A Florida man is so enamored with the memory of Princess Diana that he owns $500,000 worth of memorabilia to remind him of the royal—including a piece of cake from her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, John Hoatson acquired the cake after slivers of the five-tier confection were offered as a keepsake. Hoatson, 44, who has more than 13,000 Princess Di keepsakes in his Fort Lauderdale home, says the cake is his favorite piece. “It’s fruitcake. It will never get old,” he told the publication. “It’s preserved by the air.”
Hoatson is intent on preserving history and Princess Diana’s story. At only eight years old, he fell in love with the royal while watching the televised wedding. “She was the prettiest person in the world,” he recalled. “I followed her entire life. I loved her humanitarian work. I had a photo of her on my nightstand throughout college.”
Along with the now-infamous cake, Hoatson owns prewedding tokens as well. “[Diana] was a huge card writer,” he noted. “I have an engagement letter from right after she was engaged to Charles. It’s signed ‘Lady Diana.’”
It has taken Hoatson many years to build his collection, and he has no plans to sell his most prized possessions. After Diana’s death in 1997, he started writing letters to people who knew the princess, asking for signatures and remembrances. From there, his collection grew. “I think it helps that people know I’m not going to sell any of it. That’s not what this is about,” he explained.
What’s next for the collector? A trip overseas. “I’m really hoping I can travel to England later this month for the anniversary,” he concluded. “I went in 1996, and tried so hard to track her down so I could see her somewhere, but I never did. Buckingham Palace has her desk on display. I’d want to see that.”