On This Day in Royal History: Wallis Simpson's Historic Jewelry Collection Went on Sale

The much-anticipated event, dubbed “the alternative Crown jewels,” saw over 1,000 bidders crowd into a tent next to Lake Geneva for the two-day sale, while in New York another 600 bidders took part. Elizabeth Taylor, a friend of the couple, phoned in from Los Angeles to bid on a diamond ostrich plume brooch, and British actress Joan Collins bought a sapphire pendant.

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As requested on her death in 1986 (the duke died in 1972), all proceeds were left to the Pasteur Institute in Paris, a medical research foundation which specializing in AIDS and cancer research.

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