17 January, 2017

Six handwritten letters, which were sent by Princess Diana to a Buckingham Palace steward have sold for £15,100 at auction, far exceeding the £2,300-£3,600 estimate.

The letters were sent to Mr Cyril Dickman, who died last week, aged 85, after serving the royal family for 50 years and working as palace steward. The letters divulge details about the private life of Princess Diana and the young family at Kensington Palace in the 1980s and 90s.

In one of the letters, Diana wrote: “William adores his little brother and spends the entire time swamping Harry with an endless supply of hugs and kisses, hardly letting the parents near!” This was sold for £3,200 – around five times more than its estimate of £400-£600.

Dated 1992, another letter provided a sign of what was to come for Prince Harry, “The boys are well and enjoying boarding school a lot, although Harry is constantly in trouble!” Selling for more than double the £600-£900 estimate as bidding reached £2,400.

The six notes were part of a collection described as “the private letters between a trusted butler and the royal family”, and included drawings, photos, and Christmas cards, showing just how fond Princess Diana was of Mr Dickman.

The palace steward grew closer to the princess during the period after her father’s death and it is clear that she appreciated him dearly, as can be seen in a letter sent upon his retirement in which she wrote. “Cyril, you will be greatly missed by this particular Lady – thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so kind to me throughout the years and take great care of yourself, fondest love from Diana x.”

 

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Former Palace Steward Mr Cyril Dickman

 

The auction also contained other pieces of royal memorabilia, including a handwritten letter from the Queen which sold for considerably more than the £50-£100 estimate when the hammer came down at £1,500.

There was also a piece of boxed wedding cake from the Queen and Prince Phillip’s wedding in 1947 sold for £550.