United with Sir Elton John

The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was founded in 1992 to provide much needed financial support to fight the growing AIDS crisis. Over the past 24 years, the two arms of the Foundation, in the US and UK, have raised more than $350 million, and continue to pursue the goal set by Sir Elton nearly a quarter of a century ago: creating an AIDS-free future across the globe.

It was primarily a shared interest in raising money to fight against AIDS that bought Sir Elton close to double Oscar-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor, founder of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF).

The two remained friends until her death in 2011, after which he said: “She was not just a movie star, although she was a huge movie star and there will never be anyone like her again… She was without a doubt one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life. She stood up when no one was prepared to stand up and be counted against AIDS. But most of all she loved people. She fought for the underdog. She was an incredible woman and I was privileged to have known her.” And five years after her death, The EJAF has an ongoing partnership with the ETAJ, awarding grants to organisations that address the AIDS epidemic in the US.

Bearing in mind Taylor’s special links to Bulgari, it comes as little surprise that the Italian brand last night announced a new partnership with the EJAF. A lover of art – as well as jewellery and watches – Sir Elton opened his Windsor home and Woodside Art Gallery to host a private dinner for 100 guests including Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, who earlier in the evening signed an official agreement to support the Foundation for the next three years.

Following an exclusive performance by both Sir Elton and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, a video message from US Secretary of State John Kerry was played to guests. After taking to the stage, Sir Elton confided: “This is an event I really love. To be able to thank people for their extraordinary generosity is a special treat. I just wish I could control English weather!”

The night culminated in a live auction of a unique white-gold and diamond Bulgari Haute Joaillerie Diva’s Dream necklace, which raised £225,000 for the EJAF. And, at the end of the evening, the final word went to Bulgari’s Babin who said: “This magical event in Sir John’s home was unforgettable. For Bulgari, bettering the world and doing our part is built into our company culture. It is an honour to be partnered with EJAF, a very effective charity, and we look forward to being part of the solution to fighting AIDS.”

Some faces in attendance for the occasion

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