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
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
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

    March On Cancer™ - Local Marketing and Promotions Volunteer

    This is an unpaid voluntary role.: Cancer Research UK: We need motivational vo...

    Maths Teacher - Evening session

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: I am looking for a qualified experi...

    Teaching Assistants

    £50 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing ...

    Supply Teachers needed in Stowmarket

    £1034496 - £1516224 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The Job:Randstad ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week