Buckingham Palace marks the 20th anniversary of Diana Princess of Wales’ tragic death on 31 August 1997, with a special display in the Music Room during the Summer Opening.

Credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry chose those items which reflect their mother’s commitment to duty and their own personal memories.

The Princess undertook many official engagements on the Queen’s behalf, both in Britain and overseas, including Australia and New Zealand.

Diana’s desk is the centrepiece of the display where she worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace where she wrote letters, read official briefings and correspondence.

Some of Diana’s personal belongings are on display either on or around her desk, including a blue leather blotter and brown leather letter rack, photos of family and friends, a burgundy leather briefcase, her ballet shoes, a case of cassette tapes, and a wooden school tuck box and an old typewriter.

Credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Some Objects On Display

Burgundy Leather Briefcase

The Worshipful Company of Glovers presented the burgundy leather briefcase, made by Asprey, as a gift to Lady Diana Spencer as a wedding gift in 1981. Diana took this briefcase, still with the pink luggage tag, on many official engagements.

Blue Leather Blotter and Brown Letter Rack

Blue leather blotter and brown letter rack were part of Diana’s desk accessories. Diana, Princess of Wales often wrote to thank those who had welcomed her on official visits. The letter rack contained embossed writing paper and envelopes with her personal cypher or the Kensington Palace letterhead.

Leather Photo Frame

The frame, containing photographs of family and friends, always sat on Diana’s desk, especially her two sons, William and Harry.

Round Enamel Boxes

Diana commissioned these small custom-made boxes from Halcyon Days of London, which she gave as gifts to her hosts during official overseas trips.

One is a memento from The Prince and Princess of Wales’ official visit to Brazil in April 1991, decorated with an image of the Christ the Redeemer Statue, which dominates the Rio de Janiero skyline, surrounded by the Prince of Wales’s feathers.

Ballet Shoes

Diana loved dancing, especially ballet, and had dreams of becoming a ballerina when she was a child. These shoes, which she had used, were hung on the sitting room door at Kensington Palace.

The Princess was Patron of English National Ballet from 1989 to 1997.

Wooden School Tuck Box and Typewriter

Lady Diana Spencer used this wooden trunk, marked with ‘D Spencer’, for taking treats back to her boarding school at West Heath near Sevenoaks, Kent. Her childhood typewriter, which was also kept in the sitting room.

Case of Cassette Tapes

Diana loved listening to music and often listened to radio, records or tapes whilst working at her desk. The case contains albums by Diana Ross, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Céline Dion, Lionel Richie and George Michael and classical repertoires of opera and piano concerti, including Pavarotti, Verdi, and the Three Tenors.

Credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Advance Tickets and Visitor Information

The Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, including the special exhibition Royal Gifts and the tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, is open from Saturday, 22 July to Sunday, 1 October.

Visit the Royal Collection Trust for more details and to buy tickets.

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7766-7300

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