The suit was made for James II when, as Duke of York, he married his second wife, the 14-year-old Mary of Modena, in the hope of producing a male heir to the throne. Mary was a fervent Catholic, and the wedding was opposed by the court of the ageing Charles II.
The pair must have made an odd couple - James had a slight, girlish figure, while Mary was described as "tall, and admirably shaped". Nevertheless, the pair were wed in 1673 at a ceremony boycotted by almost all the court except the loyal Sir Edward Carteret, to whom James gave the suit in gratitude. It passed to Sir Edward's widow and then to her sister Anne Durell, later wife of Matthew de Sausmarez of Guernsey. It has been kept at the Sausmarez Manor on Guernsey ever since.
Mary did give birth to a son, James Stuart, who spent most of his life in exile, although Anne and Mary, James's daughters by his first marriage, both became Queen.Reuse content