Royal panties sold off
They might just be the most expensive pair of old bloomers ever.
These 35in waist knickers, worn by Queen Victoria in the 1860s, sold at auction for £9,375 yesterday.
Made from several yards of fine cream silk and embroidered with the letters VR – standing for Victoria Regina – the knee-length bloomers were snapped up by an anonymous private collector.
Philip Gregory, spokesman for Lyon & Turnbull auctioneers in Edinburgh, said: ‘People who collect royal memorabilia from the Victorian era see underwear as the crowning glory in their collection.’
In 2008, a pair of Queen Victoria’s bloomers with a 50in waist sold for £4,500.
The collection came from the contents of Old Battersea House - the London home of the Forbes family, the American publishing dynasty.
The Forbes family home hosted many public visitors over the years, including former U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Hollywood star Dame Elizabeth Taylor.
The late 17th-century house was bought and restored in 1970 by Malcolm Forbes and his son Christopher Forbes, vice-chairman of the Forbes publishing company, under the guidance of architect Vernon Gibberd.
All the items, collectively valued at between £1.5million and £2million, have been on public display this week.
Simon Edsor, director of The Fine Art Society and art adviser to the Forbes family, said: 'Examples of the Queen's belongings have long been considered the crowning glory for Victorian collectors.
'In the past few years several items have come up for auction and made excellent prices, with interest from around the world.'
Also included in the sale was antique furniture, such as the four-poster bed that Dame Elizabeth slept in with her seventh husband and twin beds once occupied by Ronald and Nancy Reagan.