A Collection of Princess Diana’s Handwritten Letters Are Going Up for Auction

Princess Diana wearing what she called her "Elvis dress" on a visit to Hong Kong in 1989.
Princess Diana wearing what she called her "Elvis dress" on a visit to Hong Kong in 1989.
Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

On June 25, 1997, just months before Princess Diana’s death in August, dozens of her dresses were auctioned off at Christie’s in New York. Now, some of her handwritten letters regarding that event are hitting the auction block.

Princess Diana wrote the letters to her friend Elizabeth Tilberis, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar at the time, both leading up to and after the auction.

“The news of the auction came out far too early & it’s due to be announced next week from Christies! [sic],” she penned on February 25, 1997. “It’s been quite an event sorting out the frocks—memories flooding back & some excellent ones too!”

Princess Diana's letter to Elizabeth Tilberis from February 25, 1997.Swann Auction Galleries

She ended up choosing a total of 79 garments, including several of her most memorable ones. According to The New York Times, the slinky velvet gown she wore while dancing with John Travolta at a White House dinner in 1985 fetched an impressive $222,500, and what she called her “Elvis dress”—a pearl-encrusted white number with a matching, high-necked bolero jacket—sold for $151,000. Overall, the auction raised a staggering $3.25 million, which was donated to the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund and the AIDS Crisis Trust.

“It was stunning the amount made by the auction last week,” she wrote to Tilberis on July 1. “How typical of the Americans to be so totally generous. I can always rely on them!”

The personal letters are estimated to sell somewhere in the region of $6000 to $9000, but they’re not the only Princess Diana items in the auction. Swann Auction Galleries is also offering an auction catalog signed by Princess Diana, Tilberis’s paddle registration card, Princess Diana’s signed menu from a 1990 benefit dinner held by the British Deaf Association, and a 1996 Christmas card with a photograph of Princes William and Harry with their cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

A Christmas card from 1996 featuring the young Princes William and Harry with their cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.Swann Auction Galleries

In addition to the royal family memorabilia, the auction—which takes place on Thursday, February 20—will include rare first editions of several Jane Austen novels, too.

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

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Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

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The Thoughtful Reason Behind Queen Elizabeth II's Bright Wardrobe

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS, AFP/GETTY IMAGES; JOHN STILLWELL, WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES; CHRIS JACKSON, GETTY IMAGES; JOHN STILLWELL, AFP/GETTY IMAGES; CHRIS JACKSON-POOL, GETTY IMAGES; ARTHUR EDWARDS, AFP/GETTY IMAGES; DAVID ROSE, WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES; GARETH CATTERMOLE, GETTY IMAGES
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS, AFP/GETTY IMAGES; JOHN STILLWELL, WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES; CHRIS JACKSON, GETTY IMAGES; JOHN STILLWELL, AFP/GETTY IMAGES; CHRIS JACKSON-POOL, GETTY IMAGES; ARTHUR EDWARDS, AFP/GETTY IMAGES; DAVID ROSE, WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES; GARETH CATTERMOLE, GETTY IMAGES

The glamorous life of a royal comes with a strict set of fashion rules. Exposed shoulders are frowned upon at weddings, and travel wardrobes must always include one all-black outfit. But not every fashion custom comes from established tradition. As Reader's Digest reports, Queen Elizabeth II's habit of wearing bright colors is self-imposed—but her flashy style is more than an aesthetic preference.

At public events, the Queen of England often arrives sporting neon shades, from lime green to robin's egg blue. Though her classy hats and jackets are typical for a royal, the playful colors they come in may seem like an unusual statement for the 94-year-old queen. Her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, recently revealed that Her Majesty chooses the bold outfits, not for herself, but for the spectators who come to see her.

“She needs to stand out for people to be able to say ‘I saw the Queen’,” the Duchess said in the 2016 documentary The Queen at 90. Her public appearances can draw massive crowds, and by dressing in eye-catching shades, Queen Elizabeth ensures even people in the back will be able to spot her.

The vibrant look is unique to the Queen, but other fashion rules she follows are more universal to the rest of the women in the royal family. From hats to handbags, here are the reasons behind other elements of the royal dress code.

[h/t Reader's Digest]