A treasure trove of garments belonging to Queen Victoria has been discovered in a cabinet in England for 100 years and could sell for a pretty penny at auction later this month.
Included in the items are a pair of her underwear, boots, skirts and other clothes, British news agency South West News Service (SWNS) reports. They were given to royal photographer Alexander Lamont Henderson after she died in 1901 and eventually passed down through generations until Hendersons' great-great-grandson, Roderick Williams, inherited the collection.
“Queen Victoria’s clothing and boots are family heirlooms which were originally given to my great-great grandfather, Alexander Lamont Henderson," Williams, 63, said in comments obtained by SWNS. “He worked as a royal photographer for Queen Victoria up to her death in 1901 and we think the clothes were probably given to him by servants in the royal household, perhaps in return for taking photographs of them."
“When my great-great grandfather died in 1907, the clothing was passed down through the generations," he added. “It’s been kept in a wardrobe. I’m selling it now as I need to make some space."
Also included in the lot are cream and red stockings, a chemise, black shirt and two pairs of handmade leather ankle boots made by J Sparks-Hall of London; the shoemaker is credited with creating the Chelsea boot.
“Famously, after the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert in 1861, she wore black for the rest of her life and the bodice and skirt we’re selling are black," said Hansons Auctioneers' auctioneer Charles Hanson, who is handling the sale. “Her leather ankle boots show how dainty and narrow her feet were.
“Though she was only 4 ft. 11 inches and petite when she became queen at 18, she liked her food and her waist expanded to 50 inches over the decades – a fact demonstrated by the ample size of the bloomers," Hanson told SWNS.
The lot is expected to sell for nearly $20,000 when it goes up for auction on Jan. 21.