A Garage Sale Like No Other

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NEW YORK: For a royal family whose dignity has gone decidedly dingy, a garage sale, at first glance, might not be quite the thing. But that would be reckoning without the PR panache of Diana, Princess of Wales. Yanking 80 dresses in black tafetta, white chiffon and sheer frufru out of her closet to ring in $3.26 million at Christie's late Wednesday night for British and American AIDS and cancer charities may well prove one of the Princess' more gracious moves of late. Particularly given talk that ex-hubby Prince Charles had pushed to have the high-profile auction moved out of London for looking a bit too much like a Salvation Army initiative for royal comfort. But bargain shoppers are unlikely to shell out the $200,000 paid for a midnight blue velvet number worn while dancing with John Travolta at a White House reception. Or $65,000 for the so-called "Up Yours" short black cocktail dress worn the night Prince Charles admitted his infidelity to TV viewers. For turning the tacky into the touching, Diana still boasts a public personna with which few can compare. Buckingham Palace, take note.