King Charles I and Charles II had tennis outfits, textile historian reveals
Kings Charles I and II had luxurious outfits specially made to play tennis in, a textile historian has revealed.
References to the elegant garments were discovered in royal archives by the University of Southampton's Professor Maria Hayward.
She found Charles I wore a close-fitting jacket with open seams and Charles II had a linen fabric outfit.
The 17th Century Stuart kings would have played real rather than lawn tennis.
Professor Hayward was carrying out what is thought to be the first academic research into the clothing worn by Charles I and II.
She found records of the tennis outfits in the Great Wardrobe and the Wardrobe of the Robes - departments of the royal household responsible for buying fabric for the monarch's clothes and furnishings.Luxurious lace
Professor Hayward said: "The outfits were made from high-quality materials, but were relatively inexpensive compared to their usual clothes.
"They also wore specially made tennis shoes and socks."
Charles I's outfit was made of satin, damask and silver stuff - a fabric with metal thread woven into it. It was coloured in fashionable primrose, rose and crimson.
Charles II wore either a coat, or waistcoat, with breeches, but his outfit was made of Holland - a cream-coloured linen fabric.
Professor Hayward also discovered the kings played with racquet frames bordered with luxurious lace.
Real tennis is usually played on an indoor court with walls on all sides which the ball can bounce off.