Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
Princess Diana to get blue plaque at London flat 'she spent happiest years in'
1 April 2021, 16:26
Princess Diana's life and legacy will be honoured with a blue plaque on her former London flat where she spent her "happiest" years.
Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, said the flat in Earl’s Court was a "very happy place" for her.
She spent her time as a young woman at 60 Coleherne Court from 1979, living with her friends before marrying Prince Charles in 1981.
Anna Eavis, English Heritage's curatorial director, said Diana's campaigns to highlight issues including HIV/Aids and landmines were deciding factors, as well as her enduring appeal as "an inspiration and cultural icon to many".
The earl tweeted: "How very lovely that this blue plaque will be going up outside Coleherne Court - thank you, @EnglishHeritage for commemorating such a very happy place for Diana in this way."
She is the highest-profile former royal family member to be given the honour, after being nominated by the London Assembly.
It ran a campaign asking residents to suggest a woman who should have a plaque.
Her parents bought her the three-bedroom flat, in a mansion block, and she had a sign above her bedroom door which read "Chief Chick".
At the time she started living there, she was an 18-year-old working at Young England Kindergarten in Pimlico, central London.
She set up a cleaning rota and charged flatmates £18 a week.
Diana said her time there was the "happiest time of her life", according to Andrew Morton's book Diana, In Her Own Words.
"It was juvenile, innocent, uncomplicated and above all fun. I laughed my head off there," she said.
Ms Eavis said: "Her profile and popularity remains undiminished nearly 25 years after she died and clearly a part of that was the ease with which she seemed to communicate with everybody.
"I think what appealed to the panel when they were considering her nomination was she's undeniably a significant figure in late 20th century Britain, with a close London association obviously.
"She did undeniably play an important role in destigmatising HIV/Aids and also towards the very end of her life campaigned in those anti-landmine campaigns which was also very important."
English Heritage has also announced the names of five other women who will be recognised with a blue plaque.
The plaque recognising crystallographer and peace campaigner Dame Kathleen Lonsdale will be unveiled on Thursday, 50 years after her death, at her former home in east London.
Later in the year, others will be put up for fashion designer Jean Muir, anti-slavery campaigner and former slave Ellen Craft, barrister Helena Normanton and social reformer Caroline Norton.