Another piece of Princess Diana history went up on the auction block, but this time, it wasn't something generally associated with the royals. Instead of crown jewels or priceless letters, the Diana memorabilia that just sold was actually something she wore much more regularly. The sweatshirt that she wore to work out, which featured Virgin Atlantic's Varga Girl advertising logo, sold for $53,532 last night to a mystery buyer in California, making it one very expensive piece of workout wear.
Diana was photographed in the piece regularly and the pullover was actually given to Jenni Rivett, her personal trainer, back in 1997. Rivett offered it up on Boston-based RR Auction, which hosted the sale. She explained that the sweater was something of a security blanket for the princess, who wore it intentionally to ward off photographers and anyone looking to make remarks about the clothes she wore. By wearing something as commonplace as a logo sweatshirt, she wasn't giving critics any material. However, even though she tried to make it mundane, the sweatshirt became iconic.
"She always wore the same sweatshirt when we met to work out," Rivett explained to the Mirror. "She was tired of the media speculating about her clothes when there were more important things happening in the world."
Rivett elaborated in the auction listing, saying, "Every single session all the media were outside camped with their stepladders, and cameras and lenses and everything. For her she just found it so incredibly, 'why are they so interested in me when there is more important things to worry about in the world.' It wasn't her that asked for all this. I remember one of her strategies was that she was going to wear the same Virgin Active sweatshirt every single session."
Rivett decided to sell it and donate the money to charity, something that she thinks Diana would have been happy to do if she were still alive. Specifically, the money is going to go to Malawi, where it will help girls go to school.
"The princess would definitely approve if she were still alive," Rivett added. "Causes in Africa were always very close to her heart."
The sweatshirt was just one of a few that Diana left for Rivett, though it's the first one to hit the auction block. Rivett, who included several notes in the sale — including one signed by Diana herself — explained that Sir Richard Branson gave the sweatshirt to Diana and it eventually became her most-worn gym-going outfit. For anyone curious about Diana's routine, Rivett told Channel 24 that when they worked out together, it was usually a combination of "cardiovascular exercise and strength training" and that even though the paparazzi were outside the gym waiting to get their photos, Diana was always "focused and committed to her exercise regime."
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