A recent article on Country Life caught my eye as it features the former home of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice. Osborne Cottage was built on the grounds of the Osborne Estate in 1856 and was carefully designed by Prince Albert. After Prince Albert’s death in 1861, a grief-stricken Queen Victoria clung to her youngest daughter for comfort and refused to discuss the possibility of Beatrice ever marrying.
When Beatrice announced her intention to marry Prince Henry of Battenberg, her mother refused to speak to her for months until the princess’s older sisters intervened on her behalf. A reluctant Queen Victoria finally gave her consent to the match on the condition Beatrice and Henry make their home with her. Since Henry had few prospects in Germany anyway the couple agreed to the Queen’s conditions and were married on 23 July 1885. However, Henry soon grew bored being cooped up with his elderly mother-in-law and he pleaded to join the Ashanti expedition fighting in the Anglo-Asante war in 1895. Queen Victoria reluctantly gave her consent and Henry left on 6 December 1895 but just over a month later, he died of malaria. A grief-stricken Beatrice resumed her place at her mother’s side until the latter’s death in 1901.
After her mother’s death, Beatrice was bequeathed Osborne Cottage in her mother’s will and she remained there for five years until she moved to Carisbrooke Castle as the Governor of the Isle of Wight. The cottage has remained in private ownership since it was first sold in 1913 but has recently been put on the market for £625,000 by estate agents Biles & Co. The cottage is listed as a four bedroom Grade II house with fabulous period features, however the fact it was once owned by HRH Princess Beatrice makes it all the more special. The companion cottage, Albert Cottage, which was also left to Beatrice was converted into an hotel in 1999 and is currently the Albert Cottage Hotel & Consort Restaurant.