Princess Diana’s former London flatmate reveals they were told to ‘checks for bombs’

Virginia Clarke, who was one of four girls living with Diana in the prestigious Chelsea flat, made the stark revelation as a blue plaque was unveiled in honour of the late Princess of Wales outside the property. Mrs Clarke, then Virginia Pitman, lived at 60 Coleherne Court with Lady Diana, Carolyn Bartholomew and Ann Bolton, from July 1979 until the royal engagement in 1981.

Mrs Clarke recalled the women were given little advice by the Palace once Diana started dating the Queen’s son.

But she noted a “surreal” moment they were told about identifying explosives – however this information provided little help to the foursome.

Mrs Clarke said: “Sadly none of us had read the handbook for bomb-spotting so we didn’t know where to begin with that one.”

Diana’s former flatmate was speaking as the memorial was installed at the property on Old Brompton Road on Wednesday.

Diana was nominated by the London Assembly after it ran a campaign asking Londoners to suggest women for the honour.

London’s blue plaque scheme, run by English Heritage, highlights buildings where famous figures from the past lived and worked.

Mrs Clarke described the time living with Diana as “happy days for all of us” and said the flat was “always full of laughter”.

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The commemorative plaque comes in the year the late Princess would have celebrated her 60th birthday.

In July, a bronzed statue of Diana was unveiled in the gardens of Kensington Palace by her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

During the ceremony outside her old home on Wednesday afternoon, Mrs Clarke added it was “great to cherish this place in her name”.

Diana had described her years at the property as “the happiest time of her life”, according to Andrew Morton’s book Diana, In Her Own Words.

Diana’s former flatmate also spoke emotionally about being part of a piece of history.

Mrs Clarke said: “I was saying to one of my children, when I’m dead and gone, you will drive past that plaque and know that I pulled the string.

“It makes me feel really nice – it’s really a big thing.

“Even though my name’s not on there and it’s not really for me, obviously, I still feel it’s a lovely thing to have here.”

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