Ever wonder where Canada’s Victoria Island (in the Arctic) got its name? If you guessed Britain’s iconic Queen Victoria, you’d be right! However, Victoria Island isn’t the only island associated with the 19th century monarch. The Queen and Prince Albert regularly retreated to their stunning coastal home, known as Osborne House, in Britain’s Isle of Wight to escape the rigours of royal life.
And—they made sure that every nook and cranny was designed to their exact specifications. In 1848, Albert decided to tear down the original structure and build the couple’s dream home, drawing inspiration from the Bay of Naples in Italy.
The family spent many leisurely afternoons on the beach at Osborne, and it was here where the royal children learned to swim. Victoria especially loved taking dips in the sea, and even used a private bathing machine (a cabin on wheels) to enter and exit the water without being seen in her swimsuit. When the Queen finished swimming, she would enter the cabin (which included a changing room and toilet), and wait while it was pulled back onto the beach using a wire rope and winch.
Fancy a glimpse inside Osbourne House? Explore Queen Victoria's island home on your next jaunt to England—it’s open to the public from April 1 to Sept. 30.