Millions for ‘lady of manor’ over failed marriage

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A “lady of the manor” has been awarded nearly £9m by a High Court judge after her 26-year marriage to a member of the landed gentry ended.

Mrs Justice Baron said the marriage broke down after the woman’s husband – who owns a country estate estimated to have a gross value of more than £35m and is a member of an “illustrious family” – became “very enamoured” with a “young artist/singer”.

The 51-year-old woman and 53-year-old man had argued over money at a court hearing in London. She wanted £11.2m. He had offered £7m. The judge awarded the woman a lump sum of £8.7m.

Mrs Justice Baron said the woman’s aspirations were “not outlandish or avaricious” but “borne of her lifestyle” and “expectations from birth”.

The judge said she got the impression that the woman was “accustomed to leading a very cosseted life” and her job was “being a social asset”.

And she said she got the impression that the man “had what he wanted whenever he wanted it”.

Mrs Justice Baron, who said neither the man or woman could be identified, outlined details of the divorce fight in a written ruling.

The judge said the couple came from similar backgrounds. She said the man’s ancestors included prominent military commanders.

She said the couple married when in their 20s, initially lived in a “modest” property on the man’s family’s estate before “taking over the mansion house”.

“The husband is a member of an illustrious family with many successful forbears who managed to accumulate great wealth. In fact, his ancestors, who include prominent military commanders, made a large contribution to the life of the nation in the 19th century,” said Mrs Justice Baron.

“They lived in (the mansion) for almost the entirety of their married life. I have seen photographs of the property – it is splendid. Beautifully designed, well-maintained and in a wonderful setting.”

Mrs Justice Baron said the man became involved with another woman, his wife rented an apartment in London and the marriage ended.

“The wife learned of the husband’s relationship with a young artist/singer who the husband told me has no assets. The husband is very enamoured of her,” said the judge.

“The husband has lavished a great deal on her. But this is not a court of morals. Save to note it is part of the history.”