This month, a personal item from the earlier years of Queen Victoria’s historic 63-year reign is going up for sale.
Queen Victoria’s slippers will be sold by UK auction house Bellmans on May 26 in a sale which also includes several items relating to Winston Churchill. The cream satin ballet-style slippers are decorated with gold thread and were made in the 1840s or 1850s, when Victoria would have been in her 20s and 30s. “What’s nice about these is that they are a personal item, they are a very tangible link to her and to history,” specialist in charge of the auction Julian Dineen tells T&C. “To be able to hold these slippers and think that Queen Victoria as a young women would have held these herself and worn these herself I think gives it a real personal connection, a tangible link to this historical figure.”
They were crafted by boot and shoe makers to the royal family, Gundry & Sons, and it is understood that Victoria gave them to her Mistress of the Robes, Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland, whose descendants sold them to the current owner in the year 2000. Bellmans says the slippers are expected to sell for between £2,000 to £3,000.
The shoes are 23.5 cm long, which suggests that Victoria had small feet. However, Bellmans notes that,“Shoes like these were used for dancing and indoor wear and were often a few sizes too small to make the women’s feet look more delicate.” It is a little-known fact that Victoria loved dancing, and she and Prince Albert, who she married in 1940, hosted lavish costume balls at Buckingham Palace.
Victoria lived to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 before she died in 2001 aged 81 having reigned for 63 years and seven months. A terracotta plaque commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee is also included in the auction, with an estimate of £300 – £400.
Items belonging to Winston Churchill that are for sale include three brandy balloon glasses, decorated in white enamel with the monogram WSC which are expected to fetch £7,000 – £10,000 each. A discarded cigar butt that belonged to the former prime minister is also for sale having been passed down through the family of the Scotland Yard policeman who picked it up. It is sold with a piece of paper in three parts inscribed ‘THROWN AWAY TUESDAY SEPT *** 194* BY RT HON WINSTON CHURCHILL.’ It is estimated to sell for £800 – £1,200.