Letter from 1660 signed by Charles II, £5500 at Roseberys.

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It sold to a phone bidder who saw off fierce online competition on March 20 in an auction held by south London saleroom Roseberys (26/25/20% buyer’s premium).

Estimated at £2000-3000, it hammered down at £5500.

The letter on laid paper, folded, with armorial watermark, is addressed to the Countess of Marischal thanking her for preserving his regalia in his exile. Although signed by the king (by Charles II Your affectionate frind Charles R) the letter is inscribed by another hand.

By yet another hand, the front of the page is inscribed The Kings Letter from London to the Countess Marishall 4th Septr. 1660 / For the Countess of Marishall Douager / Ed 26. August 1702 … by Alexr Troup…. by act of Parliament.

The letter has been professionally restored and laid down on tissue-thin paper, with the top edge shaped and the seal reapplied.

Restored monarch

Charles II entered London on May 29, 1660, his 30th birthday, and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on April 23, 1661.

‘The Countess Marishall’ refers to Mary Erskine Countess Marischal (c.1597-1664). The role of the Marischal was to serve as custodian of the royal regalia of Scotland, and to protect the king’s person when attending parliament.

In 1651, the regalia of Scotland were committed by the Earl Marischal to his own castle, Dunnottar, for safe custody and George Oglivie of Barras was placed in command of them.

Letters related to the Scottish regalia were in the archive of the family of Ogilvie of Barras, some of which are now on deposit at the National Library of Scotland.