Princess Diana is widely recognized as one of the most celebrated, iconic brides of her generation, and her wedding to Prince Charles still remains one of the highest-rated televised events in history (the ceremony was viewed by over 750 million people all over the world). The People's Princess has been in the spotlight lately, as HBO released the documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, just last month, and next week marks the 20th anniversary of her tragic death. In the wake of this, Princess Di fan John Hoatson opened up about an incredible memento he's saved since the late royal's nuptials.
During an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Hoatson revealed he began collecting bits from her life by writing to people who were acquainted to the late royal, including friend and confidante, Simone Simmons. While he was able to obtain some items from Princess Di's inner circle, much was found through various auction houses. Years later, his collection includes some handwritten notes, a T-shirt, a used bar of soap, and even a tiny piece of fabric from her wedding dress. In 2011, a museum valued his collection at $500,000, although Hoatson has no plans on selling any of the mementos.
Of all the things in his collection, his favorite is a slice of cake from Diana's wedding. During the interview, he explained why the 36-year-old confection, which was made by Royal Navy Cookery School, means so much to him. “It’s fruitcake. It will never get old. It’s preserved by the air. I sent the cake to England and the box was signed by two of her bridesmaids, India Hicks and Clemmie Hambro, who was of course her littlest bridesmaid at 5 years old,” he said.
When asked if he's tried a piece of the cake, Hoatson hasn't, for a good reason. "No, and everyone asks me that. But it's 36-year-old fruitcake, and it looks really bad."
The Florida native even sat down with one royal who was particularly close to Princess Di. Hoatson revealed he previously had tea with Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, the Duchess of York (whose former husband Prince Andrew is the younger brother of Charles) in Beverly Hills, where the two discussed Diana and his collection.
Recently, in another documentary honoring Diana, titled, Diana: In Her Own Words, National Geographic obtained audio clips from a series of interviews Diana conducted for a book Andrew Morton was writing in 1991. In the documentary, Princess Diana is said to almost have called off the royal wedding, and even called the day the "worst day of my life."
“I went upstairs, had lunch with my sisters who were there, and I said, 'I can't marry him. I can't do this. This is absolutely unbelievable.' And they were wonderful and said, 'Well, bad luck, Duch. Your face is on the tea towel, so you're too late to chicken out,'” Diana revealed.