Market and auctions

Ranking the Royal household? Not the done thing…
But for cars, The Queen and Lady Di are head to head.

Cliff Goodall's view

Photo Credit: Bonhams, Brightwells, Silverstone Auctions, Handh Auctions

Sometimes bad luck changes our plans puts and this time that’s exactly what happened.

The CCA auction was scheduled for 28th March in Leamington Spa, England, where they were to offer an Audi 80 Cabriolet that once belonged to Diana Spencer, better known as Lady Di. Unfortunately, a small virus changed everyone’s plans and the car was withdrawn.

But as the Americans say: “If life gives you lemons make lemonade”. While we wait for this car to return to the market – and that the global situation is resolved – we have put together a list of cars owned by of four members of the British royal family. A second test to verify the law of multipliers…

Let’s start with Princess Margaret, the Queen’s late sister. In 2011, a 1975 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow used by her was sold for £21,850, while the average price in that year was £7,871, an increase of 178%. Princess Margaret was a huge fan of this model, so much so that she owned three examples. The last of which, a 1980 Wraith II, she kept for 22 years and on 8th March 2020 this too went up for auction. A few have recently been sold at around £10,000 each but the one that belonged to the Princess was offered at £50-60,000, over five times the market value. Unfortunately it was not sold, and we do not know at how much the offers stopped arriving, but we are sure that in this case too, the paddles did not stop being raised at the price of a standard model.

Princess Margaret’s 1975 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow LWB Limousine
Princess Margaret’s 1975 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow LWB Limousine

It must be said that most of the cars owned by the royal family are standard specimens with very small modifications, often for safety reasons (auxiliary lights and batteries, light armour plating, etc.), therefore any comparison with standard specimens is a correct one. For “scientific” purposes, we have not included the very different and unique examples (for instance those with special or elongated coachwork) in this particular classification.

Lady Di was a global figure, observed, criticized, and loved. She did not have a great passion for cars and chose them more for personal taste (and, I presume given her intelligence, for practicality) than for any technical characteristics. Hardly any collector would spend an insane amount on a 1994 Audi 80 2.6 Cabriolet. The car that was lent to her by a dealer of the time was sold for £54,000, without this history it would have gone or just 5,500. The sale dates back to 2016 but the 9.8 times multiplication of the price would easily be replicable once again today.

Lady Di’s 1994 Audi 80 2.6 Cabriolet
Lady Di’s 1994 Audi 80 2.6 Cabriolet

Moving on to another family member: Prince Edward. The brother-in-law of Lady Di, and son of Queen Elizabeth II. His aunt was Princess Margaret. Not even Prince Edward is a big car enthusiast, unlike his brother Prince Charles who goes as far as giving each of his cars a name. In 2014, a Rover 75 2.5 Connoisseur owned by him changed hands for £3,960, more or less double the amount for a car of similar quality but without the nobility.

Prince Edward’s 2002 Rover 75 2.5 Connoisseur SE LWB Saloon
Prince Edward’s 2002 Rover 75 2.5 Connoisseur SE LWB Saloon

So a quick recap: in last place is Prince Edward with +100%, then his aunt with values ​​that range between +178% and +400% and at the top of the family tree (+880%) is Diana, Princess of Wales.

Of course, one has to consider the starting value and the one the example sells for. It is easy to double a car worth a few thousand pounds while it is much harder to double a car worth tens or hundreds of thousands.

And so we come to the Queen. Hers are the most viewed and photographed cars of all and in a sense they are also the best documented ones. Over the course of her 67-year reign, she must have owned or used (simply seating the “royal rumps” inside increases their value) hundreds but in recent years an example that had been a 21st century royal carriage went up for auction: a 2001 Daimler Majestic 4.0 with just 15,300 miles since new. In 2012 it sold for £45,360 an 886% hike over the average price of £4,175. But 5 years later the same car went again for a slightly lower figure, £42,750 against average values ​​of the model which remained substantially stable. This time the increase stood at “just” + 824%.

Queen Elizabeth II’s 2001 Daimler Majestic 4.0 LWB
Queen Elizabeth II’s 2001 Daimler Majestic 4.0 LWB

Lastly, a small similarity on this. Once again in 2017, another official state car was sold, a 1997 Jaguar XJ6 4.0 LWB. It had belonged to Jack Straw, then Home Secretary and later Lord High Chancellor, who had a light armour and some additional security systems. The final price? £2,530 practically no added value on his part.

God Save the Queen!