EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Lady Sitwell’s fury at £3m sale of the home her ex-husband deemed ‘unsellable’ 

The Sitwells were once one of society’s most distinguished families.

But the current generation, which includes MasterChef critic William Sitwell and his baronet brother, the former film producer Sir George, were left cursing after they decided to sell the £3.25 million Northamptonshire pile which had been in the family for 300 years.

‘S*** happens,’ William said of the sale of Weston Hall, which was held in a family trust.

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Now, Sir George’s ex-wife, the model and former face of Royal Ascot Martha Sitwell, has voiced her fury at the sale of the contents of Weston, where Brideshead Revisited author Evelyn Waugh and Noel Coward regularly stayed. The contents are due to go under the hammer at Dreweatts auction house in Berkshire in November.

The Sitwells were once one of society’s most distinguished families. But the current generation, which includes MasterChef critic William Sitwell and his baronet brother, the former film producer Sir George, were left cursing after they decided to sell the £3.25 million Northamptonshire pile which had been in the family for 300 years

‘My husband, who I spent 12 years with, who I gave up a promising modelling career for, who now lives in Knightsbridge, has now sold the house that, at the time of our divorce, could never be sold,’ says Lady Sitwell, who divorced Sir George in 2017 and claims she was left almost bankrupt. ‘Now, they are selling the contents which also could never be sold. Should I go back to court to try to get a divorce settlement?’

However, Sir George, 54, who is the great-nephew of poet Dame Edith Sitwell, insists: ‘I have no control whatsoever over the sale of Weston Hall and its contents.’ His brother, 52, has explained that they have joint ownership as beneficiaries of a non-discretionary trust. He said: ‘My grandfather, father, brother and now me have all had a go at keeping the place going.

‘We kicked the can down the road until George Osborne dealt us a death-blow, introducing a six per cent charge on value, payable every ten years.’

Martha, 40, claims, ‘It’s been very unjust’, and tells me: ‘As someone who has never been to court in my life, it wasn’t easy at all. I ended up with a pro-bono lawyer, so I had to read all the court documents myself. It turned into a battle of David and Goliath.’

But in this case Goliath won.

Now, Sir George’s ex-wife, the model and former face of Royal Ascot Martha Sitwell, has voiced her fury at the sale of the contents of Weston, where Brideshead Revisited author Evelyn Waugh and Noel Coward regularly stayed. The contents are due to go under the hammer at Dreweatts auction house in Berkshire in November

 

Middleton marvels at his millions 

Pandemic, what pandemic? I hear that business has boomed at the company owned by the Duchess of Cambridge’s brother-in-law.

Pippa Middleton’s husband, James Matthews, has seen takings at his investment advice business, Eden Rock Capital Management, soar from £716,000 to more than £3.3 million in 12 months, with the majority of the money coming from overseas.

It means that profits for the partnership hit £2.6 million — dwarfing the £60,000 made in 2019.

The paperwork was signed off by Matthews, 46, a founding partner at the firm, which is named after the five-star Caribbean hotel owned by his parents.

 

Queen saddles up for more race success

Despite her problems with Prince Andrew, and regular brickbats from California-based Prince Harry and Meghan, the Queen does have one reason to celebrate.

I hear she’s enjoyed her most successful racing season in decades. On Monday, her horse, Fresh Fancy, won his race at Kempton Park in Surrey, becoming her 30th winner of the flat season — and there’s still a few weeks to go.

She’s also had two winners over jumps this year, giving her 32 victories from 133 runs and £460,000 in prize money. She’s beaten her past modern seasonal best of 29 wins in 2019.

Despite her problems with Prince Andrew, and regular brickbats from California-based Prince Harry and Meghan, the Queen does have one reason to celebrate

 

Here’s something fishy: TV chef Rick Stein has caused tempers to boil over by adding a summerhouse to his home in Padstow, Cornwall — without planning permission. Papers filed at the local council reveal that building work started in June, but it has not been completed. One of his neighbours has formally objected to Stein’s plans, claiming they’re ‘hopelessly out of place’ and ‘unacceptably harmful to the character and appearance of the property’. Stein has now served up an application for retrospective consent. The seafood specialist has said of his cottage in the past: ‘It has glorious views. It’s quite small, but I love it.’

 

Damian’s sweet Helen gets a poetic tribute

Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory, who died in April aged 52 after a secret cancer battle, was honoured last night at a party in London’s Holland Park.

The event marked the publication of a book by her close friend Allie Esiri, who has dedicated anthology A Poet For Every Day Of The Year to her.

‘Helen loved poetry and was brilliant at reading it,’ Esiri tells me. ‘I asked Damian [Lewis, McCrory’s actor husband] for his blessing for the event and he gave it.’

Other friends of McCrory at the party were her Harry Potter co-star Helena Bonham Carter, David and Samantha Cameron, and Poldark star Beatie Edney.

Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory, who died in April aged 52 after a secret cancer battle, was honoured last night at a party in London’s Holland Park

 

Raspberry delight for newlywed Kitty

Who needs the Met Gala in New York?

Newly married Lady Kitty Spencer demonstrated the art of making a colourful entrance in London last night.

Princess Diana’s 30-year-old niece arrived at the Royal Academy of Arts delayed summer exhibition party dressed in a striking pink and red gown that fellow party-goers compared to a raspberry ripple.

Lady Kitty exchanged vows with fashion tycoon Michael Lewis, who is 32 years her senior, in a lavish Italian wedding in July.

Her father, Earl Spencer, who is half a decade younger than her husband, was conspicuous by his absence.

Newly married Lady Kitty Spencer demonstrated the art of making a colourful entrance in London last night