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  February 2, 1858, was a cold day and snow fell heavily. At Buckingham Palace, Queen Victoria bid her daughter, Victoria, Princess Royal, a...

Villa Edelweiss, Queen Victoria’s Home in Cannes


 In April 1887, Queen Victoria set about on her holiday pilgrimage to the French Riviera. This time, she went to Cannes where she visited Villa Nevada, where her youngest  son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, died in 1884. She also visited the Church of St. George, the construction of which was dedicated to him.

Of the visit to Villa Nevada, Queen Victoria wrote that she "went in to see good Miss Perceval, who was most kind, & showed us her rooms, then taking us upstairs to the room, where poor darling Leopold breathed his last."


While in Cannes, Queen Victoria stayed at Villa Edelweiss, which is richly described in the following article:

Villa Edelweiss, which is to be occupied by her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, on her approaching visit to Cannes,  is built in old English style, with two towers  and a lofty roof, covered with red tiles. On both sides of the entrance door are immense groups of red and white camellias, some of which are large trees. The inner walls are hung with Italian 17th Century tapestry (Arozzi), and a Venetian lamp of the same period, in forged iron, hangs in the centre of the hall, which also contains a table and some chairs in carved oak. Opposite  the entrance is the petit salon. Here the walls are covered with red satin.

In front of the door is a large window opening on to a balcony overlooking a terrace, where benches and armchairs are grouped among the magnificent flowers.

In the middle of the wall on your right is  the chimney, of white marble, an antique mirror above it ; on both sides mahogany  book-shelves in the style of the Third Empire.

Near the window is a writing table, and on the other side there are two secretaires in  delicate inlaid work. The gilded furniture in  this room is covered with red satin, and the  curtains are to match. A magnificent Turkish carpet, with the candelabra and the chimney ornaments, complete the suite.

You enter on your left the grand drawing room,  furnished in Louis XVI style: all white and gold. The cushions, which are embroidered in  good satin and velvet, rests on low chairs covered with rich Indian embroideries,  and Chinese and Indian embroidered satins are hung artistically here and there. This salon has three windows, one, in the corner, has a most splendid view over Cannes, the sea, and the Esterol. Three antique mirrors adorn the room, one being over the mantelpiece and the two others  opposite, between the windows. From one of the windows some stops lead down to the gardens.

On the left of the hall is the dining-room. Here the walls are hung with Gobelin tapestry, temps Louis XVI.  Over the chimney an old Genoese painting representing bassecour.  The furniture, which is in old oak, is of course in the same style as that represented by the tapestry.

The smoking room, on the other side of the hall, is set apart for Sir Henry Ponsonby, Controller of Her Majesty's Household. The furniture there is in carved wood, and the ceiling is designed in blue and gold. The tapestry on the walls dates from the 16th century.

Over the large drawing-room is Her Majesty's bedroom. The walls are here hung with red Adrianople and large bands, about one metre in width, of old Persian chintz, like Italian Mezbaris. A gilded bedstead stands in the middle of the room, and there is a low couch near the window, and two sculptured tables on the right.

Over the petit salon is Her Majesty's boudoir. The hangings and curtains of the windows and doors are of white Persian silk, with white and blue lace trimmings. A splendid view may here  be obtained from the large balcony in front. The furniture is white and gold, covered with white and blue damask. From the walls are suspended baskets, with blue and white satin ribbons, filled with white camellias.

Near Her Majesty's room is the room of the Hon. Miss Harriett Phipps, Lady-in- Waiting.

On the other side, Princess Beatrice's room is ornamented with cream satinette hangings and red bands with white flowers, the curtains of the bed and windows to match. The bed with the furniture, is in the Louis XV style.

Next to it is Prince Henry of Battenberg's room, the walls hung with brown Holland. M. Saville bought the rock where the villa Edelweiss now stands. About five years ago it was covered with common fir trees. He cut the rock, and with it built the present mansion, round which he has planted a very Eden.

The villa Edelweiss is protected by hills covered with firs on the north and the east, and is beyond the reach of the mistral. The climate has very properly been compared to that of Pisa.

The scenery in the immediate vicinity above the mansion is exceedingly wild and romantic, and  one favourite spot commands a glorious view over Cnnnes and  the environs. Another beautiful spot on the rock is a grotto with  a waterfall and an immense basket of saxifrages, where beauty of nature and excellent taste have done wonders.

Lady Southampton and the other members of Her Majesty's suite will take lodgings at the hotel, the Villa Edelweiss not being large enough to afford the necessary accommodation. The servants will occupy the upper story of the house.

A view of the Villa Edelweiss and the Villa Nevada 1887. © Royal Collection Trust

The memorial chapel dedicated to the late Duke of Albany.

A memorial at Villa Nevada dedicated to the Duke of Albany. Image from LinkedIn


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