Altering the coat

While Fritz was recovering, he used a sling of silk made for his left arm. After three weeks he began his regular schooling again but he wasn’t completely well until three months later. The grateful young prince gave the king’s doctor, Dr. Fenger, a gold snuffbox when he was completely recovered. The same doctor had incidentally also received a snuff box when he assisted at the prince’s birth in 1808.

When Prince Frederik was well enough to leave his bed, his hand was still heavily bandaged, and couldn’t be stuck through a narrow sleeve. To help him, the sleeve was opened along the top seam from shoulder to cuff, edged with a narrow blue silk ribbon, and seven sets of ribbons for tying were sewn on. When the sleeve was opened, the boy could lay his arm into it, after which the bows were tied and the sleeve brought into its proper place. (Today there are hospital garments which can be opened in the same way, for the use of patients who, for example, have an intravenous needle in their arm.)

The prince’s coat was undoubtedly not used after his bandages were removed, or the ribbon ties would have been taken off and the sleeve stitched back together. The coat had probably been in use for some time when the accident happened, as it is rather worn – the lining in the right armpit is worn through – and it could hardly have seen heavy use after the accident. Repeated sets of sweat stains in the armscyes must date from before the accident.

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