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
Britain's Great War: Download your free 'The First World War Experienced' booklet Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license article icon

History & The Arts 

Britain's Great War: Download your free 'The First World War Experienced' booklet

From casualties to commemoration, explore the realities of war with this free booklet.

Article
Debate: Robin Hood Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images article icon

History & The Arts 

Debate: Robin Hood

An anonymous forum user proposed an alternate history of Robin Hood

Article
The Rise of Museums Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission article icon

History & The Arts 

The Rise of Museums

Dr John Senior examines the factors that led to the rise of museums.

Article
A brief history of... income taxes Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images audio icon

History & The Arts 

A brief history of... income taxes

Jane Frecknall-Hughes, Professor of Accounting at The Open University Business School, explores how the challenge of defeating Bonaparte swept aside taxes on bachelors and chimneys.

Audio
10 mins
High Street History Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Open2 team, screen shot from interactive activity icon

History & The Arts 

High Street History

Learn the secrets of the past, revealed by clues on the high streets of today.

Activity
Aftershocks - The Restoration Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Wark Clements article icon

History & The Arts 

Aftershocks - The Restoration

The imperfect development of political consciousness in the mid- seventeenth century is revealed in the Stuart Restoration

Article
World War 1: More free resources from The Open University Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

History & The Arts 

World War 1: More free resources from The Open University

Discover more about the First World War and its traumatic effects on those that survive it with The Open University.

Article