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Saturday, February 28, 1998 Published at 11:35 GMT


Finally gone - Windsors auction raises £14m
image: [ Going ... going ... gone - in what could turn out to be the sale of the century ]
Going ... going ... gone - in what could turn out to be the sale of the century

The nine-day auction of property from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's former Paris home has finally ended, raising more than £14m for charities.

[ image: Sotheby's Diana Brooks:
Sotheby's Diana Brooks: "Thrilled with results"
Auctioneers Sotheby's in New York sold 2,987 lots of clothing, furniture, jewellery and personal mementoes, including letters, of the late couple, perhaps best known as Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson.

The number of individual items ran into several thousands.

The sale made a total of $23,362,045 (£14,197,115) - more than three times the pre-auction estimate of $7m.

The items were put up for auction by Harrods' boss Mohamed Al Fayed, who also owns the Paris mansion where the couple formerly lived.

He has said the proceeds will go to a foundation to fund charities favoured by his late son Dodi Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales, who were killed in a car crash in September.

[ image: Portrait by Henry Cecil in a Cartier gold frame (© Sotheby's)]
Portrait by Henry Cecil in a Cartier gold frame (© Sotheby's)
Buyers from round the world competed for the lots - including the desk at which King Edward VIII signed the abdication in 1936. The desk was sold for $415,000 (£253,360) to an anonymous telephone bidder and a piece of the couple's wedding cake also sold for $28,600 (£17,800).

One of the highest prices during the sale was $2.3m (£1.4 million) for a painting of the Duke in hunting clothes by Sir Alfred Munnings.

Diana Brooks, president and chief executive of Sotheby's, said: "We are absolutely thrilled with these outstanding results."

Mr Al Fayed said in a statement: "I want to thank personally every single person who has bid and bought in this sale and made it possible for children in need round the world to benefit in the memory of my beloved son Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales."

King Edward VIII's abdication just 11 months after he had assumed the throne in 1936 following the death of his father King George V caused a constitutional crisis and shook the monarchy.

American-born divorcee Wallis Simpson was considered an unacceptable consort for the King but he said she was "the woman he loved" and he refused to abandon her to retain his throne.


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22 Feb 98 | World
Abdication desk sold for $415,000

20 Feb 98 | UK
Slice of royal wedding cake goes for £17,000

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Edward VIII's broadcast after the abdication

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