Silver apple that marked Princess Diana’s first solo visit to
New York set to fetch £3,000 at auction as her dresser’s sons
sell off memorabilia to get on property ladder
- Chris and Ben Appleby are 22-year-olds sons of Diana’s late dresser Fay
- Fay travelled world with Diana and Princess helped her in cancer battle
- Items include personal letters, signed photographs and memorabilia from their trip to New York
A stunning silver apple specially commissioned by Princess Diana to mark her first solo visit to New York after separating from Prince Charles is to fetch more than £3,000 at auction.
Diana jetted to the ‘Big Apple’ on Concorde in 1989 and brought the city to a standstill as she travelled by motorcade to visit children suffering from AIDS at the Harlem Hospital Center.
The Princess, who received a ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ award from Henry Kissinger, marked the triumphant tour by presenting four life-size silver apples to the staff who accompanied her.
Diana gave one of the silver apples to her devoted dresser Fay Appleby, it is expected to fetch £3,000 at auction
Diana gave silver apples to her lady-in-waiting Anne Beckwith-Smith, Royal protection officer -Insp Allan Peters, baggage-master Sgt Ron Lewis and her devoted dresser Fay Appleby.
Fay, who travelled the world with Diana for six years, was secretly supported by the Princess as she fought a brave 15-year battle against cancer.
She died in 2002 aged just 47, leaving behind 11-year-old twin boys Chris and Ben.
The pair, now 22, are selling the huge collection of Princess Diana memorabilia their mother left them – to help them get a foot on the property ladder.
Fay’s twins, now 22, are selling the huge collection of Princess Diana memorabilia their mother left them – to help them get a foot on the property ladder
Chris said: ‘We were only 11 when our mother passed away but she told us how she loved working for the Princess and helping her to look so amazing in all her wonderful dresses, outfits and jewellery.
‘She was very loyal to Princess Diana and she said she became a great friend – her best friend, in a way.’
The silver apple, which is engraved with the Princess’s crowned ‘D’ monogram and the date ‘1st-3rd February 1989’, is to be sold at auctioneers Reeman Dansie’s sale of Royal memorabilia in Colchester next Tuesday.
A collection of Royal Invitations and other related Royal ephemera sent to Fay Appleby, including Royal Yacht Britannia information for members of the Royal Household booklet and Christmas card, plus Royal First Day Covers £50 – 70 are up for auction
Reeman Dansie auctioneer James Grinter said: ‘The silver, hallmarked apple is an extremely rare and personal gift from Princess Diana, one of only four, and we have given it a conservative estimate of £3,000.’
A Royal colour presentation photograph of the staff who accompanied the Princess on her New York visit inscribed ‘To Fay from Diana 1989’ is expected to sell for £500 to £700.
There are also two presentation photographs of Prince Charles and Princess Diana relaxing aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia with their staff – including Fay – signed by the couple which are expected to fetch £300 to £500 each.
The auction includes a gilded brass carriage clock carrying Diana’s crowned ‘D’ cipher engraved with the inscription ‘Presented by HRH The Princess of Wales’, which is estimated at £1,500 to £2,000.
The Prince and Princess of Wales – signed Royal presentation photograph of the Royal couple with their staff on board the Royal Yacht Britannia will be sold
Fay was with Diana on the 1985 visit to Washington when she famously danced with John Travolta.
Before her death, Fay recalled: ‘Evelyn and I had helped her into the lovely gown and she came back looking flushed. She giggled and said “Fay, I’ve just danced with John Travolta.” I giggled along with her. I don’t think it was planned.’
She recalled how newlywed Diana joked: ‘Phew! I’m glad that’s over – just like any other bride,’ as she helped her down from the coach after the Royal Wedding in 1981.
The auction includes two 18-carat gold Baume & Mercier ladies’ watches bearing the crests of the Saudi Royal family and the Emir of Qatar, are estimated at £200 to £300.
Fay’s life was turned upside down just three weeks before her wedding to RAF corporal Steve Appleby in October 1987, after doctors told her a lump on her tongue was malignant.
A heartfelt thank you letter from Diana, discussing her visit with Prince William to see Fay and her twin boys and for a birthday present – ‘From your devoted Diana’ – with original envelope is expected to collect £500 – 700
Royal presentation Halcyon Days enamel Easter egg box inscribed by Diana – ‘To Fay, wishing you a very happy Easter and lots of love from Diana’ will fetch £200 – 300 at auction
When Fay broke the devastating news to Diana, the Princess hugged her and said: ‘I’m so sorry, Fay. Don’t worry, I’ll help in any way I can.’
Fay was told she would have to undergo a two-month course of 40 radiation treatments and Diana secretly accompanied her to London’s St Bart’s Hospital whenever she was free.
Speaking in 1997, Fay said: ‘The Princess was a great comfort to me when I needed her. When she couldn’t come. she gave me her chauffeur to drive me there. She was incredibly supportive.
‘I decided to go ahead [with the wedding] and the Princess asked if she could come. I was thrilled. We had to keep it secret. Diana said “I don’t want anything to overshadow your big day, Fay”.
‘When I walked up the aisle, I saw her sitting at the back of the church and we shared a smile. She signed the register and stayed for the meal.’
Diana also kept her dresser’s spirits up by sending her a string of saucy birthday cards.
They include one showing a couple with a corgi on a castle’s turret with the caption ‘It’s not much, but we like to call it home.’
Another shows a silver-haired pensioner climbing into a Mr Universe suit in front of his wife in bed with the message ‘May all your birthday dreams come true.’ Signed by Diana, they are estimated at £200 to £300.
Auctioneer Mr Grinter said: ‘This is a fascinating collection of letters, photographs, cards and items which shows how two women from very different backgrounds came to work so closely together and build up such a strong friendship.
‘It is very touching to see how much care and support Princess Diana showed towards Fay and her two sons during her illness.’
Six-footer Chris. of Taunton, Somerset, joked: ‘My mother told me Princess Diana once changed my nappy at a barbecue at Highgrove, but I’m afraid I was too young to remember it.’
Fay attended Princess Diana’s funeral at Westminster Abbey after was killed in Paris 1997. She said: ‘Diana touched so many people. The memories of our time together are so precious. It was a privilege to be a part of her life.’
Sadly, brave Fay lost her own battle against cancer in 2002.
In another lot, one of the first pieces of Prince William and Kate’s Royal Wedding cake to be sold in its original presentation tin is estimated to fetch £200 to £300.
Reeman Dansie’s auction of Royal memorabilia in Colchester on November 20.