Thursday, 27 December 2007


A letter written by the Queen Mother more than 80 years ago expressing concern over the high cost of fashion while looking for a new wardrobe to wear to Australia will be auctioned.

In the letter - dated September 27, 1926, and contained in the archive of court dressmakers Mme Handley Seymour - Queen Elizabeth, then the Duchess or York, asks the firm to examine her next bill before sending it as she thought some items in the previous one were "rather too expensive".

"I think it would be a good thing if you would do this as my clothes have cost a terrible lot lately," the letter says, according The Daily Telegraph.

"And I shall have to get some for Australia.
"Naturally I want to get them from you and it would be most helpful if you could see that they are not too dear."

The auctioneers expect the letter to fetch between £150 and £250 when it goes on sale on January 30 at Hampton and Littlewood Auctions in Exeter. However, I estimate that it will go a fair bit higher.

Auction house director Rachel Littlewood said the letter revealed the Queen Mother's concern about the cost of her clothes in her role as a key member of the Royal family.

"Despite the family's wealth, it seems she did not want to be over extravagant in those hard days, when the population was struggling after the Great War," she told the newspaper.

Among other items in the sale is a diamond-set bar brooch and a card inscribed "Madame Handley Seymour, with memories of many lovely dresses during the last 20 years - including my wedding dress and Coronation dress - from Elizabeth R."

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