The princess lived at 60 Coleherne Court, a property in a mansion block close to the fashionable King’s Road in Chelsea, when she settled in the capital as a young woman before marrying the Prince of Wales in 1981.
She shared the flat with a number of girlfriends from 1979 to 1981 including Virginia Clarke (nee Pitman), who helped unveil the English Heritage plaque during a ceremony on Wednesday.
Diana described her years at the property as “the happiest time of her life”, according to Andrew Morton’s book Diana, In Her Own Words.
The highest profile former member of the monarchy to be bestowed the honour, Diana was nominated by the London Assembly after the body ran a campaign asking Londoners to suggest women worthy of a blue plaque.
She is being recognised during a year when she would have celebrated her 60th birthday. She died in a Paris car crash in 1997.
Clarke, Diana’s flatmate at Coleherne Court, said: “Those were happy days for all of us and the flat was always full of laughter.
“Diana went off to become so much to so many. It’s wonderful that her legacy will be remembered in this way.”
How very lovely that this blue plaque will be going up outside Coleherne Court – thank you, @EnglishHeritage, for commemorating such a very happy place for Diana in this way. pic.twitter.com/FiDk3ZtLpG
— Charles Spencer (@cspencer1508) April 1, 2021
Curatorial director at English Heritage, Anna Eavis, said: “Diana was one of the world’s most famous women and she used her fame and influence to raise awareness of issues such as homelessness and landmines.
“She played a critically important role in helping to destigmatise illnesses such as HIV, leprosy and depression.
“Diana moved into Coleherne Court in July 1979 and was living here when she first began her courtship with the Prince of Wales.
“It is fitting that our blue plaque remembers her at this place where her life in the public eye first began.”
Andrew Boff, chairman of the London Assembly, said: “The London Assembly BackthePlaque campaign in 2019 had a wonderful response and provided some fascinating nominations.
“We understand why many thought the work of Diana, Princess of Wales, should be recognised – her landmine campaign and HIV/AIDS awareness work was truly global and made an enormous difference to many lives.
“Diana had, and still has, a very special place in the hearts of Londoners and we are thrilled to see her blue plaque formally placed as a monument to her work for others.”