Nicknamed the “grandmother of Europe,” Queen Victoria’s descendants include a German emperor, a Russian empress, and, of course, an English king. In 2019, the United Kingdom will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of princes William and Harry’s great-great-great-great grandmother. The second-longest-reigning monarch in British history, her legacy continues to thrive and there are some great sites in Scotland and England to visit to mark this special anniversary.
1. V&A Dundee
The first Victoria and Albert Museum built outside of London, a spectacular structure by Kengo Kuma resembling the rough cliffs of the Scottish coast, opened its doors in September 2018. The new museum celebrates the achievements of Scottish design and its interactions with the rest of the world. Featured objects range from a 15th century book of illuminated manuscripts to the latest in computer gaming technology.
Princess Victoria was born here on May 24, 1819, and the palace was her childhood home. A new, semi-permanent exhibition called Victoria: A Royal Childhood, opens on her birthdate, and will run through 2020. It is packed with items from her youth, including scrapbook of mementos created by her German governess, Baroness Lehzen.
3. Isle of Wight
With an entire empire at her feet, Queen Victoria’s preferred retreat was the palatial Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, off the southern English coast. The royal family spent many summers there and Victoria’s Island Trail visits many of its landmarks, including the church in which her daughter, Princess Beatrice, got married and the Queen’s favourite viewpoint.
Just an hour from London, Queen Victoria resided in this largest and oldest occupied castle in the world for part of the year. The splendid State Apartments house objects and art collected during her long reign. And both Victoria and Albert’s tombs are situated in the Royal Mausoleum, in the gardens of Frogmore House.
Victoria was the first monarch to rule from here and she is commemorated with a white marble statue which is part of a monument in front of the palace’s gates erected eight-years after her 1901 death. Buckingham Palace is open to the public for ten weeks each summer and the lavishly furnished State Rooms, as well as the Picture Gallery and the Throne Room are all part of the guided tours.
[This story appears in the January 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]