Queen Victoria, when she passed away in 1901, ending the longest reign of any British monarch in history, made sure her most loyal attendants were taken care of. She willed them her royal underpants, among other silk and linen items.
And just as Queen Victoria, who held the British throne for more than 63 years, was a larger-than-life figure in that nation’s history, so too were her royal underthings. The knee-length underpants auctioned off over the weekend sold to an anonymous, overseas buyer for £6,800 — or nearly $10,000 — and the size of the silk underpants was as impressive as the price.
The queen, said to have worn that particular pair of “knickers” as they’re called in Britain, around 1890 when she would have been 71 years old, sported a 52-inch waistline.
“The items are very large,” confirmed auctioneer Michael Hogben. “She wore them towards the end of her life when she had eaten a lot more than most people could afford to.”
Indeed! The same auction in England also sold a chemise belonging to Queen Victoria — an upper-body undergarment that featured a mind-boggling 66-inch bust.
Queen Victoria was coronated Queen of the United Kingdom in 1838 and remained on the throne until her death at age 81. She gave her name to Britain’s “Victorian” era, a time when Britain ruled a vast empire as the world’s foremost military superpower. The period was known for its supposed stuffiness and repressive moral code, but it was also the era of Charles Darwin, Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, and Jack the Ripper.
The current Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is the great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
The royal underwear, after being given as gifts to Queen Victoria’s servants, found their way into a family in Kent, who kept them for more than 80 years before finally selling the intimate royal apparel.
“When they said they had a pair of Queen Victoria’s bloomers we didn’t believe it at first but they feature her emblem and there’s a number 36 on them, which was the laundry batch,” said Hogben. “In my 40 years I’ve never seen such a strange item generate such massive interest. We had calls from America, India, Israel and all over Britain.”
Queen Victoria’s royal granny panties were expected to fetch somewhere between $1,600 and $3,000 — but amazingly the prize kept rising, finally stopping just short of the five-figure mark, which is a lot to pay for anyone’s used underwear, royal or not.
The Queen Victoria underwear far outpaced the last pair of underpants sold by the same Westernhanger Auctioneers. Those underpants belonged to actor Orlando Bloom who wore them to film the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, and they sold for a relatively paltry $320.