How the Windsor sale will aid Dodi's charities

Billed as the biggest sale ever, the auction of the Windsor collection will raise money for causes considered dear to Dodi Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales. Kim Sengupta investigates.

When New Yorkers got their first sight yesterday of the belongings of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the auctioneer Sotheby's described them as "perhaps the greatest treasure house of royal possessions offered at auction".

But there are more ghosts than just those of Wallis Simpson and the former king Edward VIII lurking among the shoes, silk ties and abdication desk put on display in Manhattan. The spectres of Dodi Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales, will also haunt the sale on 20 February. Dodi's father, the Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, has committed the proceeds of the sale to be distributed to the Dodi Fayed International Charitable Foundation and causes dear to the Princess, as a tribute to the couple whose deaths in a Paris car crash in August last year so shook the world.

With 44,000 items on sale, the auction is set to be the biggest of all time. Its proceeds have been estimated at $5m-$7m (pounds 3m-pounds 5m). However these are thought to be conservative figures, for the hyping of the event is expected to lead to something like the frenzy which greeted the sale of the Duchess's jewellery in Geneva in l987.

Using the money from such a sale to benefit causes connected to Dodi and Diana must have seemed entirely apt to the Fayeds, for the Windsor belongings being auctioned off come from the Duke and Duchess's Bois de Boulogne home, which the Princess and her companion visited hours before their death.

Undoubtedly the money will make a difference to the work of the causes which will benefit. But who will be the recipients?

It is difficult to tell from what is known about Dodi Fayed's life just which good causes would receive money from the foundation. Mohamed Fayed bought the Windsor collection for $4.5m from the Institut Pasteur, the sole beneficiary of the Duchess's will after her death in 1986. There is no suggestion that that organisation will receive any money from this sale, but medicine is likely to benefit. Children's charities, too, seem to be contenders, given Diana's commitment to them.

The first tranche of money for the foundation will come from Mr Fayed who says he will provide pounds 5m towards the building of a children's hospital in Diana's name. It unclear where where it will be built.

Despite Mohamed Fayed's readiness to speak on a whole variety of issues - be it Harrods, Tiny Rowland, Tory MPs and the death of Diana - he has remained noticeably silent about the Dodi foundation. It is, for instance, not known who might administer the charity. There is a board of trustees, but so far the Fayed family is not disclosing who they are. Michael Cole, Mr Fayed's press spokesman who is in New York for the sale, said: "The foundation is a comparatively new thing. Mohamed is a trustee, and there are lots of prominent doctors and others on it. All the money will go to good causes. This auction is huge, it is not just the biggest ever royal auction, but the biggest auction ever."

The Dodi fund has no links with the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Mr Fayed's insistence that the Princess had spoken some "last words " after the crash and his seeming concurrence with claims that she gave a "last interview" to Paris Match upset her family. Mr Fayed's executives point out however that there is no question of any conflict between the two funds.

Not everyone is happy about the collection being sold. Mr Fayed had outbid several military museums when he bought it. Now there are fears that a part of British heritage may be lost. Hugo Vickers, author of The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, said it was "odd and disappointing" that Mr Fayed should decide to sell. Mr Fayed's response was that he was doing so "reluctantly". His legacy, he says, apart from the fundraising venture, is to establish an archive of Windsor papers and photographs.

News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Life and Style
fashion

News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news

Video: It is the type of thing no parent wants to hear

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Langley James : Field Support Engineer; Dynamics, SQL; Manchester, £33k+Car

    £33000 - £36000 per annum + Car+Laptop+Phone: Langley James : Field Support En...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planning MRP Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's most progressive and innovativ...

    Recruitment Genius: Financial Sales Executives

    £19000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to our clients continuing s...

    Recruitment Genius: Tyre Technician / Mechanic

    £15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game