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Duchess Leaves Fortune, Gems to Pasteur Institute

From Reuters

Ignoring her estranged in-laws, the Duchess of Windsor named the Pasteur Institute as the main beneficiary of her fortune, including her famed jewels, her lawyer said today.

Lawyer Suzanne Blum said the will stipulated the research center will inherit all money remaining from her estate after donations to other charities. Blum declined to estimate the value of the estate or name the other beneficiaries.

She said the duchess decided to make the bequest to the Paris-based institute 12 years ago on condition that none of the funds be used in research requiring vivisection.

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“She was a great friend of animals and handicapped children and always took an interest in their well-being. Her will says specifically that the funds for the Pasteur Institute . . . should not be used directly or indirectly for vivisection,” Blum said.

The semi-private center conducts wide-ranging biological research and has been in the forefront of the search for a vaccine against the deadly viral disease AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

The duchess’s death raised controversy over whether her estate included jewels supposed to be crown property such as a set of emeralds given to Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor, by his grandmother, Queen Alexandra.

But Buckingham Palace sources said any jewels belonging to the crown were returned following the duke’s death in 1972, and Blum said all the jewelry involved was bought by Edward for his wife.

The American-born duchess, for whom King Edward VIII forsook the English crown, was buried on Tuesday in the grounds of Windsor Castle, west of London, after spending her last years in virtual seclusion in Paris.

Twice-divorced before her love affair with the king prompted his abdication in 1936, the former Wallis Warfield Simpson was always shunned by the British Royal Family.

The couple spent most of their life together in the same elegant villa on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris where she died last week at the age of 89.


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