these reminders continue. Furniture was transferred to Walmer Castle for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s month long stay in 1842 and this armchair is one of the few possessions left in situ after her visit. At first glance, it’s merely an armchair covered in a pink floral chintz but if you look closer, hidden amongst the small bunches of flowers are the black lined profiles of both Queen Victoria and her beloved Prince Consort.
Can you spot them?
Why not take a closer look by visiting Walmer Castle? It’s bursting with history and the sea views and gardens alone make it well worth the trip. I’ve also heard the tea rooms are pretty special!
All Images were taken by Amanda Bryant 2013 and published with the kind permission of English Heritage.
Many thanks are owed to Isobel Uden and Sally Mewton-Hynds for giving Amanda and I a very special tour of the Castle – we greatly appreciate it.