Audrey Hepburn gifted just two silver candlesticks to her lover when she died – while leaving Russian icons worth around £16,000 to one famed fashion designer.
The Breakfast at Tiffany’s actress shocked the world when she was diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer in 1992, undergoing surgery and then chemotherapy to treat it.
But sadly it was not to be, and Hollywood icon Hepburn spent her final days in hospice care before her death on January 20, 1993.
It was a rush to get the actress where she wanted to be for her final Christmas, as she was unable to fly commercially due to her still recovering from surgery.
Instead, her long-time friend and fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy arranged for a pal’s private jet – filled with flowers – to take her back home to Geneva, Switzerland, from Los Angeles.
The pilots descended the plane slowly to reduce the pressure in a gradual way, with Hepburn’s partner Robert Wolders explaining: “She was basically on life support.”
The pair had been together for 13 years, since 1980.
Wolders revealed to People that Audrey was determined to make her final Christmas a special one, and arranged for special gifts to be given to her closest family.
Audrey’s son Sean, Robert and Givenchy all received a special winter coat Audrey had a friend go out and buy, with Wolders telling the publication: “She said, ‘Please think of me when you wear them’.
“Later on, when we went to bed, she said, ‘It was the most beautiful Christmas I ever had’.”
And it became clear Audrey didn’t regret any of her recent charity work, which ensured she was working hard prior to falling ill.
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Wolders said Hepburn regretted “in her last day” that she could not carry on her vital work for UNICEF “because she was very passionate about it”.
He explained: “Because she had had a very busy period for UNICEF prior to her illness, in fact I said to her once, ‘Would it have been better if we hadn’t exhausted ourselves to this extent traveling as much for UNICEF as we did?’
“And she was slightly perturbed and she said, ‘Robbie, think of all we would’ve missed.’"
The actress’ will only came to light in 2017, when her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer sued Audrey Hepburn’s Children’s Fund over trademark infringement.
The documents revealed that she left two silver candlesticks to her long-term partner Robert, which MailOnline estimated to be worth around 500 Swiss Francs (CHF) – that’s around £411.
Her heirs – Sean and his half-brother Luca Dotti – each received half of her entire estate, which included three properties including her famous home in Tolochenaz, Switzerland.
Sean was also gifted a set of Bulgari gold and diamond earrings, which had been given to Hepburn upon his birth and worth around £5,000.
Luca, meanwhile, received Bulgari earrings of diamond and pearl.
Both brothers also inherited the “film rights and royalties pursuant to Mrs Hepburn’s film contracts as well as her name and likeness rights and any other similar rights”.
Her fashion designer pal Givenchy received two Russian icons, said to be worth around £16,000, and fellow actor Yul Brynner’s wife Victoria received a Tiffany brooch made from diamonds and platinum.
Audrey’s charity was founded by her sons the same year she died, agreeing to jointly own and manage her registered trademarks.
During a posthumous Oscars acceptance speech on behalf of his late mother, Ferrer said: "[Hepburn] believed every child has the right to health, to hope, to tenderness and to life. On her behalf I dedicate this to the children of the world."
So it made sense to set up the Audrey Hepburn’s Children’s Fund in her honour, along with the US Fund for UNICEF founding the Audrey Hepburn Society, which has raised more than £79million over the years.
But the foundation found itself was imbued in legal trouble after Sean Ferrer stepped down as the chairman in 2012, stating he resigned after becoming “disillusioned” with the fund.
He later claimed that the charity continued to use his mum’s intellectual property after he ended the licence which granted them permission.
Earlier in 2017, the Fund itself sued Ferrer, claiming he interfered with its plans to exhibit some of Hepburn’s dresses and other ephemera, which was the primary source of money for the charity.
The February lawsuit claimed his actions could “irreparably damage the sterling reputation of the late Audrey Hepburn”.
The Fund isn't the only charity work Hepburn's sons have been involved in – after her death, Dotti became patron of the Pseudomyxoma Survivor charity – which provided support to patients of the same rare cancer that took his mother's life.
He also took on the role of rare disease ambassador for the European Organisation for Rare Diseases.
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