Diana, the Princess of Wales’s intimate thoughts on topics including the Royal Family and her divorce from the then Prince Charles are revealed in a series of handwritten letters that will be auctioned next month.
The letters, penned on official Kensington Palace letterhead, were written to two friends, Susie and Tarek Kassem, between 1995-1996. The collection of 32 letters are expected to fetch £90,000 at auction, the proceeds of which will be put towards causes which were ‘close to Susie and Diana’s hearts’.
Susie and Tarek Kassem, who live in London, spent time with Princess Diana in the years before her death. Diana and Susie, in particular, were spotted going out for lunch in Marlow, walking along the Fulham Road, and even in Kensington Palace.
The Kassems are selling Princess Diana’s letters because ‘owning the documents is a great responsibility’ which they do not want to pass on to their children, according to Lay’s Auctioneers in Penzance. The experts continue, ‘the Kassems have kept some of their more personal and confidential letters, but largely this collection of over 30 letters and notecards illustrate Diana’s immensely warm and loving disposition in a charming and delightful manner’.
In one letter, dated 28 April 1996, Diana apologises for being unable to attend the opera Tosca, ‘I am having a very difficult time and pressure is serious and coming from all sides,’ she writes. ‘It’s too difficult sometimes to keep one’s head up and today I am on my knees and just longing for this divorce to go through as the possible cost is tremendous.’
In another letter, she thanked the couple for letting her stay with them over Christmas. ‘I was so thrilled to be invited into a family occasion particularly as I was made to feel like one of the team,’ she wrote.
On 20 May 1996, she wrote to Kassem, saying, ‘As I don’t have a mobile it is difficult to discuss personal issues as my lines here are constantly recorded and passed on. If I’d known a year ago what I’d experience going through this divorce I never would have consented. It’s desperate and ugly.’
On 19 December 1995, the day after the Queen advised Charles and Diana to divorce, she wrote: ‘I may have been described as a butterfly but I don’t want to fly away from this loving family.’ She was referring to the Kassem family. She added: ‘I’m immensely touched by how protective you both are of me… I’m not used to that!’
Commenting on the collection, the auction house said, ‘It is an extraordinarily poignant collection of correspondence, written by one of the most important and influential women of the 20th century, and documents one of her most valued and significant friendships during the last 2 years of her life.’
The sale of these letters will take place on February 16 at Lay’s Auctioneers in Penzance.
Originally published in Tatler.com