According to him, the decorations were originally obtained by Elsie Young (1884-1959), second cousin of Isabella Whichcote. Isabella, the daughter of Sir Thomas Whichcote, had a grace and favour apartment in Hampton Court. She invited Young to a Christmas banquet when she received the decorations. Hadden said the Royal Collection Trust has noted that Queen Victoria often gifted items from her Christmas tree to guests.
Young then left them to her servant, Rosie Ellison. Hadden then acquired them from the Ellison’s descendants.
Hadden said: “I imagine Miss Young would have been an awestruck teenager when she was given Queen Victoria’s Christmas tree decorations in the late 1800s. She was fortunate enough to move in royal circles and would have been 16 in 1900. By that time Queen Victoria was close to the end of her life.”
Hadden has used the decorations on his own family Christmas tree but has now decided to sell them.
The small doll inside a woven crib and a wax doll (missing one leg) have now been consigned to Hansons’ auction in Etwall, Derbyshire, on December 7 with an estimate of £1000-1500.
Hadden has form with royal and political items. He loaned Mickey and Minnie Mouse toys belonging to Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret when they were children to Glamis Castle (see ATG No 2545), sold clothes belonging to Queen Elizabeth at auction and in October last year sold a painting depicting Margaret Thatcher, called First Time at The Box, by Alfred Reginald Thomson, at Sworders for a hammer price of £17,000 (ATG No 2566).