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Osborne and Balmoral

Victoria and Albert wanted privacy and space for their young family, and this prompted them to build two residences at opposite ends of Britain – Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, and Balmoral Castle, in the Scottish Highlands. Prince Albert was heavily involved with the design of both.

Osborne House was in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo. The Queen described Osborne as ‘a little paradise’; it offered fresh sea air, often sunshine, and an ideal starting point from which to embark upon tours of the south coast in the royal yacht.

The weather in Scotland tended not to be so pleasant when Victoria and Albert were there, mostly in the autumn. Despite this they admired the wild and romantic Highland scenery, and spent much of their time outdoors, sketching, walking, picnicking and shooting. The royal couple invited artists to capture scenes from their lives at both residences.