A memorable sweatshirt Princess Diana wore while on a yachting trip with boyfriend Dodi Fayed just a few days before their tragic deaths is hitting the auction block. Diana’s off-white Ralph Lauren Polo Sports pull-over with large red “USA” lettering across the front is expected to net over $10,000 with RR Auction, according to People magazine. The People’s Princess personally gifted the sweatshirt to chief yacht stewardess Deborah Gribble just before the royal’s tragic death on August 31, 1997, and now she is selling it via the U.S. auction house.
In July 1997, Princess Diana, her young sons Prince William and Prince Harry, and Dodi Fayed cruised southern France aboard the Jonikal, the luxury yacht owned by Fayed’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. In August 1991, Diana and Dodi cruised the Italian Riviera solo on the Jonikal, and the Princess was famously photographed wearing the USA sweatshirt during the romantic getaway. At the end of the trip, Princess Diana gifted Gribble the shirt as a thank you for her service during the trips.
According to the Express.co.uk, the stewardess said she personally attended to Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed during their trips and that she was gifted the special sweatshirt two days before the royal’s sudden death in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel.
“I was closely engaged with Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed as my role on board meant I was serving them every day for all their needs and requirements during their cruises in the Mediterranean and was constantly in their personal surroundings while on board. I was gifted a Ralph Lauren sweater from Diana in person the night before we departed from Sardinia to Paris as a personal thank you for looking after her on board.”
The RR Auction website reports that the size medium cotton/acrylic sweatshirt is “in fine condition, with a couple trivial stains.” The sweatshirt sale will be accompanied by an image of Diana wearing it, two magazine photos of Gribble with Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed as they depart Sardinia, as well as a copy of a newspaper article about Gribble and her experience with Diana.
Gribble, who was also one of five staffers who joined the couple on their post-cruise flight from Athens to Paris just one day before Diana and Fayed died, previously told Women’s Wear Daily Diana was “relaxed, fun and light” aboard the Jonikal and that she was never seen with full makeup.
“I felt very privileged to be in this secret environment,” Gribble said of the couple’s final trip to the secluded bays of Sardinia. “Anytime Diana was in view in public the media was there. In this case, when she was not in view, there was no media.”
In addition to the sweatshirt, other items up for auction include an autographed photo of the late Princess of Wales and a royal family Christmas card photo taken when Prince Harry was a baby.
The auction for Princess Diana’s USA sweatshirt ends September 12, 2018.