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Camilla’s cousin Charles Villiers ‘is found dead after taking his own life in a London hotel room’ 

A distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall who was embroiled in one of Britain’s longest-running divorce battles is thought to have taken his own life in a London hotel room.

Charles Villiers and estranged wife Emma Villiers hit headlines after becoming involved in a dispute over whether their divorce should be settled in Scottish or English courts.

The couple separated in 2012 and filed for divorce in 2014, making their bitter marital conflict one of the longest on record as at the time of his death it was still unresolved.

The court battle spread across five different courts and 20 judges over eight years and at one point involved a police investigation into allegations of bigamy against Ms Villiers – claims which were later dismissed by detectives.

According to the Times, the 59-year-old was found dead by a housekeeper in a room at the Durrants Hotel in London’s Marylebone last week. It was also claimed that he had recently been declared bankrupt.

The newspaper reports that he had been staying on sofas after falling into financial difficulty and had been staying on a friend’s yacht in the Greek islands earlier this month.

But due to concerns about his mental health, the friend arranged for Mr Villiers to fly back to the UK and visit a clinic. 

Charles Villiers and estranged wife Emma Villiers (pictured) hit headlines after becoming involved in a dispute over whether their divorce should be settled in Scottish or English courts

Charles Villiers, a distant relative of the Duchess of Cornwall who was embroiled in one of Britain's longest-running divorce battles has taken his own life in a London hotel room. He is pictured outside the Supreme Court in London in December 2019

Charles Villiers, a distant relative of the Duchess of Cornwall who was embroiled in one of Britain’s longest-running divorce battles has taken his own life in a London hotel room. He is pictured outside the Supreme Court in London in December 2019

Charles Villiers had spent eight years warring with his estranged wife, Emma, in long-running legal battles over maintenance payments. Pictured: Emma Villiers (right) and Clarissa (left), their daughter

Charles Villiers had spent eight years warring with his estranged wife, Emma, in long-running legal battles over maintenance payments. Pictured: Emma Villiers (right) and Clarissa (left), their daughter 

Aristocrat Charles Villiers is the cousin of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (pictured at the Royal Cornwall Show on June 10)

Aristocrat Charles Villiers is the cousin of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (pictured at the Royal Cornwall Show on June 10)

Instead of going to the clinic, Mr Villiers checked into the Durrants Hotel last Wednesday and took his own life the following day, according to the Times.

Mr Villiers, a distant cousin of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, had argued that as he and his estranged wife were divorcing in Scotland and should therefore have financial decisions decided in a Scottish court.

He also argued that the pair had lived in Scotland since their marriage in 1994. However, Mrs Villiers, moved to England following their separation.

In a landmark decision, Supreme Court justices ruled against Mr Villiers, who is from Tyninghame, East Lothian.

The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that Mrs Villiers, who had demanded a £3.5million settlement from her former husband, could proceed with her application for maintenance in England.

In March 2021, Mr Justice Mostyn, of the High Court’s family division, ruled  that Mr Villiers was heavily in debt and should not be required to pay maintenance. 

Opera singer Heidi Innes (pictured with Charles) left the Scottish aristocrat in February

Opera singer Heidi Innes (pictured with Charles) left the Scottish aristocrat in February 

Charles Villiers and his then-partner Heidi at a 'non-wedding' party to celebrate Heidi's surname change in 2020

Charles Villiers and his then-partner Heidi at a ‘non-wedding’ party to celebrate Heidi’s surname change in 2020

He stated that Mr and Mrs Villiers had been left ‘financially ruined’ by the ‘terrible’ litigation and he suspected both were also ‘psychologically damaged’. 

Emma Villiers outside the Supreme Court in London in 2019

Emma Villiers outside the Supreme Court in London in 2019

But Mrs Villiers persuaded Lord Justice Moylan, Lord Justice Coulson and Lord Justice Arnold to overturn the ruling on appeal.

The three judges decided that Mr Justice Mostyn had been wrong to dismiss an application Mrs Villiers made for maintenance.

They had considered arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing in London in January and published a ruling in June this year and reached the ‘clear conclusion’ that it had been wrong to dismiss Mrs Villiers’ application.

Judges have heard how Mr and Mrs Villiers had lived at Milton House, a Georgian manor near Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire. But the home was repossessed in 2015.

At the most recent court hearing, Mr Justice Mostyn said both Mr and Mrs Villiers had made accusations against the other after ‘love’ turned to ‘hatred’.

Mr Villiers, who is a distant cousin of Camilla on his mother’s side, had been engaged to opera singer Heidi Innes, 45, but she ended their relationship in February this year. 

Miss Innes, who had been with Mr Villiers for nearly five years, said: ‘It’s over for good. I’m glad I didn’t marry him officially. He’s not the man I thought he was all this time.

‘He’s supposed to be a gentleman but I don’t think he has behaved very well.’

Mr and Mrs Villiers had lived at Milton House, a Georgian manor near Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire. But the home was repossessed in 2015

Mr and Mrs Villiers had lived at Milton House, a Georgian manor near Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire. But the home was repossessed in 2015

The couple were forced to leave their rented cottage in Tyninghame in November after a tribunal ordered them to pay £18,000 in rent arrears, run up during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following their departure from East Lothian, they moved to Budapest, in Hungary, where she had bought a small flat in 2020 with a view to it becoming a holiday let.

The Times reports that Villiers was recently declared bankrupt and had been staying on friends’ sofas at the time of his death.

MailOnline has contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment. 

For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details   

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