Well, I’ll be damned. A woman lied about her age before marrying an aristocrat wishing to have multiple children. A piece in today’s Sunday Times:
An aristocrat entangled in a six-year divorce case is accusing his spouse of having shaved five years off her age when they married
An aristocrat embroiled in one of Britain’s longest-running divorce cases has accused his wife of denying him a large family by taking five years off her age.
The dispute between Charles and Emma Villiers has dragged on for six years, involved more than a dozen judges in England and Scotland and racked up huge legal fees.
Now Charles, 58, a distant relative of the Duchess of Cornwall, claims his wife shaved five years off her age when they married in 1994.
The estranged husband said he believed his bride to be 35 at the time, as recorded on their marriage certificate, but later discovered that her age had been entered as 30 when she married a decade earlier, in 1984.
Charles believes his wife may have been 40 when they tied the knot — he was 31 at the time — possibly affecting their ability to have more children.
The former magazine publisher said he and his wife have a “lovely daughter” but had struggled to provide her with siblings, which became a “corrosive” aspect of their marriage.
“Most of my friends were in their thirties at the time, with wives of similar age, and additional children kept appearing for them,” Villiers said.
“I couldn’t understand what the ‘problem’ conceiving additional children was. Now I know. I’m left in the situation that my wife might still try to claim millions of pounds off me, solely owing to the fact that we were married when, arguably, she married me under false pretences as I believed she was in her thirties, not in her forties in 1994, almost past child-bearing.”
Milestone birthdays passed with little fanfare, he said. “My wife didn’t seem to want either her ostensible 40th, 45th or 50th birthdays celebrated — so neither were celebrated with any kind of party, nor with any relations or friends of hers. Bit bizarre that, looking back.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says the optimal age for childbearing is 20 to 35. Pregnant women aged over 35 are considered “geriatric”.
One electoral roll entry gives Emma’s date of birth as December 23, 1958, consistent with being 35 when she married Charles, which would make her 62.
Emma declined to comment last week but has previously accused her husband of making false allegations after he accused her of bigamy. The claim was dismissed after a police investigation.
The Villiers lived in a Georgian mansion in Dumbarton, west Scotland, that boasted its own loch until they separated in 2012 after 18 years of marriage. Emma moved to London, where she applied for maintenance in the English courts and staked a claim on her husband’s half share of a £3.5 million family trust fund.
In 2015 the High Court in London ordered him to pay his estranged wife £5,500 a month but he refused. Last July, the Supreme Court ruled she could proceed with her application for maintenance in England.
Mr Justice Mostyn, of the High Court’s family division, ruled last month that Charles is heavily in debt and should not be required to pay maintenance.
The judge said in his ruling that the case had hurt Villiers’s finances and “attracted much lurid publicity. That has been a product of an exceptionally strong mutual antipathy. This has been a case where love has turned to hatred to an extraordinary degree.”
The divorce is expected to be settled at Dumbarton sheriff court, where Charles’s lawyers hope to argue that his marriage should be annulled without order of a financial settlement.
Charles said: “I wish to get it agreed outside court that this marriage is done and dusted not least because of the misrepresentation of age and that our joint financial/marital resources which could otherwise have provided a settlement in 2014 are now entirely spent in legal fees.”
He added: “If it was a genuine error made in the creation of a marriage certificate document, not one word of explanation has ever been offered to me by Emma in 27 years.”
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