Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Worth Mentioning: The Royal Unmentionables

A pair of drawers and a linen chemise that once belonged to Queen Victoria (1819-1901) have been restored to Britain's Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at London's Kensington Palace.

Although Victoria had a sylphlike 20-inch waist when she became queen at the age of eighteen, decades of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and unhappiness when she was widowed in 1861 at the age of forty-two, took their toll.

The pair of drawers, with its 56-inch waist have a matching chemise (which is quite voluminous). Both unmentionables are embroidered with a "VR" (which stands for Victoria Regina, Latin for Queen Victoria) and are believed to date from the 1890s.

In my nonfiction debut, ROYAL AFFAIRS there is a chapter on Victoria's relationship with one of her Highland ghillies, John Brown, and the rampant innuendo that speculated on whether they became sexually involved, leading to her nickname of "Mrs. Brown."

And in NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES, which will be published on January 5, 2010, you can read a chapter on one of the greatest real-life love stories in English history, Victoria's marriage to her first cousin, Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Theirs was the rare happy royal marriage.

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