Letter: King in a nightie

James Hall
Wednesday 23 September 1998 23:02 BST

Sir: The revelation that the shirt which King Charles I is said to have worn to his execution is in fact a lady's nightdress (report, 23 September) does not necessarily meant that it is inauthentic.

Charles I and his courtiers were arguably the most foppish group ever to rule a European state. You only have to look at Van Dyck's portraits. These aristocrats are daintiness personified - magnificently fragile and exquisitely perfumed. They were astonishing aesthetes, too, buying up the masterpieces of European, and especially Italian, painting as if there were no tomorrow.

It is quite logical, therefore, that King Charles I should choose to wear women's clothing on his date with destiny. This revelation is a cause for celebration. In these post-Diana times, the Royal Family should relish the fact that one of their great forebears was a transvestite.


London SW11

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