English Heritage has returned to the beach the original wooden bathing machine which ran down a ramp into the sea and from which Victoria – her modesty preserved – would emerge in her swimming suit. English Heritage has also restored the small covered seat – The Queen’s Alcove – where she sat and sketched the coastal views.
"Queen Victoria is fixed in many people’s minds as ‘the Grandmother of Europe’, a Queen who spent most of her reign in mourning for her husband," said Simon Thurley, English Heritage’s Chief Executive. "Opening her beach at Osborne lets us show another side to her – this was a Queen who collected sea shells with her children, who sketched the changing sea, and who swam sometimes twice a day. Osborne was her seaside retreat from the formalities of Buckingham Palace, now people can visit that seaside."
"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot," Queen Victoria wrote after a visit to Osborne and Prince Albert likened the bay to that of Naples in Italy. The beach was a deciding factor behind their decision in 1845, to buy the seaside property as their private home. Osborne Bay was often used as a landing for both the royal family and visiting dignitaries while the royal children collected shells from the shore and learned to swim in the special floating bath (since destroyed) designed by their father, Prince Albert.
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