London, Oct. 24: Diana, Princess of Wales, wrote a special “letter of wishes” to add to her will, leaving her two sons all her jewellery so that their future wives could wear it, a court was told on Wednesday.
However, one of the executors of her will was unaware of the letter’s existence until questioned about it at the Old Bailey.
The Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London and Dean of the Chapels Royal, was appointed an independent executor of the will at her family’s request after the Princess’ death, the jury trying her former butler Paul Burrell heard.
Under cross examination, the bishop admitted that he had never seen the “letter of wishes”, in which the Princess requested that her £21-million estate be split between her children, Prince William and Prince Harry, and her 17 godchildren.
Lord Carlile, QC, for the defence, read out the relevant letter, attached to the will. In it the Princess wrote: “I would like you to divide my personal chattels at your discretion between my sons and godchildren, the division being three quarters to my sons and one quarter to my godchildren.
“But I would like you to allocate all my jewellery to the share to be held by my sons, so that their wives may, in due course, have it or use it. I leave the exact division of the jewellery to your discretion.”
She also selected 16 special items for her 17 godchildren, described by Lord Carlile as “a quite splendid collection of names”.
Lord Carlile asked the bishop when he first became aware of the “letter of wishes”.
“I can’t recollect being aware of these precise terms until now,” he replied.
“So October 23, 2002, is the first time you have seen this letter of wishes'”
“According to my best recollection.”
Lord Carlile continued: “Was the existence of this side letter ever mentioned to you by Lady Sarah McCorquodale or The Hon Frances Shand Kydd (the other executors) or by any solicitor'”
“I cannot say that it was,” the bishop answered.
“If you had been aware of a letter of wishes by Diana, Princess of Wales, which plainly this letter is, that’s obviously something you, as independent executor, would have considered very seriously'”
“Very seriously, yes,” he replied.
Burrell, 44, denies three charges of theft, involving 310 items that are said to have been taken from the Princess’ Kensington Palace apartment.
The jury was told that the Princess had originally made a will in June 1993, naming her executors as her mother, Mrs Shand Kydd, and her then private secretary, Patrick Jephson.
But after Jephson’s resignation, she redrafted it, replacing him with her sister, Lady Sarah. Burrell had witnessed the 1996 amendment.
Despite Burrell being a “loyal and very close personal servant” to the Princess, he had not been left anything in her will. But, said Lord Carlile, she had not expected to die “a young woman in the prime of her life”.