He was the great showman of the aristocracy who bought the tiny Caribbean island of Mustique and transformed it into a playground for the jetset of the 1960s and 1970s, giving Princess Margaret a ten-acre plot as a wedding present.
But now the real Colin Tennant, 3rd Lord Glenconner, has been exposed — by his long-suffering wife, Anne, best friend of the Queen’s late sister.
Lady Glenconner, who was a maid of honour at the Queen’s Coronation, has revealed that her husband was a cruel wife-beater who attacked her so badly she was left permanently disabled.
In her memoirs, which sold 500,000 copies after being serialised in the Daily Mail, she had said only that he had a ‘temper’. Now, however, she has laid bare his brutality.
The real Colin Tennant, 3rd Lord Glenconner, has been exposed — by his long-suffering wife, Anne, best friend of the Queen’s late sister.
‘I didn’t write about what Colin did to me,’ explains Lady Glenconner, 89, who has a surviving son and twin daughters. ‘It was too difficult for the children.’
Detailing his physical abuse, she says: ‘Oh, God. He beat me up with sticks.’ Indicating her left ear, she says: ‘I can’t hear at all in that ear.’
Only a very few confidants apparently knew of the abuse. ‘I remember once a doctor telling me it was as if [Colin] had one skin too few,’ she says, referring to his temper.
Chatting in a pub near Holkham Hall in Norfolk, where she grew up, Anne says of his short fuse: ‘Sitting here with Colin, whether it would be something making a noise, or if we were waiting here too long . . .’
She imitates an explosion. Anne’s family have been friends of the royals for generations: her father, the 5th Earl of Leicester, was an equerry to George VI. Her mother, Lady Elizabeth, was daughter of the 8th Earl of Hardwicke. ‘My mother, once or twice when he was particularly abusive to me, did say, “It’s your last chance”.’
Only a very few confidants apparently knew of the abuse. ‘I remember once a doctor telling me it was as if [Colin] had one skin too few,’ she says, referring to his temper
Speaking to a journalist from the Financial Times, she adds of Colin: ‘I felt very sad for him, in a way. Sometimes he was so sad afterwards. He did say sorry. But I think he could have done a little bit more, actually.
‘Because he was very frightening. Very, very frightening.’
There was a final insult from beyond the grave when Lady Glenconner discovered from her husband’s £20 million will that he had left all his Caribbean property to his former valet, Kent Adonai, who worked for him for 26 years and was with him when he had a fatal heart attack in 2010 aged 83. It prompted legal action by Cody Tennant, son of the Glenconners’ eldest son, Charles, a one-time heroin addict who died in 1996. The action was settled in 2014.
Before Christmas, Anne was due to meet the Duchess of Cornwall in Norfolk. She’s sure to have received a sympathetic reception: Camilla has made the issue of domestic abuse a cornerstone of her public work.
Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen’s relationship with husband Clive might have gone astray, but she has no trouble rounding up the cash. Her business, Yorkshire Shepherdess Ltd, raked in £500,000 last year.
The star of Our Yorkshire Farm had a cash and assets surplus of £241,000, up from £74,000 in 2019. Amanda, 47, and Clive, 66, confirmed earlier this year their marriage was going through a ‘rocky patch’.
Boris Johnson’s low profile over Christmas led one tabloid paper to demand on its front page, ‘Where’s the PM?’
Boris Johnson’s low profile over Christmas led one tabloid paper to demand on its front page, ‘Where’s the PM?’ Well, I found him . . . holed up in an expensive Mayfair restaurant
Well, I found him . . . holed up in an expensive Mayfair restaurant.
On Wednesday evening he was spotted, without wife Carrie or their two children, at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill.
Its chef patron, Richard Corrigan, is cheered by Boris’s visit, telling me: ‘He was supporting hospitality. He ate modestly, drank modestly and was incredibly pleasant to every member of our team. He’s a joyous man. He’s often popping in, he comes by himself quite a lot.’
Corrigan, who’s cooked for the Queen, declines to disclose what Boris ate, but he’s known to enjoy the £36.50 Dover sole with crab, and oysters — £21 for six. Vintage champagne starts at £115, but sources say, on this occasion, Boris opted for the £35.50 house wine.
Perhaps he was tired of takeaways? This newspaper revealed Boris and Carrie had £27,000 of Daylesford organic meals brought into 10 Downing Street over eight months.
Tatler Davina’s latest scoop – £6.37billion heir George
Christmas Proposal One
When Davina Motion got a job on society magazine Tatler, she expected to meet Britain’s landed gentry.
The journalist, 25, has, though, gone one better and bagged one of the country’s most eligible bachelors.
I hear she’s become engaged to George Cadogan, 26, polo-playing son of Viscount Chelsea.
He will eventually inherit the £6.37 billion fortune of his grandfather, Earl Cadogan, 84, owner of 93 acres of Kensington and Chelsea.
‘She’s hit the bullseye,’ jokes one of Davina’s friends. ‘George proposed in the run-up to Christmas.’
Davina, an alumna of £38,000-per-year Heathfield School in Ascot, will be an influential figure on the party scene, as she’s also just been promoted to social editor of Tatler, following in the footsteps of the Marchioness of Milford Haven, mother-in-law of Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend.
Christmas Proposal Two
Hesketh to rev off into sunset with ‘turnip toff’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s friend Rose Cholmondeley could be hosting the society bash of the year at her glorious Norfolk estate, Houghton Hall.
For I can reveal that her matchmaking skills have led to a wedding.
Former model Rose introduced her friend Sophia Hesketh, 37, to fellow ‘turnip toff’ Oliver Birkbeck, 47, and now he’s proposed.
‘It’s a Christmas miracle,’ jokes the daughter of former Tory treasurer and sometime Formula 1 team owner Lord Hesketh. ‘Got a special present in the bottom of my stocking.’
Birkbeck’s first wedding, to Viscount Trenchard’s daughter, Laura, was held at her family’s Hertfordshire pile Standon Lordship, in 2018.
As Princess Anne retakes her title as the busiest royal, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are taking steps to catch up. They’re advertising for a manager to organise their public engagements. No salary is given for the ‘exciting role’, which involves ‘leading the delivery of domestic and overseas engagements and tours’. Anne regained pole position as most industrious royal from Prince Charles, with Prince William in third place.
Andrew pitches return to public life
Prince Andrew should be ‘quaking in his boots’ following his friend Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction, according to lawyers for victims of late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
I can disclose that, in fact, the Queen’s second son is planning to resume his public life.
And, to prove it, newly filed documents for his Dragons’ Den-style project make clear that ‘planned activity will resume’ as soon as the pandemic’s over.
Pitch@Palace Global, which he created to broker deals between tech start-ups and wealthy investors, has retained £726,324 in funds.
Accounts for the year to March reveal that the business, in which the Duke of York has ’significant influence of control’, still employs three members of staff.
One of Andrew’s friends (yes, he still has a few) tells me: ‘His Royal Highness is confident that the civil court case in America will soon be out of the way and he’ll be able to get back to what he does best: helping British business grow and thrive.’ The Duke’s spokesman declines to comment.
(Very) modern manners
In these eco-conscious times, we’re always being encouraged not to let food go to waste, but the journalist Pandora Sykes’s family are possibly taking things too far.
Pandora — whose grandfather Lord (Aubrey) Buxton co-founded the World Wildlife Fund with Prince Philip — revealed that a painful Christmas accident failed to put her family off their food.
‘My mum chopped the top of her finger off yesterday and it fell into the coleslaw,’ she says of her mother, Nicola. ‘We picked it out and I took her to A&E. When we got back, the coleslaw had been eaten for lunch. My sister saw no reason to waste it. And this is why I will never eat coleslaw again.’ Ugh.
Carolina’s very special delivery for music boss
Property heir David Reuben Jr, whose father is the second-richest man in Britain, once declared that ‘material possessions are of zero importance’.
So he’s received the perfect present: a baby. ‘Feliz Navidad,’ [Happy Christmas] says his wife, the Colombian actress Carolina Guerra, right, who gave birth to their first child, a boy, on Christmas Eve.
Carolina, 34, who starred in the TV series Da Vinci’s Demons, got married in 2019 to the music executive, 41. The well-connected couple, who count financier Nat Rothschild and pop star Justin Bieber among their pals, live in Los Angeles.
It’s a first grandchild for his father, David Reuben Snr, who has a £21.5 billion fortune with his brother, Simon, which includes Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade and Westminster’s Millbank Tower.
How Stunt’s still making life difficult for Petra…
Prince Charles once considered James Stunt so respectable that he hung paintings lent by the gold bullion dealer on the walls of his Scottish stately home, Dumfries House.
Embarrassingly, the pictures had to be taken down after they were exposed as fake by The Mail on Sunday and, now, Stunt’s children could be about to have their name removed, too.
His ex-wife, the Formula 1 heiress Petra Ecclestone, has gone to court to change the surname of their three children from Stunt to Ecclestone.
Documents filed in California, where Petra lives with fiance Sam Palmer, explain: ‘To conform children’s last name to mother’s last name . . . difficult in both daily life and travelling with children with a different name to mother.’
Stunt is awaiting trial for money laundering, forgery and racially abusing a black police officer — charges he has strenuously denied.