Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Albert and Victoria's Family Home.

Today I'm doubly delighted: firstly to welcome historical fiction author, Debra Brown, to the blog, and secondly because Debra writes about Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, a place very close to my heart.
Welcome Debra!

 Osborne House - the main building can be glimpsed through trees for miles around.
 Albert and Victoria's Family Home
(Note that I did not say Victoria and Albert!)

The very first years of their marriage was a real trial for Albert. He had grown up in The Rosenau, the country residence of the Dukes of Coburg, enjoying the rural delights of life. After marrying the Queen, he was stuck in HER homes, Buckingham Palace, with so much soot in the air that they could barely breath (nor could anyone else in the Town)and Windsor Castle, which at the time had not the parks and grounds that it does today. Indeed, they were hemmed in tightly in comparison. Albert was relegated to the position of a disapproved foreigner and an observer at first, but over some months began to insist that things be run more efficiently and economically at Buckingham. He truly did make some excellent changes, but it was still the English people's Queen's home.

Victoria had grown up as a city girl, mostly within her palatial homes, but hated Buckingham, which had been built by the spendthrift George IV and so it was hated and resented by the taxpayers of her time. Victoria was the first monarch to live in it. Windsor reminded her much of her very painful childhood. There was much animosity amongst the family members, and she was in the middle of it all. Besides that, Victoria adored her Albert and wanted him to be happy. So when he wanted to find them a home that they actually owned and could adjust to their own tastes, she supported him eagerly.

Shanklin beach - just one of the many natural attractions on the Isle of Wight.
 Osborne House became available on the Isle of Wight. The couple decided to rent the house for a year and spend some time there to see if they would be able to make it what they wanted. Within six days, they were sold on it and began the process of buying it with their own money. Albert took the lead in designing a new section, remodeling and landscaping. He changed rough and natural landscape with leveling, terracing and regal balustrades, urns and fountains. The home was wonderfully adapted for their growing family. The couple spent much time with their children in comparison to the aristocratic practices of the day. Albert carefully oversaw the goings on of the nursery and those who were employed to work in it. Osborne House was Albert's provision for his family, where he could fulfill the role of husband and father in his way. Although Albert died in his early forties, Victoria thoroughly enjoyed all that he created for the rest of her life.

Debra Brown, Author of The Companion of Lady Holmeshire
To be published in 2011 by World Castle Publications

Book Website:


Grace: Thank you so much for visiting Debra.
(I'm lucky enough to have an advance copy of 'The Companion of Lady Holmeshire' and its next on my list...I can't wait to get reading!)

Have you visited the Isle of Wight? Do you have a special hideaway you love to visit?
We'd love to know - please share with us and leave a comment.
G x


  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to post on your blog, Grace. The quietness of the beach reminds me that one of the things that Albert and Victoria loved about the place was the solitude. Over time they bought up several other homes to make it even more private. Readers may be interested in reading Victoria and Albert: A Family Life at Osborne House by The Duchess of York- the source material for much of my post.

    Islands are wonderful. Kauai is my dream home (no building needed) but I would love to be able to make it to The Isle of Wight. Maybe I will see you there someday!

  2. Although I grew up reading many books set in the Victorian era most of them were adventure novels set in exotic locales (i.e. H. Rider Haggard type books), so Queen Victoria was mostly just the name of a monarch to me. However, Debra's posts about Victoria and her age have made me want to delve deeply into this era and the lives of the women of the time.
    Thanks for sharing,


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