Thursday, May 07, 2009

Annette de la Renta
Charlene Marshall
Brooke Astor suffered delusions of poverty and sometimes couldn't remember her closest friends -- but she still had enough sense to keep her bling away from her daughter-in-law. "I don't want Charlene to get them," the fading philanthropist announced at age 99, after giving a lavish necklace and clip-earrings set -- gold-studded with more than 500 diamonds and worth a reported $76,000 -- to her closest confidante, Annette de la Renta. "I walked in and Brooke put around my neck a gold chain, with long earrings," de la Renta testified yesterday, describing a 2001 Christmas party Astor threw at her Park Avenue apartment. "It was sprinkled with diamonds," de la Renta remembered, smiling to jurors on Day 6 of testimony in the sensational Astor swindle trial, in which the philanthropist's only child, Anthony Marshall, is accused of strong-arming his Alzheimer's-afflicted mother out of more than $50 million."Merry Christmas!" de la Renta remembered Astor beaming as they hugged. -LAURA ITALIANO, NY Post

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