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Diana’s letters won't go on sale

books Updated: Feb 14, 2012 14:09 IST

ANI
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Two of Princess Diana’s hand-written letters have been withdrawn from sale following objections from Countess Raine Spencer, her stepmother, it has been revealed.

The two letters, written by Lady Diana before she married Prince Charles and sent to Raine, her father’s second wife, were part of a dozen or so personal items, including photographs, that were due to go under the hammer on February 22 and 23, the Telegraph reported.

In the first, written on December 28, 1980, Lady Diana thanks the countess for her Christmas gifts and in the second, written on January 18, 1981, she talks of the “touching letter you wrote to me” and discusses an upcoming trip to Australia.

Both letters were written from 60 Coleherne Court, London, the flat in which the Princess lived before her marriage.

A former employee to Spencer family brought the letters to the saleroom.

But JP Humbert Auctioneers, based at Towcester, Northants, near the Spencer family estate in Althorp, decided to called off the auction after Raine called up to stop the sale of the two items, worth up to 10,000 pounds each.

It is understood that the countess gave them to an unknown “gentleman vendor” several years ago.

But news of their sale is believed to have upset Raine, who reportedly told friends she found it “distasteful” that the letters be made available on the open market.

Following agreement from all parties, Jonathan Humbert, managing director of JP Humbert Auctioneers, said the sale would no longer go ahead - due in part to the letters not having “crystal clear provenance”.

“It has been decided by mutual consent that these items will be withdrawn from the proposed sale”, he said.

“We certainly don’t want to put ourselves forward as peddling items that may be of not crystal clear providence.

“Because we weren’t there at the time of which the vendor is saying that these items were given, we can’t prove or disprove.

“I think there was a danger of creating unnecessary upset if we pushed forward with the sale and therefore decided, in conjunction with both the vendor and all interested parties, that discretion would be the best part of valour,” Humbert added.

He also said that the current owner, who is known to be in his 70s, would now return the correspondence to Raine.

“The law would state that the recipient has ownership of the letter and in the absence of any other concrete evidence that is exactly what we are going to do - withdraw these and return them back home as it were,” Humbert said.

“The countess has been enormously gracious over all of this and there is no ill feeling,” he added.