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Forbes family sells royal bloomers

By Attracta Mooney

It wasn’t exactly a case of selling the family silver, but the Forbes family did auction off many of its Victorian treasures, including a pair of Queen Victoria’s bloomers, in the UK this week.

With the family business and its flagship magazine reportedly struggling, the family behind the billionaire rich list has been offloading assets of late. Not only did it get rid of the world’s largest private collection of Fabergé eggs, the family’s London home, Old Battersea House, and much of the artwork that hangs on the walls of the Grade-II listed property were put on the market.

But it’s not just the house’s art that’s raising headlines - Old Battersea House has proved to be a real treasure trove of quirky royal memorabilia. As well as Queen Victoria’s voluminous undergarment, which sold for an impressive £9,375 (€10,860), a pair of her silk stockings fetched £5,000.

A painting depicting the monarch and her servant John Brown, which was given to Brown for his 50th birthday, went under the hammer for £145,250 at the sale, held in Edinburgh.

The publishing family has always been a sociable bunch, hosting many big names at the property over the years, including former US president Ronald Reagan. Elizabeth Taylor also stayed at the house on one of her many honeymoons. The four-poster bed she shared with seventh husband Lord Fortensky was another of the items up for auction – it fetched £9,375.

The auction made more than £3 million in total.

For those who missed out, Old Battersea House is still on the market – a snip at just £12 million.