After holding onto a gift from Princess Diana for over two decades, a yacht stewardess has put the royal’s sweatshirt up for auction. The off-white Ralph Lauren Polo Sports pull-over with “USA” in red across the front, which Diana personally wore, is expected to fetch over $10,000 with RR Auction. Princess Diana gave the piece of clothing to Deborah Gribble, who served as the chief stewardess during a yachting trip she took with boyfriend Dodi Fayed, as a thank you for her service just before the royal’s tragic death.
According to RR Auction, Gribble served aboard the Jonikal, the luxury yacht owned by Fayed’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. In July 1997, the couple cruised southern France aboard the yacht with Diana’s young sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The following month, Diana and Fayed enjoyed a romantic getaway to the Italian Riviera on the Jonikal. At the end of the trip, Princess Diana gifted Gribble the sweatshirt.
Gribble was one of the five staff members who joined the couple on their post-cruise flight from Athens to Paris. Diana, Fayed and their driver Henri Paul died in a car crash while trying to evade paparazzi less than a day later. Gribble recalled Diana as “relaxed, fun and light” aboard the Jonikal, away from the prying eyes of the shutterbugs, adding that the royal “traveled light” and was “never with full makeup.” “I felt very privileged to be in this secret environment,” Gribbed told Women’s Wear Daily last year.
However, the vacation was missing some comforts of home. “She mentioned looking forward to getting back,” said Gribble. “She wanted to see her boys and she liked to go to the gym—that was a big thing she mentioned a few times to me. She also missed eating at more of a British time, which is at 6 or 7 o’clock as opposed to 10 o’clock in the Mediterranean. She really was living a totally different lifestyle than what she was used to.” Other items available for purchase include an autographed photo of Diana, a family Christmas card featuring Prince Harry as a baby, and a handwritten letter to Diana’s personal chauffeur.