Inside Princess Diana’s Earl’s Court flat with friends – ‘I laughed my head off there’
Kate Middleton’s differences from Diana ‘will help her’ says pundit
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An English Heritage blue plaque was placed on the Earl’s Court flat where Princess Diana formerly lived today, by her former flatmate Virginia Clarke. The two women lived in a shared flat in Earl’s Court for two years, before Diana married the Prince of Wales in 1981. The accolade to Diana is in honour of her ‘devotion to charity work’ and will mark out the Princess of Wales’s first home for tourists.
Princess Diana’s Edwardian flat at Coleherne Court was given to her in 1979 as a coming-of-age present from her parents.
Virginia Clarke revealed today that she and Diana “had actually driven around London talking about blue plaques, so I knew that she would have really liked it”.
The plaque reads “Lady Diana Spencer later Princess of Wales lived here 1979 to 1981”.
Virginia added: “I just thought it’s so nice to be able to come and celebrate the good times – I know that she was happy here.
“She was terribly good at remembering everybody and speaking to people one-to-one, and I think she really picked up many people’s lives all around the place wherever she travelled and just made them feel better.
“I know there’s a lot of talk about her charities, and that was all wonderful, but just on a one-to-one basis, she was terribly good at that.”
Diana shared the flat with three close friends for two years, and once said they were some of the happiest days of her life.
The Princess of Wales moved to Clarence House the night before her engagement in February 1981.
60 Coleherne Court is a property in a mansion block close to the fashionable King’s Road in Chelsea, where Princess Diana settled in the capital as a young woman.
She shared the flat with a number of girlfriends and was said to have a sign above her bedroom door that read ‘Chief Chick’.
Inside the property, there is a beautiful sitting room, as well as a kitchen and dining area, including a bay window with seating.
Diana described the few years she lived in the three-bed flat as the happiest time of her life, according to Andrew Morton’s book ‘Diana, In Her Own Words’.
The Princess said: “It was juvenile, innocent, uncomplicated and above all fun.
“I laughed my head off there.”
When she began dating Charles, Diana was living with friends Anne Bolton and Virginia Pitman and was charging her flatmates £18 a week.
Diana was said to be very organised and even set up a cleaning rota.
The apartment was reportedly bought by her parents for £50,000 when the then Lady Diana Spencer was 18 and working at Young England Kindergarten in Pimlico, central London.
Blue plaques commemorate the link between a location and an individual who was “eminent” in their field.
Their achievements should have made an “exceptional impact in terms of public recognition”, and they must have been dead for at least 20 years.
Anna Eavis, English Heritage’s Curatorial Director, said: “Diana was an inspiration and cultural icon to many, raising awareness of issues including landmines and homelessness and helping to destigmatise illnesses such as HIV, leprosy and depression.
“It seems fitting that we should erect a plaque commemorating her work and influence in what would have been her 60th year.”
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