Princess Diana letter to dying man sells at auction in Cornwall

The letter from Princess Diana is written on Kensington Palace-headed notepaper
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

A hand-written letter from Princess Diana to a man dying from Aids has been sold at auction in Cornwall for £1,500. Dated April 22, 1994, the letter to Michael Nanson praised the "courage and quiet strength" with which he coped with his illness.

The young flight attendant contracted Aids in the early 1990s and when his sister wrote to Diana, telling her of the plight of her beloved brother, the Princess wrote a letter to him. On a sheet of her personal cream and burgundy Kensington Palace headed notepaper, she wrote: "Dear Michael. Your sister had the very kind idea of telling me about the courage and quiet strength with which you are coping with Aids.

“I was so glad to hear from her because it has given me the chance to send you this brief note. Though inadequate, it comes with my thoughts and prayers - and the sure knowledge that your brave example will prove an inspiration to others. With love from Diana."


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Mr Nanson received the letter two months before he died. He was described by his family as an "amazing man", a much-loved only son, he was an outgoing, travel-loving flight attendant.

The letter went under the hammer last week (May 23) at Lay's Auctioneers in Penzance, with a guide price of £2,000 to £3,000. According to the live auction on the website, the letter sold for £1,500.

Princess Diana took a particular interest in HIV/Aids, and was instrumental in changing the public's perception of the disease at a time when there was much fear and media hysteria. Diana opened the UK’s first specialist HIV/AIDS unit at London’s Middlesex Hospital in 1987, and notably shook the hands of dying Aids patients without wearing gloves.

Her actions were revolutionary in convincing the public there was nothing to be afraid of. After the Princess's divorce in 1996, The National Aids Trust was one of just six key charities close to her heart that she continued to work with, after severing ties with over 100 others in an attempt to lead a less public life.

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