Ford Escort given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles sells for £52,000 at auction

The 1981 MkIII Ghia 1.6l was gifted to the late royal as an engagement present by the heir to the British throne

A Ford Escort given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles months before their wedding has sold at auction.

The MkIII Ghia 1.6L went under the hammer on Tuesday, with a museum in South America offering a winning bid of more than £52,000 ($72,000).

The car was gifted to the late royal by the heir to the British throne as an engagement present in May 1981, two months before they married at London's St Paul's Cathedral.

The Ford Escort, which had 133,576 kilometres miles on the clock, was bought at a virtual sale held by the UK's Reeman Dansie Auctioneers. It will be shipped to the yet-unnamed museum in South America.

The silver Ghia saloon was often driven by Princess Diana in the early days of her relationship with the Prince of Wales, and she was famously photographed inside it as she once watched Prince Charles play polo.

The royal, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, stopped using the vehicle in 1982, and it was later bought by an antiques dealer. For the past 20 years, it has been owned by a British woman who kept its origins under close wraps.

"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," previous owner Tina Kirkpatrick said ahead of the auction.

"I have driven it around as a second car ever since. A lot of people asked me why I had it and I used to tell them that it was my 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."

The 1981 model features a silver frog on its bonnet, a copy of the original mascot given to Princess Diana by her sister, Lady Sarah Spencer. It also boasts its original registration plate – WEV 297W – as well as its original paintwork, radio and upholstery.

Reeman Dansie had estimated that the car would fetch between £30,000 and £40,000. With fees, the final selling price was £52,640.

"The interest has been considerable pre-auction," auctioneer Lewis Rabett said.

"Ending up in South America is testament to the level of interest globally that there's been in the car. It's also testament to Diana and her enduring legacy."

Another of Princess Diana's cars, an Audi convertible, sold last year for £58,000.

The royal, who would have turned 60 on Thursday, July 1, will be honoured this week with the unveiling of a statue at Kensington Palace.

Her sons, Princes William and Harry, are set to reveal the piece, which has been created by artist Ian Rank-Broadley, at the palace on the anniversary of her birthday.

Updated: June 30th 2021, 10:29 AM
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