Princess Diana and Grace Kelly have left strikingly similar legacies. They were both quite young when they were thrusted into royal life. They were both beloved by their people, and, most bizarrely, both of their lives were cut short in tragic car accidents.
Yet, despite their many similarities, it only seems like they met once before Kelly’s death in 1982. According to taped recordings Diana provided for Andrew Morton’s biography Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words, she met Kelly at a musical recital at Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1981, shortly before marrying Charles.
“It was a horrendous occasion … At the time everything was all over the place. I remember that evening so well. I was terrified—nearly sick.” Diana remembered Kelly pulling her into a private conversation in the bathroom and telling her, “Don’t worry, it’ll only get worse.”
Kelly died the following year at just 52 years old. However, Diana carried an unexpected connection to Kelly for years in the form of her iconic Philadelphia Eagles jacket.
During a recent episode of Royally Obsessed, Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito took a dive into Diana’s unexpected connection to Kelly. Citing the Philadelphia Enquirer, the podcasters revealed that Princess Diana was gifted the iconic NFL merchandise after a chance encounter at Grace Kelly’s funeral.
Apparently, while paying her respects to the late Princess of Monaco, she met Philadelphia Eagles statistician Jack Edelstein, who was a longtime friend of Kelly’s brother. Edelstein later looked back on their fateful meeting, calling the princess a “very warm person, very sweet, very kind.”
Inquiring about his profession, Diana asked Edelstein what the Philadelphia Eagles’ team colors were. Of course, he informed her that the players wore green and silver. “Those are my favorite colors,” Diana apparently replied, and it stuck in his memory.
Inspired by their interaction, Edelstein convinced the team’s owner at the time, Leonard Tose, to put together a bag of Eagles merchandise as a gift to the princess. Of course, that included her custom Eagles bomber jacket.
Diana loved the gift and told Edelstein as much in a thank you letter. She proceeded to wear the letterman jacket on multiple occasions—for years it was one of her go-to casual pieces. A photo of her wearing it even graced the cover of People magazine.
It’s unknown where the jacket ended up after Diana’s death in 1997, but it’s most likely in one of her sons’ possessions. The jacket was a powerful symbol of Diana’s individuality, and it’s still one of her most memorable pieces of clothing to this day. Not to mention, given its connection to Grace Kelly, it’s a piece of royal history!