Car given to Princess Diana as engagement present from Prince Charles set for auction

Owner of 1981 Ford Escort kept its royal provenance a secret for more than 20 years

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:10 pm

A car given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles as an engagement present is set to be auctioned after being kept a secret for more than 20 years.

The 1981 Ford Escort Ghia Saloon was gifted to the late Princess of Wales by her fiancée in May 1981, two months before their wedding.

Princess Diana, whose family home is Althorp in Northamptonshire, was frequently photographed driving the vehicle and sitting inside it while watching her husband play polo.

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Princess Diana's 1981 Ford Escort, complete with silver frog mascot on the bonnet, is being auctioned later this month. Photos: Reeman Dansie and Getty Images
Princess Diana's 1981 Ford Escort, complete with silver frog mascot on the bonnet, is being auctioned later this month. Photos: Reeman Dansie and Getty Images

The Escort still carries its original registration, WEV 297W, and retains its original paint and upholstery, with 83,000 miles on the clock.

It comes complete with a silver frog mascot on the bonnet, a copy of a gift from the princess's sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, to remind her of the fairy tale of a beautiful girl whose kiss turns a frog into a prince.

Specialist royalty auctioneers Reeman Dansie, based in Colchester, Essex, estimates it to fetch between £30,000 and £40,000 when it goes under the hammer on June 29.

Managing director James Grinter said: "I was amazed by the originality of the car which is important to collector’s who put a high value on owning something that was a personal possession of the late princess.

"The lady owner is a great admirer of Princess Diana and has always cherished the car and its royal history, so much so she kept its royal provenance a secret even from her friends.

One of Princess Diana’s other iconic cars, her Audi convertible, sold last year for £58,000.