A Royal chauffeur who kept Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage secrets is to sell some of the personal gifts they gave him.
David Garforth drove the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Princess Anne and young Princes William and Harry during his time with the Royals between 1983 and 1990.
He saw a carefree Diana sit on the kitchen table at Highgrove licking a bowl of custard soon after the wedding.
But he soon had to turn a discreet ”deaf ear” to rows as the marriage broke down.
David, who was Charles and Diana’s chauffeur for seven years, said: ”It was a great honour to work for the Prince and Princess and all the staff had some wonderful times.
”When it was just Diana in the car she used to chat away and have a laugh all the time. I could say anything to her and even use the odd swear word when I was telling her a joke – and she never used to mind.”
Gifts including two handwritten letters from the Princess are expected to fetch more than £3,000 when they go under the hammer in a sale of Royal memorabilia by auctioneers Reeman Dansie in Colchester on November 23.
A navy blue leather aide memoire notepad with Diana’s gilt crowned D monogram, gold corners and a gilt pen she gave him when he left the Royal Household in 1990 is expected to make more than £500.
It comes with a handwritten Kensington Palace card from Diana saying: ”Dear David. A little note to say thank you for all you have done for me over the years and in particular for the laughs! I do hope wherever your path takes you, it will be a happy one.”
In 1990 David drove the Prince and Princess on an official tour to Hungary as the first members of the Royal Family to visit a former Warsaw Pact country.
As well as sharing celebrations at the end of communism, Diana visited the world-famous Peto Institute to mark their work with handicapped children.
In a handwritten letter on Kensington Palace headed notepaper expected to fetch more than £150, the Princess wrote: ”Dear David. Just a brief note to say a huge thank you for driving us around Hungary during the past week.
”It made such a difference having you there … no doubt you had an interesting drive (!) back but I did want you to know how enormously we appreciated everything you did for us.”
Two signed Christmas cards from Charles and Diana are expected to make £500 each and two leather wallets bearing the Prince of Wales’ official feathers cipher are each estimated at £150 to £200.
David, 63, from Stockport, said: ”The Prince and Princess were great to work for. In the early days after they got married in 1981 and William and Harry were born, they had a very close, very loyal team and they were on first-name terms with everyone.
”I can remember walking into the kitchen at Highgrove and Diana would be sitting on the table, swinging her legs, licking a great big bowl of custard and chatting away to the chef Mervyn Wycherley.”
But as Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles began to cast a shadow over the marriage, staff found themselves having to turn a blind eye to the Royal couple’s rows.
Yesterday David said: ”It was the beginning of the end and it was very sad.
”Everyone on the staff would hear the rows. But they were never mentioned, no-one ever talked about it.
”As the Prince and Princess’ chauffeur, I saw things at first-hand because they were sat behind me in the car.
”The public don’t realise that a chauffeur’s job is not just about driving the car, you also see and hear what other people never see or hear.
”But my job was to concentrate on making sure the Prince and Princess were driven safely.
”Obviously I heard what was being said but, rather than ear-wigging a conversation, I would tend to sub-consciously block it out and concentrate on my job.”
The collection will come up at Reeman Dansie’s Royal memorabilia auction on November 23.