Several months ago, Ellie had notified Nick that she had terminal cancer and the end was near. In complete shock when she died a week later, Nick had taken her death particularly hard. How could she not have told him? How could she have not shared what little time she had left with him? Surely she had known for a while. Why had she chosen to suffer alone? He should have gone to her. He should have forced her to celebrate holidays with him and his family. He should have made more time for her. What he should have done was entirely beyond the point now. She was gone. He wasn’t surprised when he was notified by a law firm that he was in charge of settling up her estate. What did shock him was that his sister had been an extremely wealthy woman and according to the attorney, her wealth and all her worldly possessions, barring a hefty sum she wanted donated to the Princes Trust were now his to do with as he pleased.
He sat in her brownstone now sifting through boxes of correspondence growing more amazed as he read. There were letters from the Prince of Wales dating back to the early 1970’s, very affectionate letters. He found photos taken during that time period of Ellie snuggling up with Prince Charles near the easels where their artwork waited for them to commence with their painting. His sister was intimate with the Prince of Wales? He felt the room spin, as he read letters which indicated a brief affair and then the lifelong friendship which resulted. Then he found Christmas cards from various members of the Royal family, and even a personal note from Diana, the Princess of Wales herself. Even more recent, a card from just last Christmas! She had never said a word...and he had never thought to ask!
He went through her personal effects finally realizing why his sister never married, and why she had valued her privacy so much. She had been in love with the Prince of Wales. The Prince of Wales!! While she adored him, she had no desire for the lifestyle he led. She never wanted any fame; she only wanted to be left alone to create her art…which is what she did. The Prince, busy with his naval career at the time had understood and had seen her for the gem she was and had obviously been friends with her till her untimely death. In a back closet he found a box that had been shipped straight from London shortly after she had returned to the states. Inside was a beautiful solid gold Faberge Egg, an Easter gift from the Prince.
Nick had no idea the worth of such an item but when he tried to take it to a dealer found that the Prince’s small gift was now worth an estimated 20 million pounds. Not only did he discover secrets about his sister that he never knew but also a treasure trove among her possessions, trinkets from a long ago love affair and friendship with a prince. With her death he discovered a side of her he never knew. Leave it to Ellie to have kept such an extraordinary secret.