Royal Undercover Story

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council, Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

For this week’s blog, we hand over, once again, to one of the Yeovil University Centre Students, that evidently enjoyed a certain ‘Royal Connection’ and provides a personal reaction to Queen Victoria’s chemise!

After spending some time in CHAC with the marvellous Clare Robinson and Joseph Lewis, we were allowed to roam the halls of their storage units, filled with artefacts from a variety of decades.

My eyes had never bequeathed such glory until the day they allowed us to view the late Queen Victoria’s chemise. I now take pride in telling people that I have seen the undergarments of a Queen and the impeccable quality of this hand-made garment speaks for itself. Surprisingly, the chemise was very white in colour, even though Queen Victoria is known for her all-black fashion sense, but then I suppose it may have become difficult to distinguish underwear from outerwear if it had all been black. The style of lace used can withstand the pressure of any amount of royal cleaning; and the Queen clearly cut no corners in making the most of her luxurious chemise. Gloved up and ready to delve in hands first, I could barely contain my excitement, holding it up against oneself and cowering over the sheer size of such an epic vestment. In a sheer state of wonderment I couldn’t tell if my excitement came from my love of seeing history first hand, or if it stemmed from the fact that I’d touched Queen Victoria’s underwear (not many people in the world could say they had achieved such an honour).

Some of you may be wondering how such an artefact could fall into the hands of a Community Heritage Access Centre. Now, to stop all you with a vivid imagination thinking that someone with a particular fetish had broken into Queen Victoria’s underwear drawer, I can assure you that this was not the case. With each donation, the Centre creates a record of how they obtained an artefact; an acquisition register, which provides proof that no underwear drawer diving had occurred. This particular garment had been donated by one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting. It is to be understood that the Queen had gifted the chemise to E.M Miss Troyte- Bullock along with a hat and a pair of stockings. (One lucky lady if you ask me). The assumed time of Queen Victoria’s generosity is around the Diamond Jubilee Procession.

Since last viewing the glorious chemise Clare and Joseph have ordered a special costume box to better store this impeccable product; as it had been folded up before, damaging some of the fibres, causing weak points in the fabric. We can all feel safe in the knowledge that Queen Victoria’s underwear is in safe hands and is being taken care of to the highest of standards.

One of our Yeovil University Centre Students enjoyed their visit – and especially Queen Victoria’s chemise!

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