Antiques Roadshow: Queen Victoria's knickers valued at £16,000
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During a classic episode of Antiques Roadshow, BBC host Fiona Bruce took viewers to the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire. The experts were given a number of treasures to value including the likes of one of Napoleon’s razors and letters from author Enid Blyton.
However, it was the underwear of Queen Victoria which caught the eye of expert Hilary Kay.
“We all love a box, don’t we? And this box has a secret,” Hilary teased. “And let’s see what that secret is.”
After pulling out a pair of large underwear, the expert continued: “Well on here is a monogram which says VR, so what are we looking at?”
The guest replied: “We are looking at a very fine pair of Queen Victoria’s knickers.”
“We all love a box don’t we? And this box has a secret,” Hilary teased. “And let’s see what that secret is.”
“Let’s have a look at this. This is Victoria’s secret,” Hilary laughed.
After pulling out a pair of large underwear, the expert continued: “Well on here is a monogram which says VR, what are we looking at?”
The guest replied: “Well, we are looking at a very fine pair of Queen Victoria’s knickers.”
“Let’s have a look at this. This is Victoria’s secret,” Hilary laughed. “A big secret too.”
“They are a fabulous pair of what is known as open drawers,” Hilary said as she inspected the garments.
“And open drawers is exactly what ladies wore throughout the course of the 19th century.
“It is an extraordinary rarity I have to say. So explain to me exactly how you got this amazing piece of royal memorabilia?”
The guest went on to explain the knickers were passed down through her family.
She recalled: “Back in the family a number of generations ago there was a baroness and they clearly worked in circles of other titled individuals and my granny was given these by one of the ladies in the bed-chamber.”
Hilary explained it was well-known that Queen Victoria gave away her intimate apparel as tokens of affection.
“They are made of very fine linen and they are beautiful,” she beamed.
“They are incredible and obviously it has been sewn by hand but if you look at those stitches it looks like it has been sewn by a mouse.
“Tiny, tiny stitches. They were stitching for their Queen.”
Turning her attention to the value, the expert revealed: “I have to tell you that the last pair I saw at auction fetched £16,000.”
“For a pair of knickers?” the guest quizzed as she looked on in shock.
Hilary continued: “So, I have no hesitation in valuing these at the same figure. Probably around £12,000 to £16,000.
“It is a lot of money but it is a reflection of the regard with which Queen Victoria is held today.”
The guest appeared lost for words as she simply replied: “My goodness.”
Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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