Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Hedonistic Lifestyles Of The British Aristocracy

By TOM LEONARD FOR THE DAILY MAIL
 01:50 EST, 20 April 2016


For centuries, the aristocratic Spencer family has charted its history in dozens of dusty family portraits that hang at the family seat at Althorp in Northamptonshire (Pictured left to right: Eliza, Kitty and Amelia)
For centuries, the aristocratic Spencer family has charted its history in dozens of dusty family portraits that hang at the family seat at Althorp in Northamptonshire (Pictured left to right: Eliza, Kitty and Amelia)

For centuries, the Spencer family has charted its history in dusty family portraits that hang at the family seat at Althorp in Northamptonshire.


Earls and Countesses appear in haughty oil paintings, surrounded by trees or sitting at oak writing desks, sternly looking far off into the distance.

The message is clear: it’s serious work being one of Britain’s pre-eminent noble families who count Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Diana as part of the clan.

One can’t help, then, but note the contrast between the formality of the past and the frivolity of the present. Because the latest glamorous breed of young Spencers delights in posing for the camera in an altogether different manner from their forebears.

Lady Kitty Spencer, 25, and her sisters, twins Lady Eliza and Lady Amelia, 23, are a trio of platinum blonde bombshells.

Nieces of Princess Diana (they are the daughters of her brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer), details of their fabulous lives are shared online by members of the sisters’ glossy set.

There are cleavage-baring shots of the bronzed sisters in bikinis in endless exotic locations — St Tropez, Cape Town, idyllic private islands off the Australian coast, to name but a few.

Another picture shows Kitty posing seductively in a designer gown that just about contains her heaving aristocratic frontage, one bare slim leg crossed over the other. 

And there she is again, draped evocatively over a marble staircase in the Palazzo Parigi hotel in Milan.

Not forgetting, of course, excursions closer to home such as parties in London’s Annabel’s nightclub and countless shopping trips in the highest-end designer stores.

It’s tempting to ask what the Spencers’ imperious antecedents would make of Kitty, Eliza and Amelia’s jet-setting lives. After all, Spencers of old would be focused on socially astute and financially productive betrothals to scions of other blue-blooded clans.

Not this lot. The men in their lives include a 40-something millionaire Italian divorcé and a South African surfer hunk nicknamed Grizzle.

What’s more, Kitty, who lives in Fulham, West London, appears to show an especially modern attitude to trading on her name.

She seems to receive freebies in exchange for plugging everything from flights to blow-drys on her social media accounts. 

Her Instagram feed — which has almost 30,000 followers — is littered with effusive thanks to companies including Ralph Lauren, Dior and Emirates Airline.

Every party she attends is rapidly documented with a caption thanking her stylist, make-up artist and designer dresser. 

‘Thank you @picturepatricks @goprivuk for my INSANE disco make up,’ reads one.

Another beaming picture is captioned: ‘Snug as a bug in @ralphlauren’, also noting that it’s taken within the glitzy environs of the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Prague.

One might argue that the girls have merely inherited the family knack for artful manipulation of the media. 

Indeed, 30 years after their aunt spectacularly grabbed the limelight, the Spencer girls are doing it again, with Kitty pictured this week with her sisters in South Africa, showing off the spectacular figures they’ve become well known for.

How different life is for this young trio compared with the austere, often unhappy, stately home and public school upbringing of Diana and her siblings.

The sisters and their younger brother, Louis, 21 — studying at Edinburgh University and heir to his father’s title — seem to have lives of blissful good fortune.

Which begs the question: how did the Spencer family go in one generation from shy, troubled Diana and her charmless brother Charles to a bunch of happy-go-lucky surfer chicks who wouldn’t look out of place on Baywatch?

The answer is rooted in family meltdown and a drastic decision to start afresh in South Africa.

Beset by scandal over his serial infidelity and her addiction problems, Earl Spencer and his first wife, former model Victoria Lockwood, moved to the affluent Cape Town suburb of Constantia in South Africa with their young children in 1995, to escape the glare of media attention.

But, as time proved, their serious marital issues were not improved simply by a change of scene. 

Theirs had been a dismal union: Victoria discovered her husband was having an affair within six months of giving birth to their first child, Kitty.

She later said she overcame her ‘devastation’ to have twins Eliza and Amelia in 1992, followed by Louis two years later. 

Throughout, she was battling not only addictions to heroin and alcohol, but also anorexia and bulimia.

The year 1997 was truly an annus horribilis for the Spencers, with the death of Diana and the divorce of Charles and Victoria.

Kitty later recalled: ‘[My parents] told me they didn’t love one another any more, but that they still loved me. The positives of the situation were highlighted, such as two Christmases, two birthdays and two bedrooms.’Earl Spencer moved back to the UK, while the children remained in South Africa with their mother who, in that same year, was treated for her drug addiction and alcoholism.

The children grew up out of the spotlight, going to the best private schools in South Africa. 

Kitty studied at Reddam House, an expensive finishing school, before going on to read psychology, politics and English at the University of Capetown.

Academia beckoned for her back in London — but only in the most frivolous of subjects: an MA in luxury brand management, which she studied at Regent’s University, a private college.

On the capital’s party scene, Kitty rapidly gained a reputation as ‘a young woman who eats and drinks without worrying, and who claims she has never owned a pair of scales,’ according to Tatler magazine.

Today, Kitty — who has been nicknamed ‘T**s’ by her sister Amelia, a moniker that’s vulgar but fitting — is still searching for her professional niche. She’s done a little modelling, but nothing that would get in the way of her love of jetting around the world.

Last year, she reportedly took in seven places — Ibiza, St Tropez, Milan, Florence, Capri, Melbourne and Cape Town — in as many months, before rounding it off with a break in a luxury resort off the coast of Queensland.

And those air miles keep clocking up. So far this year, she’s been to Paris, Prague and Milan. And it’s only April. 

But given the Spencer family has a fortune estimated at £100million, Kitty probably feels a full-time job can wait.

In the meantime, she’s content with working as an ambassador for Give Us Time, a charity that finds family holidays for British servicemen. 

Dr Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary who set up the organisation, says Kitty is ‘indispensable’, which is a pity as it sounds like she won’t be doing it for long.

Her real ambition, she revealed a few months ago, is to start her own luxury brand — a depressingly bland dream for a bright young woman. 

But Kitty appears to have inherited the commercial instincts of her father, who toured the U.S., trading off his fame as he shamelessly hawked pricey reproduction furniture based on pieces at Althorp.

Helpfully for her, Kitty’s current boyfriend has made a fortune out of luxury brands. Although she recently insisted she was single and has only had a couple of boyfriends in the past (one of whom is the South-African-born Middlesex cricketer Nick Compton), she has actually been in a relationship with a wealthy Italian divorcé for two years.

At 45, the grandly named Niccolo Barattieri di San Pietro is almost twice her age — just six years younger than Earl Spencer — and has three children.

Chief executive of Northacre, a developer of luxury properties that is behind a scheme to put up six skyscrapers on the site of the Met’s old New Scotland Yard HQ, he comes from a top Italian family, with a great-great uncle who was Pope (Pius XII).

After growing up in Rome, he came to England at 15 to attend boarding school. After a stint at an American university in Paris, he became passionate about sailing and went halfway round the world on a 36ft catamaran.

Today, he’s settled in South Kensington. And Kitty appears smitten, marking their happiness with constant selfies of the two, dubbing him her ‘love’, ‘king’ and ‘partner in crime’.He stopped when he got to Hawaii, where he lived for several years. 


They lead a decadent life. A fortnight ago they took in a burlesque show in Paris, which starred a semi-naked Dita von Teese sporting crystal nipple tassles in a bath tub. 

Kitty exclaimed: ‘What a goddess!’

Last month, the pair donned period dress for an Elizabethan-themed ball, neck ruffs and all, to celebrate the 30th birthday of Kitty’s friend, Viscountess Weymouth at Longleat.

But what of the other sisters, still based in South Africa? Eliza and Amelia are more wary of revealing details of their lives online, after boozy, raunchy photos of themselves from social media made it into the papers several years ago.

Having obtained degrees from South African universities — Eliza at Varsity and Amelia at Cape Town University — they are both still in further education, while they decide what to do with their lives.

Despite their mirror-image looks, the twins have certainly gone for rather different types of men.

Eliza — whose first serious boyfriend Christopher Elliot, a talented surfer, died in a car accident before her 16th birthday — was rumoured to be heading up the aisle until only a few weeks ago when she ended a five-year relationship with Matthew Rozowsky, a financial analyst with a hedge fund, a fact confirmed to the Mail by his mother this week.

The romance had seemed to be going so well — Matthew recently posted a picture of himself smiling as he clutched a dead woodcock which he appeared to have just shot at Althorp.

Amelia, meanwhile, is still with her boyfriend of six years, Greg Mallett, a blokeish water polo teacher cum surfer who goes by the nickname of Grizzle. He’s been a regular guest at Althorp, too.

‘The thought of those South Africans sitting round the Althorp dining table is hilarious,’ said a family friend somewhat cruelly.

Not that the behaviour of the Spencer girls has always been befitting of their aristocratic status.

Amelia almost didn’t make it to the nuptials of her cousin Prince William because she was facing charges for allegedly kicking a man on crutches in a late-night fracas in a drive-in McDonald’s queue in Cape Town. 

Indeed, the Spencer children are good friends with their royal cousins. Prince Harry always visits the twins when he is in Cape Town, while Prince William and Kate attended Louis’s 21st birthday at Althorp when she was heavily pregnant with Princess Charlotte.Charges against her were eventually dropped, allowing her to make the wedding.

Given the ugliness of their parents’ rift and the huge geographical distance that separates them, it would be understandable if the children had taken sides. 

However, friends say they remain close to Charles and Victoria, taking regular breaks from the rigours of beach life in Cape Town to visit their father at Althorp.

As Kitty once explained, although her family looked ‘so dysfunctional . . . every single member of my family is part of my happiness’. 

The Earl is on to his third wife, Karen, a Canadian former model and hotel receptionist.

Victoria, once the face of Ralph Lauren, who described her as ‘the most beautiful girl in the world’, still lives in South Africa, recently selling the family home and moving to a smaller house on a local vineyard estate.

She, too, has had a tumultuous love life. After meeting a handsome charmer and cocaine addict named Jonathan Aitken (no relation to the former Tory politician), the pair had a son, Samuel, in 2003 and married in 2005. 

But the partnership failed when Aitken succumbed to his addictions once more.

Victoria’s next romance with James Clinch, a former British Army officer, incited the fury of Aitken. Clinch took out a restraining order against him in 2009, claiming Aitken had threatened to shoot him.

It’s quite a circus, like something out of a costume drama.

But Earl Spencer has always insisted that he hasn’t cosseted his children from the real world. 

‘I have always encouraged my children to get proper jobs, or earn pocket money as a tour guide,’ he once said.

There seems little sign of any of that, though, as the Spencer girls jet around the globe, bronzed, smiling and without a care in the world.

Comment:

It's not just the aristocracy that are like this.  Just take a look at American One Percenters like Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, and other similar types.  We work (when we can find work), they play.  That's the way it is.  That's the way it always has been, and that's the way it will always be - unless WE do something about it.

I remember seeing a Nazi documentary once where the narrator said something like, "In Nazi Germany everyone is required to work."  But he said it in such a way that it sounded like it was a bad thing.

It was true though.  In NS Germany every able bodied man was required to work - either as civilians or in the military.  If you were wealthy enough not to need to work you were required to do something charitable to help your fellow Germans.  They aristocracy were not allowed to play all day and help no one but themselves.

Imagine how much better things would be in this country if all the One Percenters were required by law to give something back to their communities.  I don't mean these phony sound byte/photo op charities that some of them stage for publicity purposes.  I mean real charity work that would help as many people as possible.

But as they say, a fool and his money are soon parted.  Say what you want about the One Percent, but they are not fools.  WE'RE the fools for allowing them to get away with their decadent lifestyles since the beginning of civilization.

Dan 88!

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