Prince Charles' engagement present to Princess Diana is up for sale: "It's a lovely step back in time"

Prince Charles' engagement present to Princess Diana is up for sale: "It's a lovely step back in time"

Princess Diana drove the car for little more than a year before being sold to a private owner in August 1982.

A few months before their royal wedding, Prince Charles gifted the late Princess Diana a brand new silver Ford. It is now up for sale. The 1981 Ford Escort Ghia saloon was presented to the bride-to-be as an engagement gift in May 1981, just two months before the Prince of Wales and Princess Di tied the knot at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. After using it for a little more than a year, the car was sold to a private owner in August 1982. That being said, a "great admirer" of Diana carefully stored the car in a garage for most of the past 20 years. "The car has been dry stored for quite a few years," revealed Lewis Rabett from Reeman Dansie auctioneers. 


Rabett expects the car to bring in up to $55,000, when it's auctioned off on June 29. "This is really nice because keeping it stored in a dry barn or garage has kept it in a really nice condition. Escorts of that age weren't like modern cars with really good galvanizing and rust proofing, so a lot of them have just rusted away. Now, 40 years later, you don't tend to find Escorts at all, let alone ones with the provenance of this car," continued Rabett according to PEOPLE. "I've driven the car myself and it's a lovely step back in time," he noted adding that Diana was regularly seen and photographed driving the car or just sitting inside while watching Charles play polo. 


As for the royal vehicle, it has traveled 83,000 miles since Diana began driving it. Apart from being 'Princess Diana's car,' it has retained its original upholstery and paintwork. The car even has its original license plate, i.e. WEV 297W, intact. The hood of the motor vehicle also features a silver frog mascot, which has a very personal symbolism. It is apparently, a copy of the wedding gift that Diana's sister, Lady Sarah Spencer presented her as a reminder of a fairy tale where a beautiful girl turns a frog into a prince with her kiss. 


"Even the radio is a 1980s Ford radio," added Rabett. "Nobody has changed it and fitted a super modern thing, so it's just as Diana would have driven it." He continued, "Just the fact it's silver makes a difference. It's a very bright shade of silver and just really shines in the sunlight." Describing how it feels to sit behind the wheels that were once held by Diana, he said, "It was very surreal to sit behind the wheel and think who would have been there at an early part of her life when she was young and before she went on to do all that she did in her unfortunately very short life." 

Apart from the sale of the silver Ford, a new exhibit at Kensington Palace, London, this month displayed Diana's intricate wedding dress for the first time in 25 years. The exhibit called Royal Style in the Making features the gown with a scooped neckline and dramatic 25-foot train designed by David Emanuel and Elizabeth. It opened on June 3.  

Cover image source: Colin Davey / Stringer - Getty Images

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