Queen Victoria’s Swiss Cottage
The Isle of Wight — have you heard of it? It’s England’s largest island, located south of the mainland in the English Channel.
Here you go — I’ll make it easier. The Isle of Wight is shown in red.
Anyway, on this island, you’ll find Osborne House — summer home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
And on the grounds of Osborne House, you’ll find the Swiss Cottage, built for Victoria and Albert’s nine children to play in (because, of course, Osborne House might be a bit small for all those children. Just kidding — what child wouldn’t love a Swiss cottage on the grounds to play in?)
If the cottage truly looks Swiss, that’s because it is. It was dismantled in Switzerland and brought to the Isle of Wight, where it was reassembled for the children in 1854. Albert had been raised in Germany with a Swiss Chalet, and he wanted one for his children as well. He and Victoria also wanted to use the cottage to teach the children “real world” skills that would keep them grounded despite their royal status. The kids learned to cook inside the cottage, which had a fully-functioning kitchen. They were also encouraged to garden the land around the cottage. Each child was assigned a plot in which to grow flowers and vegetables, which they sold to their father, Prince Albert. He used this to teach the children about economics.
Recently, the Swiss Cottage has been renovated. It reopened to the public April 1. The Queen’s youngest son, Edward, and his wife Sophie attended the reopening ceremony.
Here see Queen Victoria (center) and other royals at a tea party on the grounds at Osborne House. After Albert died, Victoria always wore black.