Camilla tours Jane Austen’s home and sees Mr Darcy’s famous white shirt

The Duchess of Cornwall toured the Hampshire home where Austen lived from 1809 to 1817.

06 April 2022

The Duchess of Cornwall was left disappointed when a tour of Jane Austen’s former home featured Mr Darcy’s famous shirt – but no Colin Firth.

Firth’s brooding depiction of the aloof romantic hero, in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride And Prejudice, inspired a new generation of Austen readers.

Camilla is clearly among the fans who remember the scene where Mr Darcy emerged from a swim in a lake with his shirt dripping wet.

Royal visit to Hampshire
Camilla inspects the famous white shirt (Finnbarr Webster/PA)

The duchess, an avid Austen reader, was taken on a tour of the author’s former home in the village of Chawton, near Winchester in Hampshire, and was shown clothing from recent television and film adaptations of the 19th century author’s work, including Mr Darcy’s shirt.

“But he’s not in it, that’s a bit sad,” Camilla joked after being shown the shirt by Lizzie Dunford, director of Jane Austen’s House, who replied: “I know, that’s sad, and it’s not quite as damp as it was.”

The duchess quipped: “You could give it a good spray.”

Royal visit to Hampshire
Lizzie Dunford shows Camilla a first edition of Pride And Prejudice (Finnbarr Webster/PA)

Austen lived at the home from 1809 until the year of her death, 1817, with her mother and sister, both called Cassandra, and friend Martha Lloyd.

During this settled period in her life she wrote, revised and published her six celebrated novels.

Speaking about Mr Darcy’s shirt, Ms Dunford told Camilla: “It’s a wonderful artefact, one of the reasons we wanted to show it was that 1995 production was so transformative for people loving Pride And Prejudice.

“That scene, we all watched it, everyone, and this production brought so many people to Jane Austen, which is why it’s quite a significant artefact.”

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