Latest Newsletters

Chairman's Newsletter - May 2024

Monday 13th May 2024

Dear Members,

We have enjoyed three events since my last newsletter. Toby gave a very informative and interesting tour of the terraces and gardens in his Spring Colour walk.  And a bonus was it didn’t rain! 

Click here for a brief report and photos of the event Friends of Osborne | 2024 Spring Colour Walk

Both our recent talks proved very popular. Mark Earp gave an entertaining and informative talk about Island Curiosities, including a picture of a ‘cannon hole’ in the wall at Quarr, used to fire out over the Solent. Apparently, it...

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Chairman's Newsletter - April 2024

Sunday 21st April 2024

April Newsletter from the Chairman

Dear Members,

I hope you all had an enjoyable Easter and were able to get out and about, despite the weather. The longer, lighter evenings certainly help to raise the mood.

Our membership is growing all the time. We have had 121 new members joining since the beginning of the year and have close to one thousand members now.

Sarah Burdett’s talk in March about Norris Castle was fascinating and very well attended. We had to close bookings for this talk at 40, due to the fact we were in the Duchess of Kent Suite....

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Chairman's Newsletter - March 2024

Monday 18th March 2024

Dear Members,

The evenings are getting lighter and with Easter so early this year, Osborne is getting ready for the new season. February proved to be one of the wettest on record. However, one of our members showed some advantage of all the rain by taking a wonderful picture entitled ‘Osborne, after the Rain’, which was voted winning photo of the month.

Please click here to see February’s entries - Friends of Osborne | February 2024 - Photo Competition Entries | Friends of Osborne.

One very good piece of news is that the Table...

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Chairman's Newsletter - February 2024

Thursday 15th February 2024

Dear Members,

As I write this, it is again raining outside, but on a positive note, it is getting lighter in the evenings.

The winter guided tours at Osborne have been very successful and helped in increasing visitor numbers over the winter. The costumes, which Friends of Osborne funded, have been admired and it is likely that Osborne may ask us to fund additional costumes.

Although the tours are prebooked and limited to twenty visitors a tour, there have been some slots available on the early morning tours. I went with two other FoO members and we managed to...

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January 2024 - Chairman's Newsletter

Monday 15th January 2024

Dear Members,

I hope you all had a good Christmas and managed to enjoy yourselves despite the horrid weather and the various ‘bugs’ going around. I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope that it is a peaceful, healthy one for you all.

I’m sure some of you visited Whippingham Church to admire the wonderful trees on display there for the Christmas Tree Festival. Also, I hope some members managed to visit Osborne over Christmas to see the Freedom Tree or enjoy a guided tour of the House.

The committee met on Monday to discuss events from last...

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Chairman's Newsletter - December 2023

Monday 11th December 2023

Chairman’s December Newsletter

Dear Members,

The year has flown by and December is here! There seems to be no let up with the rain. Let’s just hope that Christmas brings some drier weather, ideally with sun!

Thank you to the hardy souls who came to the AGM last month. It was not that well attended and we have decided that our AGM next year will be during the day, around lunchtime, giving members a chance to chat afterwards and make it more of a social event.

Although we had a quorum, we decided to leave the vote over changes to the...

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Chairman's Newsletter - November 2023

Sunday 12th November 2023

I hope you are all safe and dry and that you survived the awful rain, wind and storms of the last few weeks.

Osborne had to close for a day after the storms flooded the beach café and caused damage to paths on the Rhododendron Walk and along the Valley Walk to the beach. The lower part of the estate, including the beach, is still closed to the public and will need extensive repair work and cleaning before it will hopefully reopen in the Spring.

Due to the weather, Toby’s Trafalgar Day walk on the 20th October was rescheduled for November 3rd. Fortunately it...

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Chairman's Newsletter-October 2023

Friday 6th October 2023

Dear Members,

Autumn is truly with us, with nights drawing in, but we have been treated to some beautiful sunny skies and warm days. I visited Osborne on the last Friday of September and the Terraces looked magnificent. I also went around the House and found it was practically deserted. As members, we have access to the House on a Friday and it is lovely to wander through the rooms when it is so empty and quiet.

Our two events in September proved very popular. Everyone enjoyed Toby’s talk about Prince Albert’s passion, the gardens at Osborne. Toby also...

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Chairman's Newsletter - September 2023

Wednesday 13th September 2023

After a week of exceptionally high temperatures, I’m glad to see we are returning to more ‘normal’ weather. I hope you have all had a good ‘summer’ and been able to enjoy this beautiful Island.

In August we had a very successful talk by Emily and Kirsty about the way they protect the Royal Collection from sunlight, heat, humidity and bugs, to name but a few.  Forty-five members attended the talk and found it very informative.

Click here for pictures Friends of Osborne | Past events

The use of lanyards worked very well as a...

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Chairman's Newsletter - August 2023

Friday 11th August 2023

Dear Members,

At last, we see the sun again! When I wrote the last newsletter, we were having sweltering weather. Little did I realise that it would be followed by such awful grey skies, wind and rain!

Fortunately, the 360-degree tour in July took place on a beautiful evening and it was a great success.  The new location on the Pavilion Roof gave far reaching views over the Solent and of the grounds of Osborne.

To see photos of the evening please click on https://friendsofosborne.org//content/119/2023_360_Degree_Tour/

However, we were not so...

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25% Shop Discount - 14th to 27 August

Thursday 27th July 2023

25% Shop Discount

English Heritage are again offering our members a 25% discount on purchases in their shop at Osborne.  This is available on most goods with the exception of a few items eg stamps, ice creams etc upon production of your membership card together with photo ID.

The offer will run from Monday 14th to Sunday 27th August.

Read on...

August Events

Thursday 20th July 2023

Saturday, 5th August – Drinks and Canapés on The Terrace

6.30 pm to 8.30 pm

At Osborne House

Come and join us once again for this event on Saturday 5th August, timed for the end of Cowes Week.

Enjoy the beautiful views of the landscaped grounds and the planted beds.  A chance to enjoy the sights and peaceful sounds of Osborne, once the public have left, making it a truly magical place.  It is open to all Friends and their guests, on pre-payment.  This is an adult only event.

From the main car park, move to...

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Chairman's Newsletter - June and July 2023

Saturday 1st July 2023

Dear Members,

It seems a long time since I wrote my last newsletter in May. Since then, we have had several weeks of incredibly sunny weather, albeit sometimes too hot.

Our talk at St. Mildred’s Church in Whippingham at the end of May was excellent. Janet told us so many fascinating facts and stories about the church. We really enjoyed our afternoon there and chatting afterwards in the tearooms. For anyone who has never visited the church it is well worth a visit. Inside the church are several information boards and booklets for sale, telling the history of St....

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Friends of Osborne New Website

Monday 19th June 2023


We have today gone live with our new website – we hope that you like it!  For the full effects this is best viewed on a desktop or laptop although the mobile versions are equally practicable, with access to the menu via the three horizontal lines ‘hamburger’ icon.

All the information and facilities of our previous site are included.  In addition, we have added a Members section which will require a password which you will be advised of in due course.  Currently the area is empty.

As before, details of events, past and future, can be...

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Reminder - Upcoming June and July Events

Wednesday 7th June 2023


Friday, 23rd June

Join us with your picnic for the

Annual Beach Party

For more details and booking forms click

Beach Party - Friends of Osborne

Tuesday, 11th July

A talk by Mark Earp on

The Royal Children at Osborne

For more details and booking forms click

The Royal Children at Osborne - talk by Mark Earp - Friends of Osborne


Friday, 21st July

On the Roof Terrace at Osborne House

360 degree tour

(For members only)


Read on...

Chairman's Newsletter - May 2023

Wednesday 24th May 2023

Dear Members,

At last, it seems Spring may have arrived and there is a promise of sunny weather ahead.

Unfortunately, this warmer weather did not arrive in time for Toby’s Spring walk at the end of April which was very chilly. However, everyone who went thoroughly enjoyed a really interesting walk and talk by Toby. He started on the Terraces where he explained the system of planting; then he led members down along the Valley Walk where there were purple orchids and then on to the Ice House where there was an array of primroses, wood anemones and wild garlic,...

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Chairman's Newsletter - April 2023

Saturday 15th April 2023

Dear Members,

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and have been able to enjoy the beautiful grounds at Osborne. I had my family staying and was able to take my grandchildren children along to Osborne to take part in the Easter Adventure Quest, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

All members have access to the grounds but we have now been given access to the House every Friday from the start of April until October 31st.

Although the weather is still very chilly, everywhere is showing signs of Spring and the new growth on the trees and blossom is beautiful. The...

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Chairman's Newsletter - March 2023

Wednesday 1st March 2023

Dear Members,

It seems a long time since I sent my February newsletter.  It was good to see so many members at the AGM at the end of February.  Click here for the minutes 2023-AGM-Minutes.pdf (friendsofosborne.org).  We held it in the evening and although I know it meant that some members were unable to attend, the general consensus was it should remain in the evening as it allows members who work to have the opportunity to come along.

David Bailey, Head of Historic Properties of The Isle of Wight and Hampshire, gave a very interesting presentation. He...

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Chairman's Newsletter - February 2023

Wednesday 1st February 2023

Dear Members,

It was a pleasure to meet some new members and see some more familiar faces at Carisbrooke Castle last week. It was a beautiful frosty day with blue skies and those of us that went up onto the ramparts had glorious views. We had a very informative talk about the castle and enjoyed looking at the many fascinating items in the museum.  Sarah, one of the EH volunteers then talked to us about the donkeys and showed us the well house. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the morning there.

Would members like us to organise similar visits to historical sites such as...

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Chairman's Newsletter - January 2023

Sunday 1st January 2023

Dear Members,

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and that some of you managed to visit Osborne between 27th and 31st December when we had free access to the house. Also, that some of you were able to take advantage of the 25% discount in the shop to buy gifts and presents.

Some of you may also have seen that the 250-year-old Lebanese Cedar tree, close to the walled garden, was blown over by high winds early this month. The Lebanese Cedar was planted in the 1770s by Robert Pope Blachford, Osborne’s owner before the Queen and Prince Albert. The tree will be...

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Chairman's Newsletter - December 2022

Thursday 1st December 2022

Dear Members,

Where has the year gone? 2022 has been a very strange year with everyone trying to get back to some normality; while coping with the repercussions of war in Ukraine, the turmoil and change of Prime Ministers in Number 10 and the record-breaking temperatures this summer.

 It was lovely to see Friends of Osborne relaunched this year after two years of Covid restrictions. We have managed to host several events and talks that have been well attended and are looking forward to organising a full calendar of events in 2023. It has been good to see the...

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Chairman's Newsletter - November 2022

Tuesday 1st November 2022

Dear Members,

After the most glorious October it feels as if Winter has arrived with a vengeance. The rain, high winds and dark evenings of November have come as a real shock.

Members who took part in the Trafalgar Day celebrations in mid-October were lucky as there was a break in the weather and the rain stopped. Everyone was able to enjoy a really informative talk by Toby as he guided members down to the beach before raising a toast to Nelson. The following week the Duchess of Kent suite was full for Toby’s talk on the walled garden. It was fascinating to listen...

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Chairman's Newsletter - October 2022

Saturday 1st October 2022

Dear Members,

Autumn is truly with us but we have been lucky to have had beautiful blue skies for the first two events this month. We met in The Duchess of Kent Suite for our talk by Stephan Roman on 6th October as the new education rooms were still not finished. The DOK suite is a glorious venue and was full as we had to limit the numbers to thirty. Everyone enjoyed a fascinating talk entitled ‘Isle and Empires’ where we learnt about the shared history of Russia and Britain and especially the Isle of Wight. The new curator, Christopher Warleigh-Lack popped in to...

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Chairman's Newsletter - September 2022

Thursday 1st September 2022

Dear Members,

All of us have been saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death. She was a remarkable monarch and woman and no one can fail to be moved by the outpouring of love shown by people all over the country. Flowers have been laid by the gates of Osborne House and there is a book of condolence at the exit from the Durbar Rooms.

I feel Autumn is upon us and the recent rain has been very welcome. However, we were very lucky to have a beautiful evening at the end of August for our 360-degree event. Fifty of our members enjoyed the...

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Chairman’s Report for August 2022

Monday 1st August 2022

including news of a new benefit for members

Dear Members,

I hope you have all been enjoying this very hot Summer but you are probably all hoping for rain, especially as the hose pipe ban comes into force on the Island.

The Beach Party at the end of July was a great success. It was a beautiful evening and everyone enjoyed listening to Captain Paul and Lindsay who entertained us all with their sea shanties. The Solent sparkled and we all had a wonderful view of Queen Mary 2 as she cruised past. The beach cafe was open and members were able to arrive at the beach in the brand new electric mini bus. Read on...

Chairman’s Report for July 2022

Friday 1st July 2022

including update on access to the House

Dear Members,

I am pleased to inform members that they will now have unlimited access to the house during the six weeks of the summer holidays from Saturday 23rd July to Sunday 4th September.  You will need to show your Friends of Osborne membership card on entrance to the house.

It is also hoped that we will offer members the opportunity to book a guided tour of the house in the winter when Osborne hopes to introduce escorted tours of the house by staff dressed in character. More information will follow nearer the time.

Our most recent event, the quiz...

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Chairman's Newsletter - June 2022

Chairman's Newsletter - June 2022

Wednesday 1st June 2022

Dear Members, 

Our first event, a drinks party on the terrace, on Thursday 19th May, was a great success. There were just over thirty members present and David Bailey gave us an update on Osborne House and how it was emerging from the lock downs of the past two years.  Four of David’s team were there to chat with us and enjoy the delicious canapes that Jacqui’s catering team had produced, and we all enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with old friends over drinks and mocktails.  

Hopefully many of you will be at the Quiz on 24th June...

Read on...

Chairman's Newsletter - May 2022

Sunday 1st May 2022

Dear Members,

This is my first opportunity since becoming Chairman to welcome you all to Friends of Osborne.  Osborne went into its summer opening on April 1st and I hope many of you took advantage of the glorious Easter weather to enjoy the beautiful grounds.

The new card system seems to be working well and there is no longer a need to book in advance.  Over 500 members have renewed their membership, we have 50 new members and we have just over 100 members whose subscriptions are due in June, September and December.  It is wonderful to see so many people...

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Newsletter - Spring 2021

Tuesday 1st March 2022

Dear Members

A new beginning for Friends of Osborne

From a very positive AGM, held at the Terrace Restaurant on 24th February 2022, a new management structure for Friends of Osborne has now been put in place, with the support of all members present, with the aim of forging a new relationship with Osborne House.

Three new Trustees, Maureen Moorman, Helen McComb, and Adrian Johnson were unanimously elected at the AGM, together with Trustees Philip Palmer and Alison Rogers and existing Committee members, will now form our new management...

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Newsletter - 8th November 2021

Monday 8th November 2021

Dear Members


In the past, it has been a tradition that the Friends of Osborne are involved with the Remembrance Service at St. Mildred’s Church. This is to continue again this year.

The service is combined with a communion service at the wish of the present priest, Sue Paterson. 

The service is at 11.00 so please be seated by 10.50. if possible.

There will be hymns and a reading. (Friends being involved with these.)

The wreath will be laid as usual.

We look...

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Newsletter - 22nd October 2021

Friday 22nd October 2021

Dear Members

Unfortunately, we have to move from our rooms at Osborne as English Heritage require them for their school’s education programme. 

The rooms we have used for the last few years, have been designated as ideal for the provision of education visits – from sometime early in the new year. As the rooms will be used predominantly during the day and most likely between September and May, the proposal is that we can make use of these rooms via a booking system (yet to be established) on days when they are not booked and most likely, evenings...

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Newsletter - 13th September 2021

Monday 13th September 2021

Dear Members

It seems such a long time since I updated you with any significant changes to our agreement with English Heritage at Osborne but aside from the various relaxations that we are all now adopting in everyday life, there is nothing new to report – yet!

However, the Trustees have been keeping in touch with Osborne management and we now have a meeting with them on the 17th of this month when we will be discussing a range of issues including a return date to our rooms and the availability of other rooms for future events.

English Heritage are in...

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Newsletter - 18th May 2021

Tuesday 18th May 2021

Dear Members

I am delighted to inform you that our Secretary and Treasurer met with English Heritage management at Osborne recently and successfully negotiated an interim increase in our monthly allocation – up from 100 to 150 member visits with a promise to review again in a couple of months with a view to a further increase.

Obviously, this will depend on the ongoing lifting of restrictions in the Government’s road map but hopefully the improving situation generally reported, will continue to take us towards something close to pre-covid...

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Message from the Chair of Trustees

Wednesday 21st April 2021

Dear Members

English Heritage has brought to our attention that some of our members are not using the agreed booking process (the previously circulated phone number) and are trying to book tickets via the EH website as an Associated Organisation.  Can I remind everyone that this is not permissible and that we must adhere to the current arrangement.

This has apparently occurred on a number of occasions recently when our allocation had been reached and members are trying to find a way around the system we have in place.

We have also been told that some...

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Newsletter - 2nd April 2021

Friday 2nd April 2021

Dear Members

I hope the onset of Spring finds you all well and looking forward to the end of various restrictions.

You may have seen in the County Press and on line the exciting news that the weather vane, which we have contributed to the repair of, has been reinstalled atop the clock tower. Pictures are available on our Facebook page and Osborne management have circulated a press release acknowledging our contribution.

The Friends committee are now looking to put together an events programme and I know they would welcome any ideas you may have. These can be...

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Newsletter 21st January 2021

Newsletter 21st January 2021

Thursday 21st January 2021

Friends Booking System

A reminder to members to use the telephone booking system and not the online booking system please.  The site is currently only open and manned on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 until 16.00 so calls outside of these times will not be answered.  If possible, try and book a week ahead (weather forecast permitting!)

From half-term, ordinarily February 15th, it is expected that Osborne will revert to opening Wednesday to Sunday 10.00 – 16.00 until the end of March.  Changes to or lifting of current Covid restrictions may impact...

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Newsletter - 15th December 2020

Newsletter - 15th December 2020

Tuesday 15th December 2020

Meeting with Osborne Management

The Secretary and myself met with Osborne management recently and discussed a number of issues – listed below: –  

Friends Booking System

This appears to be running smoothly from month to month with about the right number of bookings to fill our allocated 100 places.  If I can remind members to be considerate and not over-book so that all members have a reasonable chance of making a visit.  Osborne are keeping a list of member names to allow us to continue to monitor this.

Please remember...

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Newsletter - 9th November 2020

Monday 9th November 2020

Lockdown Update

You will all be aware of the latest lockdown restrictions that have come into effect this week and are in place until December 2nd (we hope no longer !?)

Remembrance Service

Obviously, this will mean the cancellation of the Remembrance Service planned for November 8th.  There will however, be a private laying of the Friends wreath by arrangement with the Vicar of St. Mildred’s.  All of those who had already paid, should by now, have had an email from the Secretary about how to get a refund directly into their banks –...

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Newsletter - 25th September 2020

Friday 25th September 2020

Update on negotiations with English Heritage

I am delighted to announce that we have been successful in negotiating the return of access to the grounds of Osborne for the Friends, albeit in controlled numbers and via contacting the site directly to book rather than use the online booking system.  Details of the new arrangements, including the phone number to call, will be forwarded to all members via their email addresses in the next few days.  Any members without an email should contact the secretary directly on the number below. 

Please continue to follow our Facebook page and our website and continue...

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Chairman's Newsletter - December 2023

Read on...

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