Half of Princess Diana‘s estate has been in the possession of her mother and sister since her untimely death in 1997. Originally, it was meant to pass on to Prince William and Prince Harry when they turned 25. However, a loop hole in her wishes allowed the personal items to be held until they turned 30-years-old. Now that Prince Harry has reached the monumental age, he is now free to obtain the items and reminisce about how things used to be prior to his mother’s death.
Currently, Princess Diana’s estate is in the possession of her mother, Francis Ruth Shand Kydd, and her sister, Lady Elizabeth Lavinia McCorquodale. The items were originally willed to remain in the possession of her mother and sister until the boys turned 25 years old. The approximate worth of the items was in the $31.5 million range. Of the possessions, three-fourths of her possessions and all of her jewelry was to be passed on to the two princes. The remaining one-quarter of the estate would be split among her 17 godchildren. In order to determine when the estate would be split appropriately, she included a specific line in the will.
“[T]o give effect as soon as possible but not later than two years following my death to any written memorandum or notes of wishes of mine.”
The executors, taking advantage of some ill wording in the will, changed the age of receipt to 30 years old for Prince William and Prince Harry. The godchildren were also effected as their share of the estate was changed from receiving nearly $160,000 to what they describe as a “tacky memento.”
Now that Prince William has turned 30-years-old, his mother’s belongings are free to return to him, where they rightfully belong. Some of the items that he will receive are some of Princess Diana’s iconic dresses, her diamond tiaras, pictures, letters, home movies, and paintings. No longer will the items be cheapened by traveling the world like a mobile museum.
Although the items have been taken care of, there is wonder if the motivation of changing the age of receipt was related to monetary gain. Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, manages and maintained the collection as it was displayed around the world. During the last 17 years, it is reported that the fees to view the collection has raked in nearly £25 million for Princess Diana’s mother and siblings. Nearly £2 million of that was donated to the “Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.”
With the estate back in the hands of Prince William and Prince Harry, the concern over the Spencer family’s motivation to control the estate longer than Princess Diana wished can be forgotten and forgiven.
It remains to be seen what Prince Harry will do with the estate or if he will allow it to remain in the public eye. There are also whispers as to whether Prince Harry’s future wife will wear Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress while walking down the aisle. What are your thoughts?
[Photo Courtesy: Forbes}