How is it that Princess Diana ended up with Philadelphia Eagles gear despite living more than 3,500 miles away from Philly and never having attended a game? It all started at the funeral of Grace Kelly, the famous actress who later became Princess of Monaco.
Princess Diana was attending the funeral in Monaco in September 1982 on behalf of the crown when she met Jack Edelstein, a dear pal of Kelly’s. Edelstein worked as a statistician for the Philadelphia Eagles at the time, and he also happened to be a Philly native, like his late friend. The princess and the numbers guy got to talking about many things, including how refreshing wine spritzers were and what exactly Edelstein did.
“She thought football was like soccer,” Edelstein told the Philadelphia Daily News in 1997 after Diana died. “She asked, ‘What are your colors?’ I said, ‘Green and silver.’ She said, ‘Those are my favorite colors.'”
So Edelstein promised to send Princess Diana a package of Eagles gear. “We also sent her a beautiful Eagles jacket, made for her. It was [then-owner] Leonard Tose’s idea. He never went second-class,” Edelstein. “She sent me a very nice note, how she’d been wearing them around.”
The princess was first photographed wearing the varsity jacket almost a decade later in 1991 while dropping off her son, Prince Harry, at Wetherby Preparatory School in London. “That’s the one we sent her,” Edelstein said. Then in 1994, Princess Diana was spotted wearing the green and silver jacket again while chaperoning her sons and their friends at Alton Towers, an amusement park.
Businessman Jeffrey Lurie, who bought the Eagles just months before a photo of the princess in her Eagles jacket graced the cover of People, later blew up the magazine cover and had it hanging on a wall in his office.
As for whether or not Princess Diana was truly a fan of American football, we’ll never know. “She wears these things because they create a look,” Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton told Barbara Beck, a Daily News writer, in 1991. “She knows very little about English sports, let alone American teams.”
That said, Princess Diana was known for her ability to connect with common folks, so we’d like to imagine her as one of us: cheering and screaming while watching her team play some football.