People’s Princess at 60: Your memories of Diana's visits to Chesterfield

Princess Diana radiated warmth and friendliness wherever she went. On her 60th birthday, people have shared their memories of the People’s Princess visiting Chesterfield.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 10:51 am

Forty years ago the princess accompanied her husband Prince Charles to open The Pavements shopping centre. Diana was pregnant with the couple’s first child.

The royal visitors attracted the largest crowd in living memory to the Market Square where they appeared on the balcony of the Market Hall.

Angela Davies commented on the Derbyshire Times Facebook page: “We went with the school and was outside the shopping centre, she came up and said hello to the group I was with.”

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Princess Diana receives a gift on her visit to Chesterfield to open The Pavements shopping centre in 1981.
Princess Diana receives a gift on her visit to Chesterfield to open The Pavements shopping centre in 1981.

Cheryl Day said: “My friends and I took the day off school and walked across from Etam for the walkabout. Charles went down one side of the street shaking hands and Diana came past us. I was right at the front and shook her hand. I managed to say ‘hello’.”

Joanne Hallett said: “I was right at the front outside Littlewoods. it had just been announced that Diana was pregnant. Anyway, Prince Charles came right past us and I shook his hand and I cheekily said "well done sir" and he winked at me.”

Lesley Birks said: “Had the day off school, gave her some flowers….just beautiful.”

Paula Brown said: “I was chosen to give her a bunch of flowers at the Crooked Spire out of all the Sunday School kids.”

Crowds packed Chesterfeld 's market square to see Prince Charles and Princess Diana make an appearance on the balcony of the Market Hall in 1981. Photo courtesy of Chesterfield Museum.

Margaret Stokes said: “I was working in the Co-op food hall and they closed the store so we could see them.”

Manda Jane Byatte said: “I remember seeing her in 1981. What a lovely lady and wearing emerald green hat and coat.”

Jackie Mason said: “I remember seeing her in 1981 when she came to town. My Grandma and Grandad were part of the Royal British Legion parade. I stood with my Grandma and she went to take my hand...only for a horrible woman next to me to grab her hand away from me and I didn’t get the chance after that. I was sooo upset. I was six years old...never forgot it!”

Diana returned to Chestertfield in 1993 to visit the town’s Relate office in her role as patron of the charity and Whittington Hall Hospital.

Amanda Johnson submitted this photo of herself with Princess Diana.

READ THIS: People’s Princess on visits to Derbyshire – in pictures

Princess Diana was patron of the charity Relate when she visited their offices in Chesterfield in 1993. She is pictured talking to Teresa Cresswell who still chairs Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Relate. Photo courtesy of Relate.