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Detail of the Vessel of friendship, a gold model of a Chinese ship
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

Tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales

Diana, Princess of Wales' desk installed in Buckingham Palace©

This summer marks the twentieth anniversary of the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in Paris on 31 August 1997. From the outset of her marriage, The Princess undertook many official duties in support of the work of The Queen, both at home and abroad.

As a tribute, the desk where The Princess worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace will be displayed in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace. Many of the objects on and around the desk have been selected by her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to reflect her commitment to duty and their personal memories of their mother.

The objects on the desk of Diana, Princess of Wales©

The objects on the desk

Burgundy leather briefcase

Presented to The Lady Diana Spencer on the occasion of her marriage in 1981 by the Worshipful Company of Glovers, and made by Asprey.

The Princess took this briefcase with her on many official trips. It still bears her pink official luggage tag.

Ballet shoes

Diana, Princess of Wales, loved dance of all types, particularly ballet. These pumps hung on the door of her sitting room. 

From 1989–97 The Princess was Patron of English National Ballet.

Round enamel boxes

These small enamel boxes were made by Halcyon Days of London for The Princess to give her hosts on official trips overseas. Amongst those displayed is one from the official visit to Brazil by The Prince and Princess of Wales in April 1991.

Blue leather blotter and brown leather letter rack

The blotter, letter rack and embossed writing paper were part of Diana, Princess of Wales’s desk accessories.

The Princess was meticulous in writing thank you letters to all who welcomed her on her official duties, something that is well remembered by her sons.

Silver calendar

A gift to The Princess from President and Mrs Reagan, made by Cartier, on the occasion of the official visit to the United States by The Prince and Princess of Wales, November 1985.

Leather photograph frame

The frame to the back of the desk contains photographs of friends and family.

Wooden school tuckbox

Bearing the name “D. Spencer”, this box is part of the traditional kit taken to boarding school and was kept in The Princess’s sitting room. Above it is her childhood typewriter, which was also kept in the sitting room.

Case of cassette tapes

The Princess loved music and was a constant listener to radio, records and tapes. Amongst the tapes in the case are albums by Diana Ross, Elton John and George Michael, as well as works from the classical repertoire of opera and piano concerti.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.