'Muddy bunch of rags' found at the bottom of the North Sea
- On 26/04/2016
- In Wreck Diving
By Hugo Gye - Mail Online
A collection of rags found at the bottom of the North Sea has been revealed to contain a luxurious wardrobe which may have belonged to one of Charles I's female courtiers.
Divers off the coast of the Netherlands found the treasure, which came from a shipwreck, after it was exposed by a storm which washed away silt that had covered it for four centuries.
When they separated the items, they realised that they had discovered one remarkably well-preserved dress as well as a book linking the find to the Stuart dynasty.
And now researchers have found a letter which proves that one of the ships carrying the retinue of Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I, to Holland in 1642 sank in the same area as the new discovery.
They have been able to make a tentative suggestion that the gown could have belonged to Jane Ker, Countess of Roxburghe, a controversial Catholic adviser to the queen who accompanied her on the voyage in the early years of the English Civil War.
Divers from the Dutch island of Texel frequently stumble upon old shipwrecks because the area was used by vessels as a safe harbour while they were ploughing the North Sea, and many got in trouble while entering or leaving the region.
They first found the Stuart haul in August 2014, shortly after the treasure was uncovered from the silt due to turbulent conditions.