#UK Richard Kay: Camilla's cousin and how Britain's most toxic society divorce has ended in tragedy #UKnews

#UK Richard Kay: Camilla’s cousin and how Britain’s most toxic society divorce has ended in tragedy #UKnews

#UK Richard Kay: Camilla’s cousin and how Britain’s most toxic society divorce has ended in tragedy #UKnews

He was raised in a household the place upbringing and ‘doing the correct factor’ had been the benchmarks of success. They had been the rules that guided Charles Villiers not solely in life but in addition when it got here to the way of his sudden and premature loss of life.

Yesterday it emerged that the distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall, who was the defendant in one in all Britain’s longest and most toxic divorces, had apparently killed himself in a London resort room.

Friends consider it was typical of the ‘light and form’ aristocrat that he ought to select the anonymity of a resort to finish his life and thus keep away from inflicting ache to family members who would possibly in any other case have found him.

Yesterday it emerged that Charles Villiers (pictured with ex-wife Emma Villiers), the distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall, who was the defendant in one of Britain's longest and most toxic divorces, had killed himself in a London hotel room

Yesterday it emerged that Charles Villiers (pictured with ex-wife Emma Villiers), the distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall, who was the defendant in one in all Britain’s longest and most toxic divorces, had killed himself in a London resort room

Charles Villiers, a distant relative of the Duchess of Cornwall who was embroiled in one of Britain's longest-running divorce battles has taken his own life in a London hotel room. He is pictured outside the Supreme Court in London in December 2019

Charles Villiers, a distant relative of the Duchess of Cornwall who was embroiled in one in all Britain’s longest-running divorce battles has taken his personal life in a London resort room. He is pictured outdoors the Supreme Court in London in December 2019

His loss of life marks a tragic finish to a bitter marital battle that, a decade after it started, had nonetheless not been resolved.

It was a case that had inflicted monetary destroy — and one in which love had turned to such hatred {that a} High Court decide was moved to conclude that each Villiers, 59, and his estranged spouse Emma, 62, had in all probability suffered ‘psychological injury’.

Even so, buddies had been shocked that he would contemplate taking his personal life.

‘He by no means talked to me about being suicidal,’ mentioned Philippa Snowdon, a pal of his late mom who allowed him to remain at her Chelsea dwelling. ‘But he did discuss to a girlfriend of mine about it, so I learn up on it and I realized that individuals who commit suicide typically fear about being discovered by somebody they look after.’

When the case started, Villiers was the proud proprietor of a seven-bedroom Scottish manor home, set in ten acres with its personal non-public loch, the place he and Emma preferred to carry elegant black-tie dinners. Life was good and they despatched their solely daughter Clarissa to fee-paying Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

By June this yr, when he was ordered by the Court of Appeal to pay £10,000 in upkeep to his ex-wife, Milton House in Dumbarton had lengthy since been repossessed and he had been evicted from a rental property. He insisted that he was nearly penniless and diminished to sleeping on buddies’ sofas. Judges, nevertheless, criticised his ‘appalling conduct’ in the divorce struggle. Was that the final straw, maybe? No one will be certain.

Pictured: Charles' ex-wife Emma Villiers, 58, (pictured right) with their daughter Clarissa Villiers, 22, (pictured left)

Pictured: Charles’ ex-wife Emma Villiers, 58, (pictured proper) with their daughter Clarissa Villiers, 22, (pictured left)

Aristocrat Charles Villiers is the cousin of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (pictured at the Royal Cornwall Show on June 10)

Aristocrat Charles Villiers is the cousin of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (pictured on the Royal Cornwall Show on June 10)

For the previous two months he had continued his peripatetic life, counting on the generosity of buddies, shifting from spare room to spare room and even to a yacht in Greece. It was throughout this spell in the Greek islands that his host turned anxious about his visitor’s psychological well being.

‘He had taken to occurring lengthy solitary walks, disappearing for hours at a time,’ I’m instructed. ‘At instances he appeared distressed and upset.’

Alarmed by this growth, the pal organized for Villiers to return to Britain and to be examined at a clinic. He duly flew again to London on Wednesday final week however as a substitute of attending the clinic, checked into the discreet four-star Durrants Hotel in Marylebone, Central London.

He was discovered hanged in his room by a housekeeper the next day.

Scotland Yard known as his loss of life ‘not suspicious’ and mentioned a file was being handed to the Westminster coroner.

The extraordinary saga of Villiers vs Villiers was ultimately to unfold throughout 5 courts and find yourself being heard earlier than 20 judges. There had been claims from Villiers, who traced his household line again to Mary Tudor, youthful sister of Henry VIII, that his spouse was a spendthrift who beloved ‘the trimmings of wealth greater than her husband’.

Mrs Villiers leaving the Supreme Court in 2019 while the couple were waiting for ruling on the Scotland versus England battle

Mrs Villiers leaving the Supreme Court in 2019 whereas the couple had been ready for ruling on the Scotland versus England battle

He cited his spouse’s fondness for white denims. ‘She’s the kind of one who had 11 pairs . . . and then would go and purchase extra.’ He accused her of getting no idea of cash. At one level, police had been known as in to analyze allegations of bigamy towards Mrs Villiers —claims that had been later dismissed by detectives.

All in all, it was very unedifying, particularly for a religious Roman Catholic reminiscent of Villiers, who was enormously happy with his household hyperlinks to the previous Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles by his mom Elizabeth Keppel, the daughter of Viscount Bury.

Villiers, a former writer and racehorse proprietor, believed that as a result of he and his spouse lived for most of the 18 years of their marriage in Scotland, their divorce needs to be settled there. Emma filed for upkeep in the English courts, the place settlements are extra beneficiant, main her estranged husband to accuse her of ‘divorce tourism’.

It turned a landmark case, however when it reached the Supreme Court it was determined the English courts ought to oversee the monetary settlement. Naturally the case left divorce legal professionals agog.

In a listening to final March, Mr Justice Mostyn took the weird step of creating a big a part of his ruling public. It made extraordinary — if brutal — studying. No one got here out of it nicely however his biggest exasperation was reserved for the warring couple, as he lamented the time and cash spent ‘choosing over historic grievances’.

Mr and Mrs Villiers had lived at Milton House, a Georgian manor near Dumbarton, but the home was repossessed in 2015

Mr and Mrs Villiers had lived at Milton House, a Georgian manor close to Dumbarton, however the dwelling was repossessed in 2015 

Of Villiers he declared: ‘The husband has vented his spleen by alleging that the spouse is a bigamist. The allegation was utterly spurious. The husband has accused the spouse of being a fraudster, a fantasist and usually ineffective.

‘The spouse, with some justification, has accused the husband of being dishonest, manipulative, vindictive and bullying. But she just isn’t past criticism herself.

‘She has performed her pursuit of the husband in this litigation in a totally disproportionate method and has wilfully blinded herself to the truth that the huge quantities of inherited funds that she believes her husband has at his disposal are, in truth, a chimera. The results of this horrible litigation is that each events are actually financially ruined and, I believe, psychologically broken.’

It was arduous to establish the jauntily dressed, well-mannered Old Etonian with the lurid publicity that emerged in the courtroom hearings. This was a person Philippa Snowdon remembers as ‘the proper home visitor’ at her dwelling in Chelsea. She instructed me yesterday: ‘He all the time emptied the dishwasher with out being requested and I’d typically come in to search out him doing the ironing.

‘When we had our Jubilee celebration in June, Charles put up the bunting. He was all the time so useful and all the time tidy.’

He had been residing on Miss Snowdon’s couch, ‘off and on’ since February. He had additionally been a visitor of the biographer Anne de Courcy, who was serving to him with a e-book he was writing about his aristocratic household background.

‘He had written an excellent synopsis and I used to be encouraging him,’ mentioned Miss de Courcy.

The author Hugo Vickers had additionally saved his spirits up after one writer had turned down his proposed e-book. ‘I did not know him nicely however I used to be struck that he was a type of optimists who, when confronted with disappointments, would simply push it apart. I instructed him there have been different publishers.’

Charles Villiers was a very distant cousin to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall

Charles Villiers was a really distant cousin to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall

Geoffrey Bowring, an outdated pal who first met him when Villiers was at Edinburgh University, recalled how lack of cash was a relentless drawback. ‘I as soon as took him to catch a prepare from Cambridge to Scotland and he could not pay for the ticket. I believe he was too proud to ask however I purchased him a ticket and gave him a bit of cash.’

It wasn’t all the time like that. Thanks to his co-ownership of a string of native newspapers and different pursuits, he was nicely off when he met Emma in 1991 at a home celebration in Dorset. She was a divorcee, although Villiers later claimed he didn’t know she had been married not as soon as however twice.

The couple obtained on nicely and three years later they had been married. Clarissa was born the next yr in 1995. They threw common events and he invested in a horse-racing syndicate. Looking again, Villiers claimed he knew little or no about his spouse and mentioned he by no means met any of her buddies.

He claimed the wedding began to founder in 2011 when, with Clarissa at boarding college, he instructed they downsize. ‘The home was monumental and there was simply the 2 of us rattling round in it,’ he mentioned. ‘It had served its objective as a household dwelling and I believed we must always discuss a brand new chapter.’

According to Villiers, his spouse’s response was: ‘If you are ever considering of promoting this home, I’m off. I’d somewhat promote my engagement ring than this home.’

He added: ‘She was clearly saying ‘I’m married to this home, not you.’ She preferred being chatelaine of Milton House.’

By 2012 the couple had separated. Villiers moved to Edinburgh and his spouse and daughter settled in Notting Hill, West London. He was subsequently declared bankrupt. As the case floor on — it targeted on a belief fund Villiers had been left by his grandmother, which he claimed barely coated his storage payments — he discovered love once more with opera singer Heidi Innes. But they break up up earlier this yr, with Ms Innes declaring ‘the scales have dropped from my eyes’.

Only 18 months earlier, the couple had pledged their devotion to one another earlier than shut buddies and household in a ‘union ceremony’ at their East Lothian dwelling, with champagne and a two-tier cake on a stand, embossed with the letters H and C, which was adorned with scented pale roses.

Charles Villiers and his then-partner Heidi at a 'non-wedding' party to celebrate Heidi's surname change in 2020

Charles Villiers and his then-partner Heidi at a ‘non-wedding’ celebration to rejoice Heidi’s surname change in 2020

Yesterday it emerged that Charles Villiers (pictured with ex-partner Heidi Innes), the distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall, who was the defendant in one of Britain's longest and most toxic divorces, had killed himself in a London hotel room

Yesterday it emerged that Charles Villiers (pictured with ex-partner Heidi Innes), the distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall, who was the defendant in one in all Britain’s longest and most toxic divorces, had killed himself in a London resort room

However, Miss Innes, 45, who had been with Villiers for almost 5 years, mentioned: ‘It’s over. I’m glad I did not marry him formally. He’s not the person I believed he was all this time. He’s speculated to be a gentleman however I do not suppose he has behaved very nicely.’

It did not assist that their rented cottage had been seized after Villiers did not pay £18,000 in hire arrears. Miss Innes laid the blame squarely on her boyfriend, alleging that he promised to pay the hire whereas she coated different payments.

Fast-forward to this summer season and a chastened Villiers was resorting to sofa-surfing at buddies’ properties. Those who know him suppose it unlikely he did not endure some psychological scarring of the sort Mr Justice Mostyn instructed.

Indeed, in his final interview with Tatler journal, he mirrored on the case of a businessman known as Scot Young, a Scottish property developer who plunged from a fourth-floor window onto spiked railings in 2014. He, too, was concerned in a prolonged divorce case. ‘He was pursued by his spouse for years and ended up throwing himself out of a window,’ Villiers mentioned.

Was that tragedy on his thoughts when he checked into Durrants Hotel, uncannily near the place Mr Young died, final week? We could by no means know the reply.

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