Ford Escort Prince Charles gave to Princess Diana sells for £52,000

Diana’s Royal Escort sells for £52,000: 1980 Silver Ford that was engagement gift from Prince Charles sells to overseas museum for £10,000 more than expected

  • Diana was given the silver 1.6L Ghia saloon by the Prince of Wales as an engagement present in May 1981 
  • She stopped using car soon after Prince William’s birth in 1982, and it was bought for by an antiques dealer
  • It was then purchased by royal fan Tina Kirkpatrick, who kept its origins a secret   

A Ford Escort that was once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales has been sold at auction to a museum in South America for £52,640.

Lady Diana Spencer was given the silver 1.6L Ghia saloon by the Prince of Wales as an engagement present in May 1981, two months before they were married in July 1981.

She often drove it to watch Charles play polo, and the bonnet features a silver frog – a copy of the original mascot which was given to the princess by her sister Sarah and which Diana kept when she sold the car.

The princess stopped using the vehicle soon after giving birth to Prince William in 1982, and it was later bought for £6,000 by an antiques dealer.

It had belonged to royal fan Tina Kirkpatrick since around 2000, who drove it only sparingly without disclosing its history to her friends.

The vehicle was sold on Tuesday in an online auction by Reeman Dansie, of Colchester, Essex, to a telephone bidder for £52,640, including VAT and the buyer’s premium.

The hammer price was £47,000, exceeding the pre-auction estimate of £30,000 to £40,000.

A Ford Escort that was once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales has been sold at auction to a museum in South America for £52,640. Lady Diana Spencer was given the silver 1.6L Ghia saloon by the Prince of Wales as an engagement present in May 1981, two months before they were married in July 1981. Pictured, on a visit to St Mary’s school in Tetbury with police bodyguard Graham Smith on 8 December 1981

Lady Diana Spencer in her Ford Escort car watching Prince Charles playing polo at Windsor on 1 May, 1981

Lewis Rabett, of Reeman Dansie Auctions in Colchester, Essex, said the winning bid came from a museum in South America and the car will be shipped there.

‘The interest has been considerable pre-auction,’ he said.

‘Ending up in South America is testament to the level of interest globally that there’s been in the car.

‘It’s also testament to Diana and her enduring legacy.’

The car still carries its original registration, WEV 297W, as well as its original paint and upholstery, and has 83,000 miles on the clock.

The Ford was Princess Diana’s personal transport in the early part of her relationship with the Prince of Wales.

Tina Kirkpatrick was a fan of the late Diana, Princess of Wales but never told anyone her ‘little runaround’ once belonged to her. Pictured, inside the ‘lost’ Ford Escort car that Prince Charles gave to Princess Diana

She was often seen driving it, and even watched the Prince playing polo whilst sat inside the car.

It comes complete with a silver frog mascot on the bonnet – a copy of a gift from Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, to remind her of the fairytale of a girl whose kiss turns a frog into a prince.

James Grinter, the Managing Director of Reeman Dansie, previously said he was ‘amazed’ by the originality of the car.

He said this will be important to collectors who put a high value on owning something that was a personal possession of the late Princess. 

 The Princess of Wales got rid of the car two months after giving birth to Prince William. Pictured, the ‘lost’ Ford Escort car that Prince Charles gave to Princess Diana as an engagement present

The Escort still carries its original registration WEV 297W. Pictured, the ‘lost’ Ford Escort car that Prince Charles gave to Princess Diana as an engagement present

The Ford Escort Mark III Ghia was Diana’s daily runaround from May 1981 – two months before the Royal wedding – until August 1982. Pictured, Princess Diana watching Prince Charles playing polo at Windsor

Diana regularly dove the 1980 car to visit Charles during their engagement, often being photographed in it at events such as polo matches (pictured, 1 May, 1981)

In 1995 the car was bought for £6,000 by an antiques dealer as a birthday present for his daughter.   

It was then sold to Mrs Kirkpatrick who has taken great care of it, regularly getting it serviced an MoTd. 

Mrs Kirkpatrick, who is aged in her 50s, said when the car came up for sale: ‘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.

‘I have driven it around as a second car ever since. A lot of people ask 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 sale comes two days before Diana’s sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, unveil a statue of their mother at Kensington Palace to mark what would have been her 60th birthday.   

The brothers last paid tribute to their beloved mother together on July 1, 2017 when they attended a private service of ‘prayer and reflection’ at her grave in the grounds of Althorp House in Northamptonshire. 

Mrs Kirkpatrick, who is aged in her 50s, said when the car came up for sale: ‘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’ 


Soon after taking ownership of the Escort, Diana’s elder sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, gave her a silver frog car mascot that Diana attached to the bonnet (pictured, left) and right, the interior now

In 1995 the car was bought for £6,000 by an antiques dealer as a birthday present for his daughter, before being bought by Tina. Pictured, the Ford Escort now 

Ms Kirkpatrick said she has maintained the car, had it regularly serviced and kept it in her garage. Pictured, the exterior

Ms Kirkpatrick, who is aged in her 50s, knew when she bought it that it once belonged to Princess Diana, and said that is why she wanted it. Pictured, the exterior

Ms Kirkpatrick felt the car’s history and provenance were so unique that she didn’t want many people knowing. Pictured, the interior of the Ford Escort

The Duke of Cambridge is expected to view the memorial with his family privately in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden before joining his brother Prince Harry for the official event on Thursday.

It is understood he wanted to give wife Kate and children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis a chance to see it before it was shown to the wider world.

A large box now covers the plinth where it is believed the statue has been put in position ahead of the event that falls on what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.

Prince Harry is also expected to see the statue separately, the Telegraph reports, but is currently quarantining at Frogmore cottage in Windsor after flying in from his home in California.

The interior of the car boasts wooden trims on the doors and velour seats (pictured). Diana stopped using the car shortly after Prince William was born

Ms Kirkpatrick added: ‘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’ 

Plans for the unveiling ceremony have been dramatically scaled back due to the pandemic with just a handful of guests – the estranged princes themselves and Spencer relatives – in attendance.

There will also be just one pool reporter and broadcaster able to attend.

Harry and William will make separate speeches as they pay tribute to their mother’s legacy.

They will also thank sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley for creating the statue, which has been in progress since 2017.

Is it still not known whether the Duchess of Cambridge will join her husband for the event.

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