‘Royal’ 17th century dress found under sand off the coast of Texel

Photo: Kaap SkilPhoto: Kaap Skil

A 17th century silk dress found buried in sand by divers in the Wadden Sea is one of the most significant maritime finds ever made, experts said on Thursday.

The dress, other items of clothing and day-to-day artifacts such as a comb, books and a pomander, were found by divers in the wreck of a ship near the island of Texel. The dress, which experts say was probably owned by a noblewoman, if not royalty, is in remarkably good condition, which is very rare for a dress of its age.

The dress has gone on show for a month at the Kaap Skil maritime and beachcombers museum on the island.




Made of silk damask with a pattern of flowers, the dress was probably for everyday use because it does not have silver or gold embroidery, the museum said in a press release. Other items of clothing found under the sand were richly embroidered.

All the clothing is a similar size, indicating it belonged to the same woman.

A leather book cover also found in the wreck carries the coat of arms of the British king Charles 1. ‘This is direct evidence that at least part of the cargo belonged to the English royal family, the Stuarts,’ the museum said. ‘Given the richness of the rest of the cargo, this is not entirely impossible.’


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