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Diana’s 1981 Ford Escort to be auctioned

Russ Quinlan, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The 1981 Ford Escort of the late Diana, Princess of Wales is set to go under the hammer. The current owner has kept the origins of the car a secret for the last 20 years.

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An engagement present from the Prince of Wales in 1981, the car is estimated to bring in somewhere between £30,000 and £40,000 when it’s listed at Reeman Dansie’s Royalty, Antiques and Fine Art Sale in Essex on 29 June. The car has its original registration, 83,000 miles on the clock, and it still has its original paintwork, upholstery, and original license plate. There is also a copy of a silver frog mascot bonnet given as a gift to Diana by her sister, Lady Sarah Spencer. The bonnet is reportedly to symbolise the fairytale nature of Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles.

Diana drove the silver Mk III Ghia for just over a year, driving it to polo matches and social gatherings. Just before the birth of Prince William in 1982, Diana turned it in. It was sold in 1995 to an antique dealer as a special birthday present for his daughter. Since then, the current owner, Tina Kirkpatrick, has been in possession of the car.

Kirkpatrick has been described as a “great admirer” of the Princess. The auctioneers said she kept the car’s royal connection a secret from friends and has effectively disappeared it from public view for more than 20 years. A spokeswoman for the auction house confirmed the vehicle’s royal history, confirming the vehicle was registered to Diana.

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“Of course, I knew when I bought it that it once belonged to Princess Diana, that is why I wanted it. I was a big fan of hers. I have driven it around as a second car ever since.,” Kirkpatrick told The Times. “A lot of people ask me why I had it, and I used to tell them that it was the first car I passed my test in and that I was attached to it. I felt that its history and provenance were so unique, and I didn’t want many people knowing.”

“I have maintained it and had it regularly serviced and kept it in my garage. It is an excellent little runner and has always been reliable. I have had it for 20 years and now feel the time is right to sell it on.

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A green Audi convertible previously owned by the Princess of Wales from March to July 1994 was sold last year. The vehicle failed to sell on another two occasions.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.