A £50-million legacy left by the Shah of
Iran's second wife is being passed on to the German government,
after claimants to the fortune were found to be impostors.
Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiary left her vast legacy, which had been
bestowed on her by the Shah, to her brother Prince Bijan, but he
himself passed away just a week after his sibling. Since he died
intestate and left no direct descendant, the local government of
Cologne, where he lived, appealed for relatives to come forward
and claim the estate.
Some 50 people have since had their petitions rejected and the
authorities are now set to hand the fortune over to the state
government. The legacy includes money raised, in accordance with
Soraya's will, on several of her personal possessions. Items
including a Rolls Royce Silver Spur, a fabulous Bulgari sapphire
necklace worth well over a million pounds, and the exquisite
platinum and diamond engagement ring given to her by the Shah,
were sold off at auction after Prince Bijan's death.
"The case of the former Empress Soraya is treated just like
any other, but of course the amount of money is much higher than
the amount we usually get," said a spokesman for the North
Rhine Westphalia Finance Office. "We will be able to put it
to good use, although it will not be possible to say exactly
what we will use it for. It will just go into the general pool,
for the benefit of everyone."
This final chapter to the Soraya story is poignantly fitting for
the woman who came to be known as "the sad Empress".
She married Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1951 but he divorced
her just a few years later for failing to produce an heir. The
princess never married again and her second significant
relationship ended in tragedy when her partner, Italian
filmmaker Franco Indovina, died in a plane crash in 1972. Soraya
herself died at her flat in Paris in 2001.
returned to Baghdad's Archaeological Museum
Luciano Pavarotti is to team up with musician
and human rights campaigner Bono to raise funds for the people
Each year, the world famous opera singer hosts a charity concert
in his home town of Modena, Italy, at which he is joined by
other top names willing to donate their time and talents for
Pavarotti and Bono sang together in 1995 to raise money for
Bosnian war victims. This year they will be performing at the
Pavarotti And Friends extravaganza on May 27, the proceeds of
which are to go to the UN High Commission For Refugees. The
organisation is preparing for a Middle East refugee crisis.
highly-anticipated autobiography by US senator Hillary Clinton,
detailing her controversial years in the White House, is set for
a June 9 release. And publishing house Simon and Schuster
reckons the 576-page tome, Living History, will be one of
the most-read books of the year.
One million copies of the former First Lady's memoirs will hit
the shelves, and an audio version of the book, narrated by
Senator Clinton herself, will be released on the same day.
"I cannot think of another nonfiction book in recent
history that has had that large a first printing," said her
Living History, for which Mrs Clinton receive a reported
$8-million advance, promises a "complete and candid"
look at the New York politician's life during everything from
the impeachment campaign against her husband Bill Clinton to her
own decision to enter politics in 2000.
"There was so much I wanted to say and my publisher kept
saying: 'You can't say that much, you have to fit it into a
book, not into a multi-volume history'," she says. "I
tried to express my feelings about everything that happened
during those eight years."
Kirk Douglas says it was his "dream"
to team up with son Michael and grandson Cameron for the first
time in their new movie, It Runs In The Family
An ultra-feminine creation bridal by Vera
Sir Paul Insists IM
Not That Tight
Sir Paul McCartney,
the wealthiest musician in Britain, has spoken out to explain
why his daughter thinks he's stingy.
Fashion designer Stella recently gave an interview in which she
spoke of her embarrassment at being sent to a normal school.
"I didn't really go around thinking 'what great benefits
there are for me in going to a comprehensive",·she
admitted. The 31-year-old also said that being the richest kid
in the playground was difficult and referred to her father as
Sir Paul insists that he didn't want her to be spoiled, however.
"Apparently she was talking about me sending them to a
council school instead of a posh one," he said. "But
it wasn't my decision. It was a mum and dad decision and Stella
hasn't done badly by it. I'm really not that tight."
"I remember on her 18th birthday she wanted a car so I said
I'd look at a second-hand one," revealed the former Beatle,
who is worth £760 million. "Ringo had a right go at me. He
said: 'Buy her a Porsche, Go on – buy her one', but I said
'no' because how many other kids have a Porsche?"
"The truth of it is, I didn't want to spoil my kids because
if you've got money, you end up with spoilt brats running
BEST PICTURE: Chicago
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Nicole Kidman – The Hours
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Adrien Brody – The Pianist
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Catherine Zeta-Jones – Chicago
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Chris Cooper – Adaptation
DIRECTING: Roman Polanski – The Pianist
COSTUME DESIGN: Chicago – Colleen Atwood
MAKEUP: Frida – John Jackson and Beatrice De
MUSIC (SCORE): Frida – Elliot Goldenthal
MUSIC (SONG): Eminem's Lose Yourself from 8
VISUAL EFFECTS: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): The Pianist –
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): Talk To Her –
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Spirited Away
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Nowhere In Africa –
HONORARY AWARD: Peter O'Toole
Outshine Modern Beauties At Syle Queen's Exhibition
Fashion bible Harpers &
Queen has compiled a list of the 100 women it sees as defining style
over the past century. The selection includes models, actresses,
musicians and royals who have come to represent the very essence of
In conjunction with the H&Q choices, an exhibition entitled Style
Queens Of The 20th Century opens on April 30 at the Getty Images
Gallery in London. The show brings together memorable images of the
women who make up the list.
Veteran stars seem to have won out over new talents, as there is a
surprisingly modest showing by today's hottest talents. Julia Roberts,
Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Nicole Kidman are all omitted, in
favour of a host of classic beauties whose timeless style sets them
Instead, iconic beauties like Ali McGraw, Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn
and Sophia Loren have been selected as the embodiment of vogue. Of
course, legendary figures such as Jackie Onassis, Christine Keeler and
Elizabeth Taylor also make the cut.
Contemporary figures who did manage to win a place in the exclusive
lineup include Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophie Dahl. Needless to
say, any exhibition of fashion royalty would not be complete without the
presence of the inimitable Princess Di.
Correspondence from Princess
Diana to her close friend, late fashion editor Liz Tilberis, sold for a
total of $47,500 at an American auction on Wednesday.
The top lot among ten items handwritten by the Princess was a
personalised Christmas card with a photos of Princes William and Harry,
and Diana's nieces, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, which went for
$7,000. A letter fetched the lowest winning bid at $4,000.
The Cy Auction Gallery, in the town of Gray, Maine, held the auction of
more than 600 pieces from the estate of Ms Tilberis, former editor of
British Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. The fashionista, one of
Diana's closest confidantes, died of ovarian cancer two years after the
Princess was killed in a 1997 Paris car crash.
Controversy over Princess Diana's estate, meanwhile, continues in the
UK. New revelations in a book about the late royal's life claim she once
ordered a palace inquiry after a servant stole a pair of emerald
earrings given to her by lover James Hewitt. However, official action
was avoided after the thief quietly returned the jewellery under threat
of a Scotland Yard investigation.