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Princess Diana’s Former Bodyguard Explains Why the Royal Wore *That* Philadelphia Eagles Jacket

You know the one

Princess Diana.
Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Throughout her life, Princess Diana had too many iconic fashion moments to count: the sheep sweater, the “revenge dress,” the biker shorts. Of course, one of her most unforgettable pieces of outerwear was her Philadelphia Eagles letterman jacket, which she wore on numerous occasions. Now, the former bodyguard to the late princess, Ken Wharfe, is speaking up about why exactly Diana chose to wear the sporty bomber jacket.

Princess Diana.
Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

As part of a new segment for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Wharfe breaks down the meaning behind the coat. “Diana always craved the normalcy,” he explains. “By being a member of the royal family, that was almost impossible. Neither William nor Harry, when they were kids, wanted their mother to sort of dress in her finery, take them to school. So all Diana would do is be as casual as possible.”

Wharfe adds: “And it wasn't there to impress the people at school. She wanted to be seen as a young mother that was, you know, ‘with it.’ Diana loved to be different, this was her style. It sort of showed the public and her children that she was a normal mother in a style that people liked.”

Princess Diana.
Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty Images

The late Lady Di first got the coat after meeting Philadelphia Eagles statistician Jack Edelstein at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco in 1982. While there, the royal happened to mention that her favorite colors were silver and green (which are also the Eagles’ colors), and Edelstein decided to send her a care package.

Then, Princess Diana wore the jacket on a number of occasions, starting with a visit to the Wetherby School in London, where she was dropping off Prince Harry. Then, the princess wore the sportswear again, during an outing to Alton Towers Theme Park with both her sons (a moment that was captured on the cover of People in 1994).

diana hero4
Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty Images

“This jacket wasn't just on a floor of her wardrobe in a palace,” Wharfe says. “If Diana were alive today, she'd be excited to know that this jacket, 25, 30 years on, has now become the subject of very positive public scrutiny. I think that's fantastic.”

You can catch the entire special on ESPN on Sunday, October 22 at 10 a.m.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the former Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a...