Forever a fashion icon: Princess Diana’s iconic Virgin Atlantic sweater – her favorite gym-going attire – sells for a staggering $53K at auction, fetching more than TEN TIMES the estimate
- Princess Diana repeatedly wore the sweater to the gym to annoy paparazzi
- Photographers would then struggle to sell pictures of Diana, as she looked the same day after day when leaving her gym in London
- Diana later gifted the sweater to her trainer Jenni Rivett before her death
- Jenni Rivett and RR Auctions in Boston auctioned off the sweater for $53,532 (£42,760) to a mystery California buyer after first listing the sweater for $5,000
- The proceeds made from the auction will help a Malawian family, Jenni said
Princess Diana’s Virgin Atlantic sweater, which she was often pictured in when leaving the gym, has sold in an auction for $53,532 (£42,760) — ten times the expected sell price.
The Virgin branded sweater was gifted to Diana by Sir Richard Barnson, and she was spotted often in the clothing item in paparazzi pictures when she left the gym.
On Wednesday evening, the sweater was officially sold in an auction to a mystery buyer from California for more than 10 times the expected price of $5,000 (£4,000).
Coveted item: Princess Diana repeatedly wore the a Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt to the gym to annoy paparazzi. It was sold on Wednesday to a mystery buyer in California for $53,532
Poking fun: Photographers would then struggle to sell pictures of Diana, because she looked the same day after day when leaving her gym in London
Diana would visit the Chelsea Harbour Club gym in London day after day sporting the same navy blue sweatshirt and a pair of bike shorts – usually in a bright orange shade – along with white sports socks and some sneakers.
Her go-to outfit later became a point of frustration for photographers who were attempting to sell pictures each day of Diana in the same outfit, but struggled to find interest in their photos because they all looked the same.
This became one of Diana’s way to challenge paparazzi and prevent them from getting a fresh shot of her.
The well-used sweater was then gifted by Diana to her much adored trainer Jenni Rivett, who worked with the Princess for seven years.
She said: ‘[Diana] felt there were far more important issues to focus on in the world than her gym attire and therefore decided that wearing the famous Virgin sweatshirt to every session, would be a good way to stop the media frenzy.
‘A few months before her untimely death she called me to say she had left a few sweatshirts for me. Amongst them, this one — which I have now decided to part with.’
Jenni placed the ’90s polyester sweatshirt featuring the Virgin Airlines ‘the flying lady’ logo up for auction with the help of RR Auctions in Boston, Massachusetts.
A note from Diana to Jenni accompanied the sweater, along with a thank you card from the trainer who said she would use the money to ‘help a Malawian family, which I know Diana would be happy about.’
She continued: ‘The princess would definitely approve if she were still alive. Causes in Africa were always very close to her heart.’
But it appears both RR Auctions and Jenni did not anticipate the bidding frenzy that would ensue for the well-worn sweatshirt, which has never been washed.
The item was first listed at $5,000 before ultimately selling for more than $53,000.
RR Auctions shared the news on Twitter Thursday morning follower the bidding war the previous night.
‘Princess Diana’s sweatshirt sold for $53,532 in RR’s July Auction last night! #PrincessDiana #rrauction #auction #Royals,’ the auction house announced.
Sold! Jenni Rivett, Diana’s personal trainer, and RR Auctions in Boston auctioned off the sweater to a mystery California buyer
Whether the mystery buyer will reveal their true identity as the purchaser of the sweatshirt remains to be seen.
It is not known exactly where Diana first obtained the sweater, however it is highly probably that it was given to her on one of the many occasions that she flew with Virgin Atlantic.
Diana and the company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, were known to have formed a close friendship over the years, and she even helped to launch his new Airbus 340 back in December 1993. The princess was also a regular guest on Necker Island, Branson’s private island getaway, which she visited on numerous times, often with her sons, Princes Harry and William.
To mark the 20th anniversary of her death, Branson penned a touching tribute to Diana on the Virgin website, describing her as ‘an incredible woman’.
‘Diana was an incredible woman, who simply loved people and made time for everyone,’ he recalled. ‘She traveled with us on Virgin Atlantic on many occasions. She made time to talk to our passengers and staff and was ever-ready with quick wit and warm humor.
‘She also always handwrote thank you notes, after flights or her trips to Necker Island. In fact, we have a few of her notes displayed in pride of place on Necker, right by the kettle we brew tea at many times a day.’
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