By Deirdre Tynan •
Published: 29 Sep 2021 • 15:27
Image: English Heritage
The Blue plaque marks Earl’s Court flat where she lived at the time of her engagement to Prince Charles and Diana’s former flatmate unveiled it.
The English Heritage London blue plaque. Unveiled by Diana’s former flatmate Virginia Clarke, the plaque marks Coleherne Court on the Old Brompton Road in Earl’s Court where Diana lived at Flat 60 at the time of her engagement to the Prince of Wales in 1981.
Diana described her time at Coleherne Court as one of the happiest of her life and it was from this flat that she took her first steps onto the world stage. Diana’s former flatmates agree. She would have turned 60 this year.
Virginia Clarke, nee Pitman, Diana’s flatmate at Coleherne Court, said as she unveiled the blue plaque: ‘Those were happy days for all of us and the flat was always full of laughter. Diana went off to become so much to so many. It’s wonderful that her legacy will be remembered in this way.’
Diana moved into 60 Coleherne Court, Earl’s Court, with three friends in July 1979, working in childcare as well as accepting contract cleaning assignments. Family connections brought her into the royal circle and a year later Diana was propelled into the media spotlight when she began her relationship with Prince Charles. He proposed to her on February 6, 1981, to the great excitement of her flatmates, Virginia Pitman, Carolyn Pride and Anne Bolton, with Diana’s memories of that time are fond: “Everybody screamed and howled and we went for a drive around London with our secret.”
She remained at Coleherne Court in Earl’s Court until the night before her engagement to the Prince of Wales was announced on 23 February 1981, whereupon she stayed briefly at Clarence House before moving to a suite in Buckingham Palace. According to Andrew Morton’s biography, Diana would later describe her 18 months at the flat as the happiest time of her life: “It was nice being in a flat with the girls. I loved that – it was great. I laughed my head off there. I kept myself to myself. I wasn’t interested in having a full diary. I loved being on my own, as I do now – a great treat.”
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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