Public gets access to Queen Vic's beach

July 18, 2012 at 2:02 AM
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EAST COWES, England, July 18 (UPI) -- Visitors to Osborne House, Queen Victoria's palace on the Isle of Wight, will soon be able to visit the beach where the English queen liked to swim.

The house, designed by Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, is managed by English Heritage and open to the public. But until this summer the beach was off limits, The Guardian reported.

The public opening is scheduled for July 27.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said the queen was not always the stiff-necked monarch or the woman who remained in mourning for the rest of her life after her husband's death.

"Opening her beach at Osborne lets us show another side of her -- this was a queen who collected sea shells with her children, who sketched the changing sea and who swam sometimes twice a day," Thurley said.

English Heritage has restored Victoria's bathing machine. That allowed her to change in private into an extremely modest bathing dress and then to exit into the water hidden behind curtains.

Osborne House was Victoria's favorite residence and the place where she died in 1901. Her son, King Edward VII, had no use for it and it was used for many years as a home for naval cadets and a convalescent home for sailors.

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