A 141-year old XXL nightdress and chemise owned by Queen Victoria are expected to fetch thousands of pounds at auction later this week.
The roomy night garments were worn by Britain's longest serving monarch after she gained weight following the death of Prince Albert.
The Widow of Windsor gifted the regal attire to a retiring royal maid in the 1800s before being kept by automotive pioneer Hubert Noel Charles, who designed the first MG car.
Hubert's niece, Hilary Aston, 79, is now selling the grand nightwear, which could fetch up to £11,000 when they go under the hammer on December 7.
The retired former language school owner, from Oxford, said: "This nightdress was given to me by my uncle and aunt before they died.
"My Uncle was Hubert Noel Charles [1893 – 1982] who designed the first MG motorcar.
"The nightdress belonged to his parents, his father being a well-known London solicitor, Thomas Charles.
"The Charles family employed several staff, one being a maid who had previously worked for the Royal Household of Queen Victoria. When she left her employment, she was given the nightwear as a gift.
"Apparently, staff who either retired or left were given a gift of something belonging to the Queen.
"In 2009 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London authenticated both items as Queen Victoria's garments. They told me that the chemise in particular was very rare."
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The nightie is embroidered with the letters VR – standing for Victoria Regina – and is expected to sell for between £4,000 – £6,000.
The ample chemise has an estimate of £3,000 – £5,000 and will be sold by Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbys.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: "We understand the royal nightgown and chemise date to around 1880.
"As our vendor says, it was customary to give departing staff items belonging to the Queen.
"It's noted in Queen Victoria's journal that there was a method regarding the distribution of her discarded clothes. Such a process would be carried out discreetly through personal staff.
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"The nightdress carries the Queen's cypher embroidered in white and, stitched onto the garment, is a numbering system.
"The chemise has an emblem relating to Queen Victoria under the arm. Items like this would have been worn in rotation.
"Though Queen Victoria was only 4ft 11ins and petite when she became Queen at 18, her waist expanded to 50 inches over the decades – a fact underlined by the ample size of these floaty garments."
In 2008, a pair of Queen Victoria's bloomers with a 50ins waist was sold by the auctioneers for £4,500, a chemise for £3,800 and a nightdress for £5,200.
They sparked an international buying battle with bids from Brazil, Russia, Hong Kong and New York.
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Queen Victoria's black mourning outfit from 1890, owned by a former royal lady-in-waiting, was contested to £4,400 in 2012.
Shortly before the lockdown in February 2020, a collection of Queen Victoria's clothing and boots sold for a total hammer price of £16,500.
Charles added: "The 2020 sale had a particularly happy ending because a large part of the collection was saved for the nation.
"Two pairs of leather boots, a black taffeta skirt and two bodices were secured for a total of £14,000 by Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity which looks after London's Kensington Palace, Victoria's place of birth.
"Those particular items were found in a Norfolk wardrobe.
"The seller's great-great grandfather, Alexander Lamont Henderson, worked as a royal photographer for Queen Victoria."
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