John Hoatson, an alumni director for Keiser University probably has the most distinctive and vast collection of Princess Diana and royal family memorabilia on the planet. He has more than 13,000 pieces estimated at over $500,000 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, California.
But the most interesting item in his collection has to be a piece of cake; fruit cake to be exact. The valuable piece of dessert was directly from the cake at Princess Diana's wedding with Prince Charles in 1981 - a grand occasion that drew over 750 million viewers worldwide.
He said that the cake is undoubtedly his favorite piece of memorabilia but that he could never possibly dream of eating it; because of the sentimental value and also because it's 36-years-old and looks very bad in its current state.
The box in which he got the cake was also signed by two of Princess Diana's bridesmaids, India Hicks and Clemmie Hambro - who, at five-years-old was also the youngest bridesmaid at the wedding.
Only eight-years-old at the time, Hoatson claims that he fell in love with the Princess during her wedding. In a quote to the Tampa Bay Times, he said: "I fell in love with (Diana) right then. She was the prettiest person in the world," Hoatson, now 44, said. "I followed her entire life. I loved her humanitarian work. I had a photo of her on my nightstand throughout college."
Besides the cake, he also says that he really likes all the cards and letters. He said to TBT: "I really like the letters and cards. She was a huge card writer. I have an engagement letter from right after she was engaged to Charles. It's signed 'Lady Diana.'"
It all started with the Princess's death in 1997, with Hoatson writing to the people who knew her with the hope that he could gather signatures and a portfolio of remembrances from the people who knew her. In the process, people also started sending other things; her friend and confidante Simone Simmons sent him signed birthday cards, Diana's T-shirt and a notepad Diana got when she vacationed at the K Club in Barbuda in 1996. He also has a bar of soap that Princess Diana washed her hands with.
His impressive collection now also includes a tiny swatch of fabric from her dress that took him seven years to obtain from Stephen Walters & Sons; with the swatches being from the same bolt of fabric, the taffeta that made her wedding dress.
He also holds dear a meeting with Sarah 'Fergie' Ferguson, the Duchess of York, when he got the opportunity to speak to her about Princess Diana, the events and charity work she did and also his sizeable collection of memorabilia.
He's also quite adamant that he's not going to sell any of it, even though this being the anniversary year mean that signed pictures of the Princess go for around $20,000 a piece and cards go for as much as $8,000.
Bonus: A picture of Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta at the White House that was also a part of John's collection
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