21. Victoria Apartments [+]

Historic Image


Queen Victoria:

‘The Pavilion is a strange, odd Chinese looking thing, both inside and outside; most rooms low, and I only see a little morsel of the sea from one of my sitting-room windows, which is strange, when one considers that one is quite close to the sea.’

David Beevers:

‘Queen Victoria had a very ambiguous relationship with the Royal Pavilion– she acceded to the throne of course in 1837 and between 1837 and 1845 she came to the Pavilion about four times. On her second visit she warmed much more to it. We do know that Prince Albert rather admired the building and admired the Banqueting Room and the Music Room in particular. It’s a mistake to think that Queen Victoria disliked it on stylistic grounds. She quite enjoyed the Chinese interiors and indeed, she had them removed and they’re at Buckingham Palace today. What she disliked about it was that it was too small, because it was not built for a married sovereign and she had an expanding and growing family and she was bothered because it was in the centre of town and she had very little privacy. She complained that whenever she went out into Brighton she was mobbed by the townspeople of Brighton. And so she decided to sell it and use the proceeds to acquire a new estate at Osborne on the Isle of Wight, which she called “a place of our own, quiet and retired”. Those are the two words – quiet and retired – you could never say the Pavilion is quiet and retired.’

Now continue through the door opposite the bed. To your left you will pass the maid’s room on your left, and to the right a water closet.

Queen Victoria’s Bed

The bedroom has been restored to its appearance in 1840, with hand-painted wallpaper reproducing the original Chinese paper, and a bed, which is a reproduction of an 1830s original.

David Beevers

This is a reconstruction of Queen Victoria’s bed. It’s very close to the bed that would have been in this room that no longer survives. A very interesting factor here is did Queen Victoria and Prince Albert actually share this bed. It’s quite a puzzle this. In upper class circles and in royal circles generally the King and the Queen had separate suites, that is separate apartments and often at either end of the building. In the plans of this building there’s Queen Victoria’s bedroom, but there’s no mention of Prince Albert’s bedroom. Prince Albert had a dressing room, but not a bedroom. So I think they probably did actually share this bed, which is quite small.