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Melinda Gates host bridal shower for daughter Jennifer at $125m home


Newly-divorced Melinda Gates managed to put her marriage woes aside this past weekend in order to throw her eldest daughter an intimate bridal shower at the $125 million lakefront eco-mansion she once shared with her ex-husband Bill. 

The 57-year-old philanthropist played party host for the celebration, which took place in the grounds of the sprawling 66,000-square-foot property, with images shared by bride-to-be Jennifer revealing the group enjoyed drinks while overlooking the lake – before sitting down to an outdoor meal. 

In the photos, which were posted on Instagram, the 25-year-old bride and her mother are seen laughing and smiling alongside their guests, with Jennifer praising her mom in her caption, writing: ‘Thank you for this incredibly special celebration, @melindafrenchgates.’ 

The equestrian enthusiast and medical student – who announced her engagement to Egyptian show jumper Nayel Nassar, 30, in January 2020 – went on to thank the ‘amazing women’ who attended the party, which included several of her closest friends and family members. 

Celebration: Newly-divorced Melinda Gates (right) hosted a bridal shower for her eldest daughter Jennifer (center) at the $125 million eco-mansion she once shared with ex Bill 

Picturesque: Jennifer, 25, shared images from the 'incredibly special celebration' on her Instagram, where she praised the 'amazing women' who attended the event

Picturesque: Jennifer, 25, shared images from the ‘incredibly special celebration’ on her Instagram, where she praised the ‘amazing women’ who attended the event 

‘So deeply grateful for all the amazing women in my life who advise, support, and uplift me. [Cheers] to this new chapter!’

The budding doctor happily traded her medical scrubs for something more bridal in honor of the special occasion, for which she donned a white maxi dress with laser cut-out detailing across the skirt. 

She paired the frock with a pale pink shawl and some nude heels, and she wore her long hair in loose waves around her shoulders. 

In the images, she and her guests are pictured enjoying mimosas out of champagne glasses, while caterers are seen preparing food for all the attendees on long tables in the background. 

After their drinks, the group sat down at a long table overlooking the lake, relaxing in cushioned pink chairs – in keeping with the apparent blush theme of the day, which was also incorporated into large floral arrangements that were scattered throughout the party. 

The celebration comes just over a month after Jennifer’s parents finalized their divorce – in which they split their $130 billion fortune, leaving Melinda with $65 billion from the estate. 

But while it was initially reported that Bill, 65, would keep the sprawling Washington eco-mansion that he spent seven years building – the party location would suggest that Melinda still has open access to the home. 

Views! The party looks as though it was held in the grounds of Xandau 2.0, the Washington eco-mansion that Microsoft founder Bill, 65, spent seven years building

Views! The party looks as though it was held in the grounds of Xandau 2.0, the Washington eco-mansion that Microsoft founder Bill, 65, spent seven years building 

Pretty in pink: Jennifer (left) donned bridal white for the gathering, however she accessorized with a pale blush shawl - which matched the party's pink decor

Pretty in pink: Jennifer (left) donned bridal white for the gathering, however she accessorized with a pale blush shawl – which matched the party’s pink decor

Together again: The event looks as though it was attended by several members of the family, as well as some of Jennifer's close friends

Together again: The event looks as though it was attended by several members of the family, as well as some of Jennifer’s close friends 

The property is one of several luxury mansions owned by the former couple – who boasted homes in various other locations across the US, including Florida, California, and Wyoming.  

However, Xanadu 2.0, as their Washington eco-mansion was known, was considered the jewel in their property portfolio, having taken more than seven years and $63 million to complete. 

Split: Bill and Melinda (pictured in 2018) shocked the world when they announced that they were divorcing earlier this year

Split: Bill and Melinda (pictured in 2018) shocked the world when they announced that they were divorcing earlier this year 

Bill first purchased the land for the home in 1988 for the relatively small price of $2 million, however he then spent the next seven years pouring money into creating his dream home – much to the chagrin of his new neighbors, who are understood to have been outraged by the construction site that blighted the otherwise stunning lakefront landscape.

‘I wanted craftsmanship but nothing ostentatious,’ Gates said of the home in his book, The Road Ahead, which was written from the guest house, while the main house was being constructed.

‘I wanted a house that would accommodate sophisticated, changing technology but in an unobtrusive way that made it clear that technology was the servant, not the master.’

The home has an indoor-outdoor pool with an underwater music system and fossil designs on the floor, plus an ancient fossil imprint of a palm frond behind the diving board.

In the five-acre plot, there is an artificial stream stocked with salmon and cut-throat trout, and a beach with sand imported, according to some, from the Caribbean.

Inside the seven bedroom mansion, with a reported 18 bathrooms, is an art deco home cinema with seating for 20, and a 1,000-square-foot dining room with seating for 24.

Home sweet home? Their divorce settlement was finalized in August and sees the former couple splitting their $130 billion fortune - however it is not clear who has taken Xandau 2.0

Home sweet home? Their divorce settlement was finalized in August and sees the former couple splitting their $130 billion fortune – however it is not clear who has taken Xandau 2.0 

Happier times: Jennifer announced her engagement to Egyptian show jumper Nayel Nassar, 30, in January 2020

Happier times: Jennifer announced her engagement to Egyptian show jumper Nayel Nassar, 30, in January 2020

For larger gatherings, the 2,300 square-foot reception hall can seat 150 people for dinner, or 200 for a cocktail party.

The 2,100-square-foot library includes two secret pivoting bookcases, one of which contains a bar.

A special nook has been constructed to display one of Gates’s most prized possessions – a scientific notebook kept by Leonardo da Vinci in the early 1500s, called the Codex. Gates bought it at auction in 1994 for $30 million.

On the ceiling is engraved a quote from The Great Gatsby: ‘He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.’

There are four rare copies of the book in his library, The Washington Post reported.

Guests at the property, according to Seattle Curbed, are giving a pin to wear on arrival, with sensors.

Depending on their preferences, the temperature, music and lighting will change in the house.

Each room comes with its own touchpad to control the room environment.

‘I have a nice house,’ said Gates, in a February 2019 ‘Ask Me Anything’ forum on Reddit.

‘It includes a trampoline room which seems kind of over the top, but my kids love using it to work off their excess energy.

‘I am not sure how guilty I should feel about being in a great house.’



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