Princess Diana’s ‘shame’ bike sells for an eye-watering £44k at auction

A bicycle that was owned by Princess Diana has been sold for £44,000 at auction in East Sussex.

The bike was nicknamed the “shame” bike after Diana was told to get rid of it by Palace officials before marrying Prince Charles.

She had ridden it to work at a nursery ever day before becoming engaged and being told that the bike was not “fit for a princess” forcing her to quickly sell it.

Since then the blue Raleigh bike has become a symbol of the Princess’ life as a royal.

Diana sold the bike to the dad of one of her friends, Gerald Stonehill, who kept the bicycle for nearly 30 years before selling it in 2008 for £211.

In a framed letter that was part of the lot auctioned today, Mr Stonehill wrote that “Diana had hoped the sale would be concealed” since she was worried that the bicycle being thought “inconsistent with her future status” would become public knowledge.

The bike sold at an auction house for whopping £44,000 on April 28, more than double its estimate and five times what it sold for in 2018, which was £9,000.

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Auctioneers Burstow and Hewett in Battle had expected the bike to sell for between £15,000 and £20,000.

They had based their estimate on the value of the royal memorabilia being raised by the current climate where interest in the Crown is high and there has been increased publicity surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

They called the bike a “famous symbol of Diana’s oppression” and drew parallels with Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah last month.

Burstow & Hewett said: “This item is a famous symbol of Diana’s oppression. Something she loved being taken away; and control over her public appearance for the reputation of what is deemed acceptable for a lady of the British Royal Family.

“With most recent headline news surrounding Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex and her treatment by the press and Royal Institution; comparisons have been made between her experience and that of The People’s Princess Diana.

“There is no doubt that this, in conjunction with the popularity of ‘The Crown’ series, could see the bike selling well above estimate.”

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