Collection of personal Princess Diana letters sell for £145k at auction

A collection of 32 personal letters and cards written by the late Diana have gone under the hammer Credit: Lay's Auctioneers

A collection of 32 personal letters and cards written by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, have sold for £145,000.

They had been privately owned for 25 years by two of her friends, Susie and Tarek Kassem, and document Diana's feelings during the last two years of her life.

During the 1996 Christmas period Diana wrote in one of the letters: "I hope that '97 will be an easier year for us all." She died eight months later in the car crash in Paris.

That letter sold for the largest sum - £26,000.

In another letter dated 23 April 1996 Diana wrote a note apologising for cancelling a trip to the opera to see Tosca with her friends. That letter sold for £12,500.

The letters were sold by Penzance-based Lay's Auctioneers on February 16 Credit: Lay's Auctioneers

The April 1996 letter, written on her personal cream and burgundy Kensington Palace notepaper, reads: "I am having a very difficult time and the pressure is serious and coming from all sides.

"It's too difficult sometimes to keep ones head up and today I'm on my knees and just longing for this divorce to go through as the possible cost is tremendous. Lots of love, Diana."

In a letter dated 20 May 1996, she thanks her friends for flowers but expresses her frustration at not being able to get hold of Susie to discuss personal matters as she doesn't have a personal mobile phone and believes her Kensington Palace phone is bugged. 

She says the calls are 'casually recorded and passed on'. That letter was auctioned for £23,000.

The letters sold at David Lay auction house in Penzance, Cornwall, attracted keen interest from around the world.

The collection has been privately owned for 25 years Credit: Lay's Auctioneers

A David Lay spokesperson said:"It is extremely unusual for letters like these with such personal content to come up for sale.

"She was someone who was very open and very loving to her friends and it shines through in her letters, particularly to people she was obviously very fond of and close to and it gives a lovely insight into the woman and she obviously was a very special loving person."

The proceeds from the sale will go to support charities that were close to the hearts of both Susie and Diana.

The Kassems have kept some of their more personal and confidential letters - but some of the auctioned material reveals the stress Diana was under during 'periods of very public heartbreak'.

Diana described her friendship with Mrs Kassen, who was 15 years older, like that of an older sister with whom she shared various interests.

In another note he wrote:"I am lost for words for all the lovely things you bring into my life, when many people would have deserted this ship!"

Diana was divorced in August 1996 after 15 years of marriage.

The 32 cards and letters were expected to sell for £90,000 but sold for a total hammer price of £145,550.