‘Iconic’ bag used by late House of Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd is set to go on auction

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Betty Boothroyd died in February aged 93 - and previously made history as the first female Commons Speaker when she overturned 700 years of parliamentary tradition

An ‘iconic’ bag owned by House of Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd is being sold just weeks after she died aged 93. Boothroyd made history as the first female Commons Speaker (1992-2000).

Her iconic workbag, which comes with her name etched in it, alongside the words ‘Royal Bag’, will go under the hammer this Saturday (March 25). The bag currently has a guide price of just £70 - £100, but is likely to fetch much more in the wake of her death.

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Auctioneer Chris Kirkham, associate director of Hansons London, said: “Betty Boothroyd was a remarkable woman in every sense.In the wake of her passing, we feel privileged to offer this exceptional memento, used by a former MP who, over time, became a national treasure.

“I had the privilege of liaising with the baroness when she auctioned around 70 personal treasures in 2021.She had to let go of mementos when she downsized from her London apartment to a cottage in Cambridgeshire.

“It was a wonderful experience. She was such a character. We were all deeply saddened to hear of her loss. Now we have an opportunity to remind the nation of why she was so special.

“The briefcase-style item is a ‘Royal bag’, and rightly so considering her phenomenal career. It is labelled with her name and has a guide price of £70-£100. However, it should fly higher as she is held in such high esteem.

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Hansons / SWNS

“We know this from the previous sale of her items. Her popularity blended with political provenance proved irresistible to bidders. For example, a 20th century Papier-mâché box given to her as a gift by Russian president Boris Yeltsin, soared to £2,400 - 48 times its £50 estimate.”

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