Private letters written by Princess Diana are set to go on auction in England and are expected to sell for £90 000 (about R1,9 million) in total.
The People's Princess, who died in a car crash in August 1997, wrote the letters to her friends Susie and Tarek Kassem in late 1995 and 1996 while she and Charles were in the throes of their divorce.
Diana and Charles separated in December 1992 after 11 years of marriage, although their divorce was finalised only in 1996. During that time Charles sought comfort with his mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, who is now his wife.
Diana confided in the Kassems about her loneliness and unhappiness during one of the most painful chapters of her life, in which the eyes of the world were on her and she was hounded by the media.
She revealed she wouldn’t have agreed to separate if she knew it was going to be so “desperate and ugly”.
The Kassems, who live in London, say they want to sell the letters because “owning the documents is a great responsibility” that they did not want to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
The 32 letters will go to Lay’s auctioneers of Penzance in Cornwall and will be sold individually. with all the proceeds going to charities Diana supported.
In one letter dating back to 28 April 1996, the princess wrote how sorry she was to cancel a trip to the opera with the couple due to the strain of her separation.
27 April 1996: Princess Diana and her friend, Susie Kassem, are seen walking along the Fulham Road, Knightsbridge, London pic.twitter.com/ycUpmbaewk— ALL PRINCESS DIANA (@princessdibooks) April 26, 2020
“I am having a very difficult time and pressure is serious and coming from all sides,” she wrote. “It’s too difficult sometimes to keep one’s head up and today I am on my knees and just longing for this divorce to go through as the possible cost is tremendous.”
READ MORE | Princess Diana's dress to sell for R1,32 million
On 20 May 1996 she revealed her fears that the phones at Kensington Palace were bugged.
Diana thanked her friends repeatedly for “listening to all my chat” and for inviting her to spend an otherwise lonely Christmas and Easter with them.
She wrote, “It’s nice to be a threesome!”
The princess first met the couple in August 1995 during one of her regular visits to the Royal Brompton Hospital, where they worked.
On 2 December 1995 – the day after the late queen advised Charles and Diana to divorce – she wrote, “I may have been described as a butterfly but I don’t want to fly away from this lovely family [the Kassems].”
She also wrote how “immensely touched” she was by “how protective you both are of me . . . I’m not used to that!”
The auction is set to take place on 16 February.
READ MORE | Princess Diana’s beloved black Ford Escort set to go under the hammer
Many of Diana's personal possessions have gone under the hammer over the years. Her beloved black Ford Escort RS Turbo, which she drove around London in the mid-1980s, was auctioned off last year to a buyer in Cheshire for £650 000 (R13 million).
A strapless purple silk-velvet gown, which was made for her in 1989 by Edelstein, was sold by Sotheby’s for £604 800 (R12 million).
The auction house also recently auctioned off one of the princess' precious pieces of jewellery – an amethyst and diamond Atallah cross.
There were four bidders on the item, however the cross, which Diana wore once at a charity gala on 17 October 1987 in London, ended up being snapped up by reality star Kim Kardashian for $197 453 (around R3,4 million).
According to the auction house, the American purchased the cross for “more than double its pre-auction estimate.”
READ MORE | Princess Diana’s former South African trainer puts famous sweatshirt on auction
In 2019 Diana's beloved workout sweater was auctioned off for more than $5 000 (about R71 013).
The garment, which features the Virgin logo along with the words "Fly Atlantic", was sold by Princess Di’s personal trainer, Jenni Rivett, through a Boston-based PR Auction.
Jenni, a South African expat living in the UK, worked with the princess between 1990 and 1997. She said Diana always wore the same sweatshirt when they met to work out.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, mirror.co.uk, bbc.com, today.com