A box of long forgotten Christmas cards featuring heart-warming childhood pictures of Prince William and Prince Harry are expected to soar at auction due to their rich royal pedigree.
The cards, the earliest of which dates back to 1985, were discovered in Burton, Staffordshire. They were sent to ‘George and Muriel Constable’ from Prince Charles and his late former wife Diana, Princess of Wales and feature ‘wonderful’ family images through the years.
The royals’ signatures are on the cards but Diana’s name isn’t on all of them due to her untimely death in a car crash at the age of 36 in 1997.
The six cards will go into Hansons’ July 31 Library Auction with a combined estimate of £1,500-£2,000.
The Burton vendor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “We never realised the cards existed. We came across them in a box which used to belong to Muriel who was a stamp collector. They’d been forgotten about for decades. We weren’t sure if they were worth anything but needed to get some stamps valued so asked Hansons to take a look.
“Muriel died around 1993 and George passed away in 2002. We believe the cards had remained undisturbed for nearly 20 years.
“Mr and Mrs Constable were the parents of my brother’s late wife. They used to run the post office in Newton Saint Loe, near Bath, in Somerset, a village which is part of the Duchy of Cornwall. I suppose that’s why they received the royal Christmas cards.”
The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate, established in 1337 by Edward III, which funds the public, charitable and private activities of the Prince of Wales and his family.
The vendor added: “After Mr and Mrs Constable died, the cards were passed to another stamp collector in our family who has recently gone into a care home. We discovered them in 2017 but, due to illness, they were put to one side. It’s a nice surprise to learn they’re rather special."
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, was touched by the poignancy of the cards. He said: “They create a pictorial timeline showing the royal princes growing up. It’s a celebration of royal family life.
“The princes were aged around one and three on the earliest Christmas card posted in 1985. By the time the last card was despatched in 1999 they were teenagers, almost grown men, aged 15 and 17.
“Diana appears on the cards when they were small then, sadly, disappears. Prince William was 15, and Prince Harry only 12 when they lost their mother and they often speak about the deep and lasting impact it has had on their lives.
“Harry, who’s just discovering the enormous feeling of love and responsibility that comes with being a parent, is now 34 and William, a father-of-three, is 36 - the same age as his mother when she died.
“Diana adored her sons and was hugely popular – the nation’s Queen of Hearts. It’s incredible to think we lost her more than 20 years ago. Any royal signature is highly valued but, due to her premature death, her name increases the value of an object even more.”
The royal Christmas cards will be sold in Hansons Auctioneers’ July 31 Library Auction at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, ST17 0XN.