Though the marriage of King Charles III and Princess Diana ended when they separated in 1991, pieces of the 23 separate official wedding cakes are still out there and occasionally they will go up for auction. In 2014, one boxed and preserved fruitcake sold for $1,375, and in 2021, a 28-ounce chunk of frosted cake with a horseshoe design sold for more than $2,500.
On Tuesday, the Daily Mail reported that auction house Dore and Ree has a 41-year-old boxed fruitcake going up for auction, seemingly from the bottom-layer of the five-tier fruit cake centerpiece. This one was found in the house of Nigel Ricketts, a man who worked as a French polisher and furniture restorer in Windsor Castle from 1980 to 1985, after his death earlier this year.
“These items were laid out on a table for us to view by a friend of the late Mr. Ricketts. The cake was in its original box which wasn’t sealed,” Guy Taylor, head of interior sales at Dore and Ree, told the Mail. “You probably wouldn’t want to eat it now but the amount of alcohol probably preserved it, and it still looks like a slice of wedding cake which has kept its shape and form.”
But what makes this cake especially notable is another lot going up for auction alongside it. One is a personal note from then-Prince Charles, in the distinctive and loopy handwriting made famous by the so-called “black spider memos” he used to send to government officials. In it, he thanks the members of the staff who apparently gave the couple a table as a wedding gift. “Diana and I are touched beyond words that you should have gone to so much trouble to find something so eminently useful, and I can assure you that we will treasure it in whichever house it eventually goes to rest,” he wrote, signing off with “Charles.”
The cake is valued at £300 (about $340 in today’s dollars) and the letter is valued at £150 (about $170). Also included in the auction is a collection of invitations to various events and parties at Buckingham Palace that Ricketts collected during his years as a palace employee.
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