For years she was the confidante of Prince Charles, who would make ‘comfort stops’ at her Wiltshire home on his way back to Highgrove.
And now, 13 years after her death from cancer, the influence of Australian-born Lady Tryon — whom Charles nicknamed Kanga — remains significant, thanks to the roaring trade in royal memorabilia.
Last week, an avid female collector from New Malden, Surrey, paid £1,080 for a card originally received by Lord and Lady Tryon from the Prince and Princess of Wales. It is signed, ‘And much love from Charles and Diana’ and is dated 1991.
Quite how the card came to be on sale after so many years is, I gather, upsetting for Lord Tryon. His younger son Ed, 31, tells me the family is very concerned to learn their old Christmas cards are being sold on internet auction site eBay.
Two other cards, posted in 1983 and 1991 and addressed to Anthony Tryon’s elder son Charles, 34, who is the Prince’s godson and a former Page of Honour to the Queen, are also on sale for £850 and £1,150 respectively.
A third sent in 1990 and addressed, ‘To You Both’ and, again, signed by Charles and Diana is for sale at £1,150.
Says Ed: ‘We are horrified by this. We are not in the habit of keeping old Christmas cards. But if we did, we would certainly not be selling them. I think it’s appalling.’
The seller describes the cards as coming ‘from what we consider to be the most important collection that we have ever acquired.’
The blurb continues: ‘Christmas cards that have been hand-signed by both Prince Charles and Princess Diana are quite rare, even rarer still though, is this card, sent to a famous aristocratic family who were personal friends of both Charles and Diana.’
Of the card to Charles Tryon, the blurb reads: ‘This card was sent to the son, who was the godson of Prince Charles. None of these cards have ever been offered before. This combination makes this one of the rarest cards ever to be offered for sale.’
According to Ed, whose mother was once described by Prince Charles as ‘the only woman who ever understood me’, suspicion has fallen on a former family retainer.
‘I would be very disappointed if this person had sold our family cards.’