Queen Victoria’s Undies
In October 2014, royal bloomers belonging to Queen Victoria were auctioned in Ashford, UK. Along with her silk stockings and a chemise, they sold for a combined price of almost eight thousand British Pounds.
Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 (at just age eighteen) until 1901, and she was also Empress of India between 1876 and 1901. She remains the longest serving monarch in British history.
Dating from 1890, later in the queen’s life, the underwear was enormous and majestic in its proportions. The silk, split crotch drawers (as was the fashion of the time) had a waist measurement of fifty two inches (130cm) and the chemise accommodated a bust size of sixty six inches (165cm). Considering the queen was only a very diminutive five feet tall, she was certainly rotund!
The bloomers bore the embroidered royal emblem monogram of Victoria Regina. The chemise and bloomers are the equivalent of today’s size thirty six – astounding proportions. The chemise has delicate buttons and frilled lace on the border.
When Queen Victoria died, she had willed much of her clothing and undergarment collection to her servants who had loyally seen to her needs throughout her reign. Many items were distributed amongst her household. The bloomers had been in the possession of a family in Kent since at least the1920’s.
The buyer who won the bidding war for these garments is unknown but believed to be a memorabilia collector from Israel.
Another item of underwear belonging to Victoria and still in existence is her petticoat – again, dating from the 1890’s. It is of cream wool and exquisitely embroidered along the hem in beige silk, with thistles, shamrocks, roses, crowns, and her VR monogram. These symbolised Scotland, Ireland, and England, over which she ruled.
The auction was held in aid of a Guide Dog charity. Considering the fact that Queen Victoria was a lover of animals and had many dogs as companions, we believe that one may well have been amused at the sale of one’s bloomers for such a good profit!