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Famous beds: Queen Victoria

Updated Friday, 9th October 1998
Where do you lay the head that wears the crown?

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Queen Victoria


Queen Victoria's bed 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 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.


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