The world's richest woman had an interesting life, 10 things you need to know

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Sep 22, 2017

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CAPE TOWN - We take a look at the world's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt who passed away yesterday, at her home in Paris. The LÓreal heir encountered interesting events within her life, we reveal them below. 

Beottencourt is the world's richest woman, with an estimated fortune of ($39.5 billion ) R520.1 billion. 


1. Liliane Henriette Charlotte Bettencourt (nee Schueller), French heiress, socialite and businesswoman and one of the principal shareholders of multinational cosmetics company, L'Oreal. 

2. Bettencourt was born on 21 Octber 1922 in Paris, France and passed away yesterday at her home in Paris, at the age of 94. 

3. At the time of her death (21 September 2017), she was the world's richest woman and fourteenth richest person in the world. 

4. Liliane was the only child of Louise Madeleine Berthe (née Doncieux) and Eugène Schueller, the founder of one of the world's largest cosmetics company,  L'Oreal. She joined the cosmetics company at the age of 15, with the role of mixing cosmetics and labeling bottles of shampoo. 

5. Twenty years later and after her father's death, Bettencourt became the owner of L'Oreal. She was 35 at the time of inheriting the L'Oreal fortune. 

6. In 1963, the company went public. Liliane then took a major business leap and traded nearly half of her stake in L'Oreal for a 3% stake in Nestle, for fear of her company being nationalised. 

7. Bettencourt was a member of the French fascist-leaning and anti-communist group, La Cagoule who used violence to promote its activities from 1935-1941. La Cagoule was funded by Liliane's father in the 1930s. 

8. Liliane married French politician, André Bettencourt in 1950 with whom she had one daughter,  Françoise (born in 1953). 

9. Her relationship with French novelist, playwright, artist, actor and photographer, François-Marie Banier stirred much controversy. Notably, Banier was 25 years Liliane's junior. They met in 1987 when he was commissioned to photograph her for the French magazine Egoiste.

10. Bettencourt became Banier's benefactor, endowing him with gifts estimated to be worth $1.3 billion (R17.1 billion). The gifts include: 

-  a life insurance policy worth €253 million (R3 billion) in 2003

- another life insurance policy worth €262 million (R4.1 billion) in 2006

- 11 works of art in 2001 valued at €20 million (R316 million) , including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Delaunay and Léger and a photograph by surrealist Man Ray. 


READ ALSO: The richest woman in the world has died - L‘Oreal heir


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