Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Queen Victoria's Swiss Cottage opened on Isle of Wight

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have officially reopened Queen Victoria's chalet on the Isle of Wight after a £1.65m conservation project.

The Swiss Cottage, in the grounds of Osborne House, was the childhood retreat for Victoria and Albert's nine children during family holidays.

It will reopen to the public on 1 April along with a new exhibition called Childhood at Osborne.

The royal couple's visit is part of a two-day tour of the island.

The exhibition has been assembled following research into the children's letters, diaries and paintings.

The two-storey cottage, built between 1853-1854, was a fully equipped playhouse on the shore of the island, near East Cowes, where the children learned cooking and gardening skills.

Conservation work was needed to rectify problems which had developed in the chalet, including damage to timbers used to support its floors.

The estate at East Cowes was bought by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria in 1845.

Queen Victoria died at the property in 1901 after reigning for nearly 64 years.

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