Princess Diana's Engagement Gift from Prince Charles Just Sold at Auction

Princess Diana's 1981 engagement gift from Prince Charles, a Ford Escort Ghia, sold at a British auction this week for about $73,000.

diana, princess of wales 1961 1997 at a welcome ceremony in tauranga, new zealand, 31st march 1983 she is wearing a hat by john boyd photo by tim graham photo library via getty images
(Image credit: Tim Graham)
  • Princess Diana's engagement gift from Prince Charles, a Ford Escort Ghia, sold at auction this week for about $73,000.
  • A museum in Chile bought the car, which Diana drove in the early years of her marriage to Charles.
  • Diana sold the car after the birth of Prince William in 1982.

Two months ahead of their wedding in July 1981, Prince Charles gave the then-future Princess of Wales an engagement gift: a Ford Escort Ghia, which Diana was photographed driving on numerous occasions. 30 years later, the car has sold at auction for £52,640 (about $73,000), after sparking an international bidding war.

As ITV News reports, a museum in Chile ultimately secured the car, which was expected to fetch a price between £30,000 and £40,000. Lewis Rabett, of Reeman Dansie Auctioneers in Colchester, England, told the press, "There had been a lot of interest before the sale from around the world. It'd been in lots of newspapers and websites everywhere so there really was a global interest—and that was bore out in the end. After a little phone battle it was bought by someone in South America."

tetbury, united kingdom december 08 princess diana driving her ford escort car on leaving st marys primary school in tetbury bodyguard graham smith in the passenger seat photo by tim graham photo library via getty images

(Image credit: Tim Graham)

Diana frequently drove the car to watch Charles play polo, selling it shortly after giving birth to Prince William in 1982. An antiques dealer bought the vehicle for £6,000 (about $8,200), while a royal fan subsequently acquired it in 2000. The car disappeared from the public eye for over 20 years, with its owner keeping quiet about its storied history.

The car still has its original license plate and interiors, although Diana kept one of its most notable features when she sold it: a silver frog mascot on the hood (the vehicle now bears an exact replica). According to People, the frog was a gift from the royal's sister, Lady Sarah Spencer. The mascot was intended to remind Diana of the fairytale The Frog Prince, in which a kiss from a beautiful princess transforms a frog into a prince. 


diana, princess of wales 1961 1997 visits a school for the deaf and dumb in yaoundé, cameroon, march 1990 she is wearing a pink and yellow suit by catherine walker and a philip somerville hat photo by jayne fincherprincess diana archivegetty images

(Image credit: Princess Diana Archive)
Emily Dixon
Morning Editor

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.