Muriel Spark's estranged son cut out of author's will
DAME Muriel Spark cut her estranged son out of her multi-million-pound will, instead leaving every penny of her assets to the female friend she lived with for 40 years.
Edinburgh-born Spark, best known for the novel The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, denied son Robin Spark, 68, any share of the estate in a damning letter sent to his solicitors following her death, a year ago yesterday, at the age of 88.
Spark had a difficult relationship with her son, effectively walking out on him when he was just six to write novels and seek fame and fortune. The rift between the two was never healed. Her will, filed in an Italian court, reveals she left her entire estate to her long-term companion Penelope Jardine.
They lived in a farmhouse in Tuscany at Oliveto near Arezzo. After the novelist's death, Jardine denied rumours that they were in any kind of sexual relationship, saying they were simply close friends.
Robin Spark has said publicly that he does not want anything from her estate and will not contest the will.
The author wrote her will in 1998 and it is filed in the court at Arezzo. The two-page document, handwritten in Italian, says her entire Italian estate should go to Jardine.
The letter describes Jardine as her "friend and helper for many years, since 1968, and I confirm that to her must go all my furniture, books, manuscripts, letters and correspondence and documents, and all my rights as an author in Italy". The letter made no mention of Robin Spark.
Her lawyer said she had assets in other countries, although not in the UK, and that in those cases Jardine was listed as the beneficiary.
When Muriel Spark's funeral was held in Italy, Robin Spark - an artist - stayed at home in Edinburgh, in the same flat where he has lived since 1945.
Muriel Spark's Italian lawyer, Lorenzo Contri, said: "I helped her draw up the will and there was no mention of her son at all. In fact, she gave me a letter which she said should be posted if he made a claim on her will.
"The letter was very specific. She did not want her son to receive anything. The letter detailed her terrible experiences with him and their terrible relationship. I have been contacted by a solicitor representing Robin and asking for the will suggesting they may be entitled to a claim, and I sent them her letter. As yet I have not had a reply."
Details of the will emerged ahead of a memorial concert due to take place at Wigmore Hall in London on Tuesday.
Jardine was reported as having said: "I didn't really want to talk about this. It's all very private. What I will say is that we are holding a concert for Muriel in London for the anniversary of her death, some of her favourite musicians will be playing and Robin has been invited. I don't know if he is coming - it's up to him."
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