Hitchin woman who bought Queen Victoria’s 42-inch bloomers as a joke Christmas present puts them under the hammer again

Peter Mason holds Queen Victoria's bloomers which are being put up for auction in Woburn by a woman

Peter Mason holds Queen Victoria's bloomers which are being put up for auction in Woburn by a woman from Hitchin - Credit: Archant

The famously strait-laced Queen Victoria would definitely not be amused to know that her 42-inch bloomers were snapped up at auction by a Hitchin woman as a joke Christmas present.

Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria. - Credit: Archant

And now the voluminous royal undergarments will be going back under the hammer on Saturday, with experts reckoning that they could fetch thousands of pounds.

The over-sized unmentionables date from between 1880 and 1890, and form part of a consignment made exclusively for the venerable monarch. There’s a stitched ‘VR’ monogram to prove their royal pedigree.

This mark also bears the number ‘35’ which staff at Charles Ross Auctions understand was given to each item in that particular batch of royal bloomers.

Auction house staff were amazed when the pants were handed in at an external valuation day in Hitchin before Christmas.


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Auctioneer Peter Mason told the Comet it was one of the most unusual pieces of clothing they had ever seen.

“The lady who consigned them bought them herself at auction at Christie’s in 1981, as a novelty Christmas present for her father,” he said.

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“She felt he had the necessary sense of humour to appreciate them as he opened his gifts after dinner that year!

“Previous similar examples have sold at auction in recent years for between £6,000 and £10,000.

“They will be up for sale along with a child’s bonnet from a similar period, and the original provenance of the Christie’s catalogue.”

The auction starts at 10am on Saturday at Old Town Hall, Woburn. For details contact 01525 290502 or visit charles-ross.co.uk.

Last summer a Charles Ross expert called in to check through the contents of a crammed farmhouse in a village near Stevenage found a treasure trove of 18th century English wine glasses in a mouse-chewed box, which also went under the hammer at a Woburn sale.

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