Lot 217 - 1994 Audi Cabriolet (2.3 litre) Personal transport of Diana, Princess of Wales
|Odometer reading||22,001 miles|
|Estimate||£49,000 - £62,000|
- Personal transport of Diana, Princess of Wales
- Offered with photos and details of Royal ownership
Twenty-year-old Lady Diana Spencer became Princess of Wales when she married the Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral. The service was widely described as a 'fairytale wedding' and was watched by a global television audience of 750 million people while 600,000 spectators lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple en route to the ceremony. The Princess developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy. In recognition of her effect as a philanthropist, Stephen Lee, director of the UK Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers, said "Her overall effect on charity is probably more significant than any other person's in the 20th century." She was the patroness of many charities and organisations, working with the homeless, youth, drug addicts, the elderly and, famously, landmines. From 1989, she was president of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children right up until her untimely death in 1997.
After her divorce, and no longer obliged to travel in Royal Household limousines, Diana's chosen mode of transport was a sparkling metallic green Audi Cabriolet and, of course, every time she left home the clatter of 1,000 camera shutters captured her every move - such was the life of the most photographed person on earth and thus quite possibly the most photographed car at that time.
Diana's beloved Audi caused some consternation when first seen; choosing a German car manufacturer was in stark contrast to the usual best of British only manufacturers seen transporting the Royal family. L449 TRP was a new 1994, 5-cylinder, automatic, 2.3-litre Cabriolet finished in Gomera Pearl with Parchment leather and cream carpets and was presented to Diana for her personal use by Dovercourt Audi of St Johns Wood, and first registered on 7th March 1994. Very few cars are actually owned by the Royal Mews, apart from the limousines intended for State use, and most vehicles made available for 'junior' royalty are provided by manufacturers hopeful of some beneficial exposure, and this Audi Cabriolet was no exception. At around 4,000 miles and, possibly in the hope of keeping the press guessing, the Audi was eventually returned to Dovercourt.
In July 1994, Iain Campbell Dale a well-known and much respected political commentator, broadcaster, publisher and author, purchased the car from Dovercourt Audi and sold it to its third owner who, coincidentally, lived next to Kensington Palace. He owned the car for the next 17 years and maintained it in excellent condition until it was purchased, in 2013, by a collector. Our vendor purchased L449 TRP at auction in 2016 and since then it has been on display at his showroom and kept in fabulous condition.
This immaculately presented Audi Cabriolet comes supplied with a history file containing the relevant handbooks and manuals and several good-quality photographs of Diana using the car. One such photograph, with the registration number clearly visible, shows the two young Princes in the car with Diana as she enjoyed a period of independence with her beloved sons, one of whom is destined to become King and the other set to marry in another fairytale wedding at Windsor on the day of our upcoming May auction. All of us at Historics wish Prince Harry and his bride Meghan Markle many years of happiness.
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Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.