Prince Harry: Diana 'wouldn't approve of trapped comment' says expert
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Princess Diana’s old flat in Earl’s Court, London, is to be marked by an official blue plaque. The former royal lived at the three-bedroom property for just over two years, before leaving the flat after getting engaged to the Prince of Wales in February 1981. Earl Spencer, Diana’s younger brother, has welcomed the news and described the flat as her “happy place”.
Charles Spencer wrote on Twitter: “How very lovely that this blue plaque will be going up outside Coleherne Court – thank you, @EnglishHeritage, for commemorating such a very happy place for Diana in this way.”
It’s not the first time the flat has been described as Diana’s sanctuary.
In his book, ‘Diana, In Her Own Words’, Andrew Morton said she described the flat as “the happiest time of her life”.
She said: “It was juvenile, innocent, uncomplicated and above all fun. I laughed my head off there.”
Diana was gifted the flat by her parents for her 18th birthday and moved into it shortly afterwards.
She lived at the flat, in Coleherne Court in Knightsbridge, with two of her friends and charged them £18 a week.
Diana stayed living at the property while she first started dating Prince Charles, but eventually moved out just ahead of their engagement announcement.
The couple married several months later, on July 29, 1981.
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Her parents are understood to have sold the property shortly after that.
But Diana’s time at the flat will now be formally recognised, as the English Heritage have announced she will be commemorated with a blue plaque.
Anna Eavis, English Heritage’s curatorial director, said the princess’s campaigns to highlight issues such as HIV/Aids led to the decision to mark the London residence.
She said: “Her profile and popularity remains undiminished nearly 25 years after she died and clearly a part of that was the ease with which she seemed to communicate with everybody.
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“I think what appealed to the panel when they were considering her nomination was she’s undeniably a significant figure in late 20th century Britain, with a close London association obviously.
“She did undeniably play an important role in destigmatising HIV/Aids and also towards the very end of her life campaigned in those anti-landmine campaigns which was also very important.”
During her time as a senior royal, Diana helped shine a light on a number of issues and has been credited with changing public attitudes to HIV/Aids.
She publicly challenged the misconception the illness was highly contagious, after being pictured shaking hands and touching patients diagnosed with HIV/Aids.
For years she fought to end the stigma surrounding the illness, which mainly affected male homosexuals.
The blue plaque will recognise Diana’s significant contributions and will coincide with wider celebrations for the late royal this year, in what would have been her 60th year.
Her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry are due to unveil a new statue in the garden of Kensington Palace on July 1, her birthday.
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