Details of the major restoration project being carried out at the final resting place of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Windsor have been revealed. It’s a rare chance to see behind the scenes at the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore where the queen and her beloved consort were laid to rest.
The work is needed as the mausoleum has been suffering from damp for many years. It was built on a particularly wet part of the royal estate at Windsor and over the past years, water has crept into the building with the original drainage system unable to cope.
The restoration project, which began this summer, will include the installation of a new drainage system as well as the construction of a dry moat around the building’s foundations to protect it from damp in the future. A new roof and windows are also planned. Once the building has fully dried out, the internal decorations which have been affected by damp will then be restored.
Details of the project were featured on the official Royal Family Instagram and Twitter accounts this week along with videos on their You Tube channel where experts explained about the work in detail. It provided a rare chance to see the mausoleum which hasn’t been open to the public since 2007 when the floor was declared unsafe.
Victoria and Albert had already decided they wanted to be buried together in a specially designed mausoleum, rather than in vaults in one of the traditional resting places of monarchs and consorts, before the prince died unexpectedly in December 1861. Following his loss, Victoria called in his principal artistic adviser, Ludwig Gruner, to work on the project while the building itself was the work of architect Albert Jenkins Humbert. However, Victoria was involved in every element of its design.
The result was a permanent memorial to the love and shared life of this ever romantic royal couple. The internal decorations are heavily influenced by Raphael, one of Prince Albert’s favourite artists. The mausoleum was finally completed in 1871 but had been consecrated in 1862 when the prince’s remains were interred there. His grieving widow would visit the site every day that she could.
On her death, in 1901, Victoria was buried at Albert’s side. They are the only royals laid to rest in the mausoleum although the building also contains memorials to their daughter, Alice, and Victoria’s father, Edward, Duke of Kent.
It’s hoped that the work currently underway will ensure the building can receive visitors again within the next five years.