An item from Princess Diana‘s wardrobe — and a tool for her to play with paparazzi! — fetched a high price at a recent auction.
The royal’s Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt sold for $53,532, according to Boston-based RR Auction. The winning bid came from a collector based in California, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Diana was known for wearing the navy sweatshirt featuring the “Flying Lady” logo, a gift from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, to and from gym sessions. But the article of clothing served more than one purpose — in addition to being a comfortable cover-up, the royal mom wore it repeatedly to bore the paparazzi who were snapping photos of her.
Jenni Rivett, Diana’s longtime personal trainer who received the sweatshirt from Diana as a gift, recalled the story in a 2018 interview with the Yahoo! series The Royal Box.
“Every single session all the media were outside camped with their stepladders, and cameras and lenses and everything,” she said. “For her, she just found it so incredibly, ‘Why are they so interested in me when there are more important things to worry about in the world.’ It wasn’t her that asked for all this. I remember one of her strategies was that she was going to wear the same Virgin Active sweatshirt every single session.”
Included in the sale of the sweatshirt is a handwritten note signed by Princess Diana, which was given to Rivett when the royal presented her with the gift. It reads, “Dearest Jenni, Lots of love from, Diana, x.”
Rivett also wrote letters to accompany the sale.
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“This sweatshirt was given to HRH by Sir Richard Branson. It became her most worn top on her regular visits to the gym. She felt there were far more important issues to focus on in the world than her gym attire and therefore decided that wearing the famous Virgin sweatshirt to every session, would be a good way to stop the media frenzy!” she wrote, in part. “A few months before her untimely death, she called me to say she had left a few sweatshirts for me. Amongst them, this one — which I have now decided to part with.”
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Rivett, who served as the personal trainer to Princess Diana for over seven years, plans to donate the proceeds from the sale to help a Malawian family based in South Africa, where she is originally from.
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