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Love for sale as Sotheby's auctions King Edward's belongings

Desk July 7, 1997
Web posted at: 10:13 p.m. EDT (0213 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It doesn't buy love. But money is all it takes to acquire earthly remnants of one of the century's great romances.

For nine days in September, Sotheby's auction house in New York will offer the belongings of King Edward VIII, whose romance with American divorcee Wallis Simpson cost him the crown of England.

Sotheby's will even put on the auction block the "abdication desk," at which the monarch gave up the throne in 1936 to marry his true love. Sotheby's estimates the table is worth $30,000 to $50,000.

CNN's Mary Ann McGann reports:
Love for sale as Sotheby's auctions King Edward's belongings

video icon 1M/60 sec. QuickTime slideshow

"The story of the king who gave up his throne for love still retains the fascination of 60 years," said Joe Friedman of Sotheby's London.

The auction September 11-19 is expected to fetch as much as $7 million. For sale is a collection of more than 40,000 items which once graced the Paris home of the former King and Mrs. Simpson, who became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.


After the abdication they were forbidden from settling in England and lived most of their lives in France. The Duke died in 1972 and the Duchess in 1986.

"This is the final chapter in the story," Friedman says. "I think it will provide fresh insights into this remarkable story."

Also in the collection is a taped recording of King Edward's BBC radio address following his abdication. In the recording, Edward declares his allegiance to the new king, his brother the Duke of York.

Edward tells a shocked world: "You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love."

Other items up for auction are "A Box Containing a Piece of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's Wedding Cake," worth $500 to $1,000, and a wedding album of photographs, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.


Mohamed Al Fayed, chairman of Harrods of London, acquired the Windsors' home and its contents from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, the major beneficiary of the duchess' will.

Proceeds of the auction will benefit children's charities worldwide.

A previous Windsor auction -- of the duchess' jewelry -- brought in $45.3 million in Geneva in 1987, a record for a jewelry sale.

The sale follows another royal blockbuster auction: Christie's New York sale of Princess Diana's gowns last month.

Correspondent Mary Ann McGann and Reuters contributed to this report.


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