A bicycle that belonged to the late Diana, Princess of Wales but which Buckingham Palace officials ordered her to stop riding, resulting in it being branded the “shame bike,” was sold at auction in Oxfordshire yesterday for £9,200, reports the Oxford Mail.
She used the blue Raleigh Traveller Bicycle before and during her engagement to Prince Charles in 1981.
However, ahead of their wedding in July that year, she was told to stop riding it by royal household staff who did not believe it to be an appropriate form of transport for the future wife of the heir to the throne.
She sold it to Gerald Stonehouse, the father of one of her friends, and it was left in his garage for 27 years until he sold it at his Buckinghamshire auction house for £211 in 2008.
Ahead of yesterday’s sale at Thame-based Farnon & Lake, auctioneer Duncan Lang said: “This was Diana’s bike but when she got engaged to Prince Charles it was said within the palace that it wasn’t very regal to be riding around London on a bicycle so it was sold and that was that.”
“It was only several years later that the story got out if you like and the bike became a really collectable piece of royal memorabilia.”
“It’s in really nice condition but has actually been quite difficult to put a value on,” he added.
“Raleigh are among the best British bikes you can buy anyway, but with the excellent provenance who knows what it will make – royal collectors will pay big money for things if they want them enough.”
That proved an accurate prediction as the bike sold for £9,200. The lot included a letter from the bike’s previous owner Mr Stonehouse establishing its provenance, and a copy of a 1981 Evening Standard article about Buckingham Palace’s disapproval in which it was described as the “shame bicycle.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.