Princess Diana’s Ford Escort engagement present to be sold at auction
The 1981 model, with a silver frog mascot on the bonnet, could sell for up to $56,640
A Ford Escort car given to the late Princess Diana as an engagement present by Prince Charles is being sold at auction and could fetch up to £40,000 ($56,640).
The car is in excellent condition, boasting its original paint job and upholstery, and a silver frog mascot on the bonnet – a copy of a gift from Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah Spencer.
The royal link means the 1981 Ford Escort MkIII Ghia 1.6L, with only 83,000 miles on the clock, could spark a bidding war among collectors.
The car disappeared from public view for more than 20 years, but its current owner knew the Escort’s royal pedigree as she drove around Hertfordshire, England.
“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,” said Tina Kirkpatrick.
“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.
“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.”
The Ford was Princess Diana’s personal transport in the early days of her relationship with the Prince of Wales and there are numerous photographs of her driving it. She was also photographed sitting inside it watching the prince playing polo.
It comes complete with the silver frog mascot, a gift to remind her of the fairy tale of a beautiful girl whose kiss turns a frog into a prince.
In 1995, the car was bought by an antiques dealer as a birthday present for his daughter. It was subsequently sold to Mrs Kirkpatrick.
James Grinter, managing director of Reeman Dansie Auctions, said he was amazed by the condition of the car, which is important to collectors.
Another of Diana’s cars, her Audi convertible, sold last year for £58,000.
The Escort will be sold on June 29.
Updated: June 8, 2021 10:45 PM