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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 00:48 GMT 01:48 UK
Rare rocking horse to go on show
Rocking horse
The rocking horse is thought to have belonged to Charles I
The UK's oldest rocking horse, believed to have once belonged to Charles I, is to go on display at the revamped V&A Museum of Childhood.

The 17th Century horse, made from softwood and elm, was bought for the museum for 25,000 from a collector.

It will be displayed at the east London museum when it reopens in December following a 4.7m refurbishment.

Experts believe the horse may have been given to Charles to help build up his weak legs after suffering from rickets.

Civil war

Noreen Marshall, curator at the Museum of Childhood, said it was exceptional that the rocking horse had survived all this time.

"Like so many historical toys it could so easily have been destroyed by woodworm, thrown away, or put on a bonfire," she said.

"Children's toys have not always been highly regarded as important objects and an association with Charles I could have put it at even higher risk, especially as a consequence of the Civil War."

It is thought the horse would have been kept at Theobalds Palace in Herts, a favourite residence of James VI, Charles' father.

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