A piece in today’s Times:
When Trudi Juggernauth-Sharma became wifelet No 68 to the seventh Marquess of Bath the polyamorous aristocrat drove her up to a ramshackle cottage on the edge of his Longleat estate and asked her to live there so he could see her whenever his wife wasn’t at home.
“It’s the one thing that Alexander could give me,” the former international model said of the late Lord Bath. “He said, ‘I don’t have money to give but all I have is many houses.’ ”
That was in 1998, but after his death from Covid-19 in April last year the 74 wifelets he accumulated during his life discovered this week they had been left with nothing in his will, after he gave £14 million to his wife, children and the Longleat estate.
The Times understands that at least one of the three wifelets still living in cottages on the estate are being kicked out by Ceawlin Thynn, his son, the eighth Marquess of Bath.
Juggernauth-Sharma, 61, who still lives in her cottage at present and said she was the most favoured wifelet, told The Times that the son had made her an outcast. “There were some very badly behaved wifelets,” she said. “Ceawlin doesn’t have to take on his father’s wifelets, I do understand but I thought he would be a bit more lenient towards me because I was different and he knew I really cared for his father. In his will he didn’t say take the cottages back from my girlfriends. I thought at least I would be able to use the cottage for as long as I want.”
The qualified nurse, who has been working on the Covid-19 front line as a temp in a London hospital since July, said she accepted that Bath wanted to “benefit Longleat”, which had been his life’s work, in his will. “I never thought a huge amount of money would be left for me. It would have been amazing if it was, it would be some recognition really.”
She said “one or two aristocratic friends” had told her she would be left millions because “you are one of the most important people in his life”.
Speaking in her small cottage garden, she said she had “never asked for anything” from Bath. “There were too many people clawing at him and expecting to be in his will,” she said of his final years. Juggernauth-Sharma said she wanted to “debunk this 74 women in a harem” mythology. “It couldn’t be further from the truth. I never was in a threesome, though if anyone wanted to do it they were free to do it,” she said. “The 74 is his first girlfriend to his last so that is over a span of more than 60 years. I have never seen any orgies there. I felt very sorry for him that he was so wrongly portrayed.”
There were six so-called wifelets living in cottages around the estate when she arrived on the scene. She said three of them threw “outrageous” parties with Bath in attendance but they were stopped ten years ago because they were creating bad publicity. “People wanted to do outrageous things to be entertaining,” she said. “It was all very innocent and maybe showing panties.”
Her cottage is small and has peeling paint in the lounge. Dressed in glamorous clothes, she explained that her home didn’t have central heating until about 2008 and the estate installed a shower only about five years ago. “It was perishingly cold, there was just a little coal fire,” she said. “I used to wash with a jug in the bath.”
Juggernauth-Sharma comes from a wealthy family in Mauritius and before she met Bath she was a model mixing with European aristocracy in Italy and Germany, while also working as a temp nurse on Harley Street.
She proudly explained that she was from the Brahmin caste, the highest position in Indian society, so why did she put up with such a rundown and small cottage for so many years? “I was in love, it was something different,” she said. “I was just exploring life as it came. As far as I know I was the only person in his eyes. The others were coming in to do a quick sleep and leave. I would stay with him all the time. Only I was with him really.”
She never took another lover and said Bath had “fought off” two prominent men who had wanted to marry her. “He would say, ‘If you want to go, well go but I tell you, you will come back, I know how to put chains around your ankles.’ He meant he was so very special and there wasn’t one as good as him. I loved him dearly.”
Asked if she ever minded sharing him with the other wifelets, she said he was “such a big character” that there “was enough for everybody”. Despite this, jealousies raged among some of the wifelets and Juggernauth-Sharma was attacked by another mistress in 2011 and had to take three months off work. Police investigated but Bath refused to co-operate with the authorities.
“The other wifelets were so jealous [of me] because I was always being photographed with him everywhere,” Juggernauth-Sharma said. “They all wanted to be No 1.” Asked if she ever had regrets, she said: “Sometimes I wish I walked away but somehow I didn’t. I just wanted to be close to him.”
Stairway to heaven
The seventh Marquess of Bath covered the walls of a spiral staircase in Longleat House with his “Bluebeard’s Gallery” of numbered portraits, immortalising his wifelets in 3D reliefs of oil paint and sawdust (Will Humphries writes).
His first love, Davina Gibbs, No 1 in the gallery, left him broken-hearted after they met in 1951, and went on to marry a field marshal.
Over the decades there came 74 women, some who spent one night with Lord Bath and others who remained in his life for decades.
Shirley Conran, the writer and the former wife of the designer Terence Conran, was No 19 after they dated briefly in 1969.
Others included Jo Jo Laine, the former wife of the Wings guitarist Denny Laine and an unashamed hedonist; the Bond girl Sylvana Henriques; the Chinese artist Chung Yee Chang; the Sixties model-turned pub landlady Irene Barnett; the actress Cherri Gilham and Nola Fontaine, the outrageous cabaret singer.
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