Skip to content

Famous beds: Queen Victoria

Updated Friday 9th October 1998

Where do you lay the head that wears the crown?

Queen Victoria Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Phrood via Wikimedia

 

Queen Victoria's bed Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team At the end of her life, the Queen was nursed in this bedroom by her personal physician, Dr James Reid.

During her final days he found it very impractical to administer to her in a large double bed. He arranged for a temporary single bed to be brought in and she was very carefully transferred over to the smaller bed.

She died at 6.30pm on 22nd January 1901 surrounded by her children. Edward the VII commissioned Hubert von Herkomer, a successful portrait painter of the day, to paint the death bed portrait. A plaque was put up above her bed and the room became a family shrine for the following fifty years.

On the headboard of the bed is Prince Albert’s pocket watch and alongside it is a tinted photograph of the Prince after his death. Queen Victoria always had these two objects hanging on the headboard in each of her royal residences.

Beside the bed is the Queen’s favourite painting of her husband as a young medieval knight.

The bed cover was a jubilee present from China commemorating her 60th accession to the throne in 1897. It has the Queen’s cipher in the centre "V & R" surmounted by the imperial crown with shamrocks, thistles and roses scattered over the entire bedspread.

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Osborne House Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team Queen Victoria and Prince Albert needed a private family country residence away from the affairs of State. The Queen had visited the Isle of Wight as a child and her enquiries led her to Osborne. She purchased the 342 acre estate in 1845.

The present house was built under the personal direction of Prince Albert and the architecture was much influenced by the Prince’s love of Italy.

It has commanding views overlooking the Solent.

Take it further

Farewell in Splendour: The Passing of Queen Victoria and Her Age
Jerrold M. Packard

Ask Sir James
Michaela Reid, London 1987

English Heritage looks after Osbourne House - which is open to the public.

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

OU on the BBC: Timewatch - Young Victoria Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Timewatch - Young Victoria

Is the popular image of an austere Queen Victoria fair?

Article
Famous beds: Great Bed of Ware Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

History & The Arts 

Famous beds: Great Bed of Ware

One of the most famous sleeping places in British History.

Article
History battles – How we remember the past Creative commons image Icon By Lin Kristensen from New Jersey, USA (Timeless Books) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons under Creative-Commons license article icon

History & The Arts 

History battles – How we remember the past

How we teach history could be changing. Back to the bad old days, or could the 'voices from below' make themselves heard?

Article
Conspiring Against The Queen Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

History & The Arts 

Conspiring Against The Queen

In 1594 Roderigo Lopez was hung, drawn and quartered for trying to poison Queen Elizabeth I. Many historians have argued that he was framed - but David Katz believes he can prove his guilt.

Article
Breaking the Seal: Military records: Witnesses to history Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

History & The Arts 

Breaking the Seal: Military records: Witnesses to history

Military records have historical value - and not just to those interested in wars and armies...

Article
Historical perspectives: British and German views of history Creative commons image Icon Nevado via Flickr under Creative-Commons license video icon

History & The Arts 

Historical perspectives: British and German views of history

Two historians reflect on British and German views of history in the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War.

Video
Richborough Roman Fort, Kent Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

History & The Arts 

Richborough Roman Fort, Kent

Richborough Castle - PORTVS RVTVPIAE - is known as the gateway to Roman Britain.

Article
Shostakovich: Why is he famous? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Kamoda under CC-BY-NC-SA licence video icon

History & The Arts 

Shostakovich: Why is he famous?

As World War II swept through Europe, a young Russian composer set out to win the fight with his piano. But is it possible that a piece of music was so powerful it actually ended the Siege of Leningrad?

Video
5 mins
What is Britain's most sacred site? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team video icon

History & The Arts 

What is Britain's most sacred site?

Britian is scattered with sacred sites - why do we feel the resonance of ancient religion?

Video
5 mins