The wife of Lord Lucan, who vanished more than 40 years ago after murdering his children’s nanny, reportedly cut her children from her will and left her fortune to charity instead.
Veronica, the Dowager Countess of Lucan, 80, killed herself with a cocktail of drink and drugs in September after wrongly self-diagnosing with Parkinson’s disease, an inquest ruled last week.
She had spent her final years as a recluse, having not spoken to her sister or her three children, George, Frances and Camilla, since the 1980s.
“Mummy left her estate to the homeless charity, Shelter,” Camilla Bingham, QC, told the Daily Mail after the hearing.
The amount of the inheritance is not known. While her Belgravia home was thought to be worth millions, a friend of the aristocrat said during the inquest that she had indicated she was struggling financially.
“She gave the impression she was hard up and had to watch every penny and complained about interest rates going up,” David Davies, who had known her for two years, said in a written statement.
The aristocrat’s possessions, including a large oil portrait of her husband and a personalised top hat, will be sold at an auction in Oxfordshire next month, the Mail said.
“The proceeds will help us to continue fighting bad housing and homelessness,” Shelter told the newspaper.
Lady Lucan was found dead in the same two-storey terraced town house in Belgravia, central London, from which her husband had disappeared almost 44 years earlier.
Lord Lucan disappeared in 1974 after killing his children’s nanny when he mistook her for his estranged wife.
The inquest into Lady Lucan’s death heard that she had convinced herself that she had Parkinson’s disease. She was said to have noticed a tremor in her right hand, was unable to sleep, thought she was losing her sense of smell, felt tired, anxious and was becoming forgetful.
She claimed in an interview just months before her death that her Parkinson’s was “drug-induced” by the anti-psychotic medicine that was forced on her after her husband John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, convinced everyone including her that she was mad.
“My husband had a campaign to destroy me,” she had said. “I was a nuisance. He was an imposing character, an earl, and the doctors believed all he told them about me.”
She had never been to the doctors about her fears, but she had detailed it in her diary and told Mr Davies, with whom she had discussed euthanasia.
It was Mr Davies who reported her missing after she had not been seen for two days and missed their regular meeting in St James’ Park. The coroner noted that she was “a lady of a regular routine and regularly met with friends on a daily basis in St James’ Park, to have lunch and go to the library.”
Because of the concerns police smashed a window to break into her home, where they discovered her in night clothes on the dining room floor with a unmarked bottle under her body with just one pill left inside.
Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox ruled that her death was suicide. Lady Lucan had always maintained that her missing husband had committed suicide.