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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 19:32 GMT
Diana letters stay in England
Andrew Bullock from Keys Auction Rooms
The letters "give an insight into Diana's humanity".
A collection of letters and greeting cards from Diana, Princess of Wales, was sold for 22,000 at auction in Norfolk on Friday.

The collection belonged to Maud Pendrey, a former housekeeper at the Spencer family home at Althorp in Northamptonshire, and went under the hammer at Keys auction rooms in Aylsham.

It was bought by a telephone bid from collector Michael Rockall, of Ditchingham, near Bungay, Suffolk, who read about the auction on Thursday.

He said he had been very keen to buy the collection because he wanted it to stay in England.

'Personal collection'

He now hopes to put the collection, which includes nine letters written by Diana after her wedding to the Prince of Wales, on display at his hotel in Towcester, near Northampton.

Mr Rockall said: "I think this collection is amazingly exciting and I am overjoyed to have bought it.

"The price was pretty near the level we wanted to go to and I thought it might go abroad.

"I feel very strongly that something like this should stay in England.

Michael Rockall
Mr Rockall felt the letters should stay in England

"I view it as being a particularly personal collection that the Princess wrote to someone who she would have know personally for a long time."

Also included in the collection are 14 Christmas and New Year cards sent between 1981 and 1995.

Ms Pendrey worked at Althorp with her late husband who was employed as a butler.

Auctioneer Andrew Bullock said: "Unlike some letters which say 'thank you for your kind invitation, but sorry I can't come' or 'I can come' these are of a more personal nature.

"They give you an insight into Diana's humanity and love."

In one poignant letter, written after the death of Mrs Pendrey's husband, the Princess told her she could only imagine "how empty you must feel".

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See also:

31 Aug 01 | UK
Princes mark Diana's death
28 Aug 01 | UK
Diana fund's 5m pledge
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