A PAIR of royal stockings which once graced the legs of one of Britain’s greatest monarchs are being auctioned off in the region later this week.

The silk stockings belonged to Queen Victoria and experts say were believed to be one of her favourite pairs.

Dating from the 1870s, the historical hosiery comes embroidered with the royal VR monogram and will be auctioned off by Tennant’s Auction House in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, on Friday (April 26).

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Social history author Dulcie Lewis, from Carperby, near Leyburn, has written a book on the history of women’s undergarments, entitled Casting Off The Corsets: A Brief History of Underwear.

She said Queen Victoria’s under garments do occasionally come up for sale as she would strangely  give away her underwear as presents to people who worked for her.

All her undergarments would have her monogram embroidered on them.

“It seems a strange thing that these undergarments are up for sale, but I know, for example, that her very, very large knickers have also been in an auction,” said Mrs Lewis.

“The reason why these undergarments have lasted is she gave her knickers and her stockings away as presents to people who she liked. It was just something she did.

"Often her underwear would end up in the houses of people in the court or people who had done her a service.

“It seems extraordinary now, but she would wear them a few times then would give them away.”

A spokeswoman for the auction house said: “The stockings are understandably not in pristine condition; general, expected wear and tear and discolouration is all present but with such important history they are still estimated to make between £400-600.

“This particular style of stocking was thought to be Queen Victoria’s favourite and worn throughout the 1870's.”

Vintage clothing, textiles and other historical garments will also be going under the hammer on Friday.

They range from iconic flares to an Edwardian wedding dress and outfits worn by a husband and wife to the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

The auction begins at 10.30am. For more details of items due to be auctioned, visit the website: www.tennants.co.uk