Princess Diana has become the highest profile former member of the monarchy to be honoured with a blue plaque, which has been installed at her old London flat.
The late Princess of Wales was said to have enjoyed ‘the happiest time of her life’ at the property in Chelsea, according to the book Diana, In Her Own Words by Andrew Morton.
When she settled in the capital before marrying Prince Charles, she lived at 60 Coleherne Court, in a mansion block close to the trendy King’s Road.
Between 1979 and 1981, she shared the flat with a number of girlfriends, including Virginia Clarke (previously Pitman), who helped unveil the English Heritage plaque during a ceremony on Wednesday.
Mrs Clarke, Diana’s flatmate at Coleherne Court, said: ‘Those were happy days for all of us and the flat was always full of laughter.
‘Diana went off to become so much to so many. It’s wonderful that her legacy will be remembered in this way.’
Diana was nominated by the London Assembly after the organisation asked Londoners to recommend women worthy of a blue plaque.
Diana’s brother Charles Spencer tweeted earlier this year: ‘How very lovely that this blue plaque will be going up outside Coleherne Court – thank you, English Heritage, for commemorating such a very happy place for Diana in this way.’
She is being recognised in the year in which she would have celebrated her 60th birthday, 24 years after dying in a 1997 Paris car crash.
English Heritage’s curatorial director Anna Eavis said: ‘Diana was one of the world’s most famous women and she used her fame and influence to raise awareness of issues such as homelessness and landmines.
‘She played a critically important role in helping to destigmatise illnesses such as HIV, leprosy and depression.’
She continued: ‘Diana moved into Coleherne Court in July 1979 and was living here when she first began her courtship with the Prince of Wales.
‘Diana had, and still has, a very special place in the hearts of Londoners and we are thrilled to see her blue plaque formally placed as a monument to her work for others.’
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