Thursday, 19 January 2017
Dear Beloved Rosenau
Schloss Rosenau, northwest of Coburg in Germany, was the childhood summer home of Prince Albert. His father, Duke Ernest of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha, renovated the schloss during the Napoleonic years under the supervision of the architect Karl Schinkel.
Aerial view (below) of Schloss Rosenau
After the Duke’s death in 1844 and until the death of Albert in 1861, there are numerous memoirs of visits to the beloved Rosenau, most notably Queen Victoria. After 1861, there were additional visits to Coburg and Gotha by the Queen and her family but, beyond the published letters, there is little in English on Albert's brother Ernest's life at the Rosenau.
Photograph (below) of Rosenau c1857
After Alfred’s marriage to the Grand Duchess Marie in 1874 when in Germany, they lived in the Palais Edinburgh in Coburg and were given the Rosenau for their summer home. Marie wrote in 1893 “… It is like a beautiful dream writing to you from our beloved Rosenau on a heavenly hot morning …”
Photograph (below) of Rosenau c1890s
In Diana Mandache’s ‘Dearest Missy’, Grand Duchess Marie wrote on October 3rd, 1897 “… I really enjoy my solitude at the Rosenau and will be in despair to leave this dear place, where I am so free to walk about and do exactly what I like. I am really not dull as I generally have somebody to luncheon and go in the evening to the theatre. I dearly like also a quiet evening by myself with a good book …”
On Sunday, October 5th, 1897 Nicholas II wrote “… arrived at Coburg at 9am … [afternoon] we all went together to dear Rosenau – it was so beautiful under the marvelous, shining autumn sun … We looked over the orangerie and had tea in the dining room …”
On October 22nd, 1897 Grand Duchess Marie wrote “… The Imperial visit went off very well, but was too short. The weather was very fine and all were in very good spirits, especially Nicky who seemed to enjoy this little trip …”
The difference in the interior styles, between the 1820s Biedermeier and the later Victorian, is evident in the following examples. It is curious that Grand Duchess Marie installed bathrooms but not electric light.
Painting (below) of Queen Victoria’s Drawing Room in 1845
Photograph (below) of Queen Victoria’s Drawing Room in 1894