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Princess Diana’s Blue Raleigh Traveler, the “Shame Bike,” Is Being Auctioned Off

It may be hard to keep track of all the new e-bikes coming out these days, but as the saying goes, you can never go wrong with a classic, especially if that classic is also a piece of royal memorabilia.
Princess Diana's 1970 Raleigh Traveler, also known as "the Shame Bike" 6 photos
Princess Diana's 1970 Raleigh Traveler, also known as "the Shame Bike"Princess Diana's 1970 Raleigh Traveler, also known as "the Shame Bike"Princess Diana's 1970 Raleigh Traveler, also known as "the Shame Bike"Princess Diana continued to ride, but never in public againPrincess Diana's 1970 Raleigh Traveler, also known as "the Shame Bike"
Princess Diana’s 1970 Raleigh Traveler bicycle has reemerged and will be going under the hammer at the end of the month. It is currently listed with Sussex-based Burstow & Hewett auction house, which estimates it could sell for as much as £20,000 (roughly $27,700 at today’s exchange rate). In reality, though, it is difficult, if not downright impossible to name an exact price for such a piece.

Especially now, in the aftermath of the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which she accused the Royal Family of racism and ignoring her needs to the point where they refused her help for her mental issues, this Raleigh bike has perfect timing. Back in the day, it was dubbed “the Shame Bike” because, once Diana got engaged to Prince Charles, she was told it would be “unfit for a princess” if she continued cycling through London after the wedding.

At that point, Diana had owned the bike for years and had been riding it for just as many. Pressed by royal advisors, she gave it up. The auction house goes as far as to describe it as a “symbol of oppression” for the future Princess.

Diana secretly sold it to a friend of her father’s, who kept it in his garage for 27 years. In 2008, he sold it off for £211 ($292). It was auctioned off again in 2018, when it fetched £9,200 ($12,720)—an impressive amount, even without the very charged context of today.

Riding on 26-inch wheels, the Traveler has three Sturmey Archer gears and the original hand pump attached to the tube. It’s in good condition, having been kept inside and not used that much, but as the photos show, it can use some touching up here and there. It comes with a framed letter from the first owner, who got it directly from Diana, as well as a newspaper clipping from August 1981, in which it was featured heavily.

The auction will stream live on April 28.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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