The blonde in hot pants rais­ing so­ci­ety eye­brows. Her un­cle the Duke sab­o­tag­ing Brexit — and some VERY racy rel­lies. How one of our most em­i­nent fam­i­lies is match­ing its fa­mous fore­bear for scan­dal

Daily Mail - - News - by An­to­nia Hoyle

SHE stands, hands on hips, a sump­tu­ous white coat open to re­veal tiny red shorts and a cropped white blouse that show­cases an ex­panse of tanned stom­ach. Her pose, topped off with a white stet­son, is im­pas­sive, but the over­ar­ch­ing mes­sage is clear: here is a beau­ti­ful woman ac­cus­tomed to com­mand­ing at­ten­tion.

She is not a celebrity, how­ever — at least, not in the con­tem­po­rary sense of the word. There is no film or hit sin­gle to pro­mote; no re­al­ity tele­vi­sion show in the pipe­line. She is 22-year-old Eleanor Welles­ley, de­scen­dant of the Duke of Welling­ton, who beat Napoleon at the Bat­tle of Water­loo in 1815 be­fore be­com­ing Prime Min­is­ter.

Some aris­to­crats cel­e­brate their her­itage dis­creetly. Not so uni­ver­sity stu­dent Eleanor, who ap­pears to be mak­ing her mark on the world by post­ing a string of bikini-clad self­ies on so­cial me­dia plat­form In­sta­gram and cov­er­ing the glam­orous star- stud­ded-Cal­i­for­nian mu­sic fes­ti­val Coachella for so­ci­ety bible Tatler, for whom she sup­plied more provoca­tive pic­tures this month.

In one, she sits on the bonnet of a blue con­vert­ible, se­quin- clad legs art­fully akimbo.

Yet she is not the only mem­ber of the blue-blooded Welles­ley fam­ily — whose for­tune is es­ti­mated at £75 mil­lion — to defy con­ven­tion. Last week her un­cle Charles, a Tory Peer and the 9th Duke of Welling­ton, led a re­volt against the Govern­ment to try to de­rail Brexit.

Then there is Eleanor’s fa­ther, who left her mother for her French teacher; her cousin, who mar­ried a pop star, and her aunt who turned down Prince Charles to con­duct a clan­des­tine af­fair with a mar­ried man. Oh, and another cousin whose celebrity wife’s busi­ness went bank­rupt, and the rel­a­tive who spared his ben­e­fits cheat lover and mother of ten from prison.

Con­fused? AN­TO­NIA HOYLE on the clan that ap­pears to court con­tro­versy at every turn . . .


ELEANOR, 22 — known to friends as Elles — has her an­ces­tors’ ar­rest­ing aqua­ma­rine eyes, is a reg­u­lar on the polo cir­cuit and cur­rently in her fi­nal year of a His­tory of Art de­gree at Ex­eter Uni­ver­sity.

No­to­ri­ous for those bikini- clad self­ies on In­sta­gram (on which her set­tings have, per­haps wisely, now been switched to pri­vate), she re­port­edly posted a pic­ture of her­self with the four girl­friends she shares a house with in Devon along­side a mis­chievous cap­tion ‘100 likes for the naked ver­sion’.

Perma- tanned and per­ox­ide blonde, her se­quin-heavy scant­i­ly­clad sar­to­rial style cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of ed­i­tors at so­ci­ety bible Tatler, who asked her to re­port on the celebrity- stud­ded Coachella mu­sic fes­ti­val this month. She at­tended along­side the likes of ac­tor Leonardo DiCaprio and mod­els Gigi and Bella Ha­did.

After what she de­scribes as a ‘wild week­end’ she sup­plied im­pos­si­bly glam­orous pic­tures of her ex­ploits — in­clud­ing the one of her atop a car bonnet — to the mag­a­zine be­fore hot­foot­ing it to the lux­u­ri­ous Bev­erly Hills Ho­tel ‘for four days of pool­side re­lax­ation’.


SEP­TU­A­GE­NAR­IAN Charles — the 9th Duke, mar­ried since 1977 to a Prus­sian Princess with whom he has five chil­dren — re­cently claimed in an in­ter­view he is ‘not par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in per­sonal ques­tions’.

He pre­sum­ably prefers ex­trav­a­gant week­ends hunt­ing par­tridges on the fam­ily’s 4,000 acre Span­ish es­tate, be­queathed to the Welles­leys by a grate­ful Span­ish royal fam­ily after the Napoleonic Wars.

The first Duke not to have served in the Armed Forces, he was Con­ser­va­tive MEP for Sur­rey be­tween 1979 and 1989, and has been a Tory Peer since 2015, last week lead­ing a Brexit re­volt among fel­low peers.

Po­lit­i­cal col­leagues have de­scribed him as ‘re­mote’ and ‘amaz­ingly con­ceited — even for a Duke’ and Brex­i­teer and Tory MP Ian Lid­dell-Grainger is so an­gered by his anti- Brexit stance he an­nounced this week he was ‘go­ing to chal­lenge him to a duel on a lawn’ with kip­pers ap­par­ently his weapon of choice.


THE youngest of the 8th Duke’s chil­dren, Lord Christo­pher Welles­ley, 53, caused a scan­dal by fall­ing in love with Emma Nether­cott, his daugh­ter Eleanor’s 28-year- old French teacher, while still mar­ried to his first wife and Eleanor’s mother, Laura.

A heart­bro­ken Laura, the daugh­ter of a mil­lion­aire roof­ing com­pany owner, who had pre­vi­ously been mar­ried to Barry Cox, co-founder of The Hard rock Café, de­scribed her split with Christo­pher as ‘stress­ful’. Emma, al­ready preg­nant when she and Christo­pher mar­ried in July 2005, opted to have Eleanor as a brides­maid.

In 2013 their nanny was con­victed of steal­ing £30,000 worth of be­long­ings from their Hamp­shire home, while the mid­dle of their three chil­dren, Skye, was born with rett Syn­drome, a con­di­tion that stops nerve cells in the brain from work­ing prop­erly.

In poignant tweets, dev­as­tated Emma wrote that hav­ing a ‘vul­ner­a­ble’ child meant she was ‘des­tined to be emo­tion­ally un­bal­anced’ and she be­lieved ‘mother­hood is a test and I am fail­ing’.

Emma and Christo­pher di­vorced in Fe­bru­ary 2015 on the grounds of his un­rea­son­able be­hav­iour.


DE­SCRIBED as ‘Top Tiara Totty’ by one so­ci­ety host­ess, Charles’s wife, Princess An­to­nia von Preussen, 63, ar­guably trumps her hus­band on the aris­to­cratic-stakes by be­ing both the great-grand­daugh­ter of the Ger­man Kaiser and a de­scen­dant of Queen Vic­to­ria.

She ex­pe­ri­enced tragedy at the age of 11 when her fa­ther, Friedrich, com­mit­ted sui­cide after her mother, Lady Brigid Guin­ness — one of the brew­ing dy­nasty — left him for a Bri­tish Army Ma­jor.

An­to­nia was ed­u­cated at Cob­ham Hall school in Kent, where she re­port­edly told her head­mistress she would not tol­er­ate low stan­dards after find­ing a hair in her ap­ple pie aged 15.

A friend of Princess Michael of Kent, An­to­nia also played ten­nis with Princess Diana but seemed to re­serve her loy­al­ties for her friends Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, whom she and her hus­band re­port­edly hosted on their es­tate be­fore their re­la­tion­ship was made pub­lic.

When Charles was un­der fire dur­ing his mar­riage cri­sis, de­fi­ant An­to­nia de­clared: ‘It is ab­so­lutely hor­rid for some­one who works so hard to be slagged off like that.’


POS­SESSED of a not-par­tic­u­larly-loyal sense of hu­mour (she quipped her fam­ily is ‘nou­veau’ be­cause their ti­tle has only been around for two cen­turies), Jane Welles­ley — daugh­ter of the 8th Duke — was none­the­less touted as a fu­ture queen after dat­ing Prince Charles in the Seven­ties.

Jane, 64, a tele­vi­sion pro­ducer and au­thor, re­port­edly re­jected Charles’ mar­riage pro­posal with the line ‘I don’t want another ti­tle, I’ve got one al­ready’.

Never mar­ried, her colour­ful love life has in­cluded an eight year af­fair with mar­ried broad­caster Lord Melvyn Bragg, fol­lowed by a ro­mance with Bragg’s close friend, the re­pub­li­can his­to­rian and Prince Charles’ biog­ra­pher An­thony Holden, and a li­ai­son with tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Loyd Gross­man.


Also a firm fix­ture in celebrity cir­cles is Eleanor’s lawyer cousin sofia Welles­ley, 34. she mar­ried for­mer Bri­tish Army of­fi­cer in the House­hold Cavalry reg­i­ment and pop star James Blunt, 44, in 2014.

Their se­cret lon­don reg­is­ter of­fice cer­e­mony was held the day after El­ton John’s in­fa­mous End of sum­mer party in Wind­sor, with sofia re­ported to have joked to friends that she was ‘al­most too hun­gover to get mar­ried’.

In June 2016 sofia, the daugh­ter of lord John Welles­ley, and grand­daugh­ter of the 8th Duke, and Blunt, best known for his bal­lad ‘You’re Beau­ti­ful’, had a son. The tod­dler — whose name has yet to be made pub­lic — has pop star Ed sheeran for a god­fa­ther.

Not just a blonde beauty and best friend to the likes of Prince Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie, sofia was ap­pointed to the board of Cherie Blair’s con­tro­ver­sial le­gal con­sul­tancy, om­nia strat­egy, in 2016. It was found to have been paid al­most £500,00 for le­gal ad­vice by the Al­ba­nian Govern­ment — a con­tentious con­tract given Tony Blair’s role as an ad­viser to Al­ba­nia’s prime min­is­ter.


As the old­est of his fa­ther Charles’ five chil­dren, Arthur Welles­ley, 40, who holds two ti­tles, The Earl of Morn­ing­ton and Marquess of Douro, is also heir to the Welling­ton ti­tle.

A for­mer man­age­ment con­sul­tant, he met Jemma Kidd — an ex model and make-up artist and fel­low aris­to­crat whose great­grand­fa­ther was the press baron lord Beaver­brook — in an Ibiza night­club. Jemma’s sis­ter Jodie is a su­per­model and brother Jack is a pro­fes­sional polo player.

‘Arthur gave me con­fi­dence. He is a car­ing and lov­ing man and from the start I felt se­cure and happy with him,’ said Jemma. They mar­ried at the Kidd fam­ily’s es­tate in Bar­ba­dos in 2005 and, after hav­ing twins in 2010, left lon­don to live in the Welles­leys’ Hamp­shire Es­tate, strat­field saye. Jemma, 43, de­scribes it as an ‘oa­sis’ (but says that, as with ‘most English coun­try houses’ it took three hours to run the bath). she has de­scribed her­self as ‘bliss­fully happy’ with her ox­ford- ed­u­cated hus­band, but found less ful­fil­ment in her ca­reer. In 2012 her make-up com­pany went into ad­min­is­tra­tion with debts of more than £2 mil­lion.


ArTHur’s younger sis­ter, lady Char­lotte, has made the Welles­ley fam­ily mil­lions look like pocket money by mar­ry­ing bil­lion­aire Colom­bian-Amer­i­can fi­nancier Ale­jan­dro Domingo in May 2016. Pho­tog­ra­pher’s as­sis­tant Char­lotte, 27, and Har­vard­e­d­u­cated Ale­jan­dro, 41, who has shares in his fam­ily’s brew­ery busi­ness, the santo Domingo Group, ex­changed vows in the 16th Cen­tury Church of the In­car­na­tion in the An­dalu­sian hills near the Welles­leys’ span­ish es­tate.

Char­lotte wore a gown by Emilia Wick­stead, one of Kate Mid­dle­ton’s favourite de­sign­ers, with guests in­clud­ing the Duchess of Corn­wall, Juan Car­los, the for­mer king of spain and Czech su­per­model Eva Herzigova.

last year Char­lotte and Ale­jan­dro en­tered the sun­day Times rich list at num­ber 29, their ac­cu­mu­lated es­ti­mated £3.7 bil­lion for­tune achieved through ‘in­her­i­tance, brew­ing and in­vest­ment’. They have sinced dropped to num­ber 40 — down £600 mil­lion.

After spend­ing £20 mil­lion on four flats in lon­don’s fash­ion­able Not­ting Hill, their plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to turn the prop­er­ties into one ten-bed­room home was re­jected.


AGED 17, richard Welles­ley, whose great great- great- grand­fa­ther Henry was the younger brother of the 1st Duke of Welling­ton, started dat­ing Paula Car­ton, whom he met while she was liv­ing on a farm in Ire­land owned by his fam­ily.

Ap­par­ently un­de­terred by the fact that Paula was ten years his se­nior and had eight chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage, richard gave her a ninth child when he was still 17 and re­lo­cated them all to Wales, where he stud­ied at Aberys­t­wyth uni­ver­sity be­fore work­ing at a builder’s mer­chant.

In 2012 Paula was found to have falsely claimed £108,000 in hous­ing ben­e­fit by pos­ing as a sin­gle mother and claim­ing richard was her land­lord, rather than her lover and fa­ther of two of her chil­dren.

richard, now 45, who re­ceived £30,000 a year from trust funds set up for de­scen­dants of the Duke, paid the debts to pre­vent her go­ing to prison, to the as­ton­ish­ment of neigh­bours who had no idea he was an aris­to­crat.

High so­ci­ety: Eleanor in red shorts and stet­son

Brexit re­volt: Charles Welles­ley the 9th Duke of Welling­ton

Lady in red: Jemma Kidd with hus­band Arthur. In­set, Melvyn Bragg and Lady Jane Welles­ley You’re beau­ti­ful: Sofia Welles­ley with her singer hus­band James Blunt

Glam­our: An­to­nia von Preussen, wife of the 9th Duke since 1977, strikes a pose for the cam­era Pic­tures: DAVE BENETT, GETTY, JOHN SWANNELL, ALAN DAVID­SON, XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM

I do: Lady Char­lotte weds bil­lion­aire Ale­jan­dro

Split: Christo­pher Welles­ley and wife Emma

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