Queen Victoria’s royal wardrobe to be sold at auction for £15,000


a person posing for the camera© Provided by The Independent

A number of items from the wardrobe of Queen Victoria are set to go under the hammer next week after being kept in a wardrobe for 100 years.

The outfit – including a pair of bloomers, bodice, skirt and leather boots – was given to royal photographer Alexander Lamont Henderson following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

The items were then passed down through generations and are now in the possession of Henderson’s great-great grandson, Roderick Williams, at his home in Coltishall, near Norwich.

The 63-year-old has now decided to sell the collection to make room for his own clothes and experts have predicted that the royal outfit could fetch more than £15,000.

“We think the clothes were probably given to him by servants in the royal household, perhaps in return for taking photographs of them,” Williams said.

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Queen Victoria famously wore black for the rest of her life following the death of her husband (SWNS)© Provided by The Independent
Queen Victoria famously wore black for the rest of her life following the death of her husband (SWNS)

“Alexander caught Queen Victoria’s attention thanks to his experimental colour work with glass plate lantern slides and enamels.”

Williams added that his great-great grandfather created a number of portraits for Queen Victoria, including one of her husband Prince Albert and her Scottish attendant John Brown.

“He took photos of Queen Victoria and also worked with glass plate negatives taken by other photographers but, sadly, much of his work has been lost or destroyed,” Williams explained.

“When my great-great grandfather died in 1907, the clothing was passed down through the generations. It’s been kept in a wardrobe.”

a pair of shoes: Queen Victoria's boots were made by J Sparks-Hall of London (SWNS)© Provided by The Independent
Queen Victoria’s boots were made by J Sparks-Hall of London (SWNS)

The entire lot, which is being sold at Derbyshire-based auction house Hansons on Tuesday, includes cream and red stockings, a chemise, black skirt, bodice, bloomers and two pairs of handmade leather ankle boots by J Sparks-Hall of London – a shoemaker credited with the design of the Chelsea boot.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “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.

“Her leather ankle boots show how dainty and narrow her feet were.

“They are around a size four and the design paved the way to the Chelsea boot. The makers, J Sparks-Hall of London, claimed she wore their boots daily.

a person wearing a costume: Auctioneer Charles Hanson says Queen Victoria's waist measured 50 inches (SWNS)© Provided by The Independent
Auctioneer Charles Hanson says Queen Victoria’s waist measured 50 inches (SWNS)

“Though she was only 4ft 11ins 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.”

In December, the dress Princess Diana wore to a gala dinner at the White House in 1985 sold at auction for £264,000.

The Princess of Wales wore the midnight blue Victor Edelstein dress to the event which was hosted by then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan on 9 November.

The gown featured off-the-shoulder straps, a floor-sweeping velvet skirt, a decorative bow and layers of tulle petticoats.

The outfit became one of Diana’s most iconic looks after footage of her dancing with Grease actor John Travolta was seen worldwide.


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