If you’re going to take a tour of Osborne House, and I suggest that you do, it’s only fitting that it be given by Dame Judi Dench. That appears to be the Duchess of Cornwall’s attitude, at least, as she is on the Isle of Wight today, eating ice cream on the beach and posing in her sunnies. What a life.
For the unfamiliar, Queen Victoria purchased Osborne House in the 1840s with her husband, Prince Albert, as a refuge from the less comfortable Buckingham Palace. It served as a seasonal retreat where the family could relax and be outdoors without forgoing privacy. Their nine children all grew up at the house, and it was a part of the regular rotation of visits for the Queen’s 41 grandchildren later in life. She died there in January 1901, though unlike Balmoral, it was given to the state and parts of it were open to the public as early as 1904.
Judi Dench’s presence is all the more notable today given that she has played Queen Victoria twice on the big screen. Most recently, she appeared in last year’s Victoria & Abdul, which Clarence House noted on its Twitter feed. Not mentioned was the actress’s first turn as the monarch back in 1997 for a film known as Mrs. Brown, a much more controversial depiction of Queen Victoria that highlighted her relationship with her Highland servant, John Brown, and the gossip surrounding their friendship. One could hazard a guess the Royal Family is less fond of that movie.
Dench and Camilla have reportedly met on several occasions, and they seemed friendly and at ease with one another today. In addition to viewing the house, including the Swiss Cottage on its grounds once used by Queen Victoria’s children, they ate ice cream on her once-private beach, took a short carriage ride through the grounds and met with local schoolchildren.
Camilla has been to Osborne before, most recently in 2009 when she was shown ongoing renovations to the Swiss Cottage.
Sadly there weren’t any photos taken from within the house, but if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend. Countless famous portraits and photographs of the Queen’s extended family are housed there, while the nursery is open to the public and fascinating to see. There are also rooms depicting Indian artifacts from the Queen’s time as Empress of India that reflect historical Indian architecture – it flows not at all with the rest of the house, but it is interesting to see!
Update: I spoke too soon! Clarence House shared the below video from inside the house. If any more images become available I’ll update:
Anywho, tomorrow we’ll return to history and later in the week I’ll do a roundup of a few other developments. Happy Tuesday!