A little known singer-songwriter and former beauty queen is the third richest woman in Britain – with a wealth greater than the Queen, Adele and JK Rowling combined.
Kirsty Bertarelli and her husband Ernesto, an Italian-born Swiss businessman, have a combined wealth of £9.66 billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2018.
The couple earned the number 11 spot on the list, making Mrs Bertarelli the third richest woman in the country behind lager tycoon Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Kirsten Rausing.
Mrs Bertarelli won a string of beauty pageants in the UK in the 1980s and is an accomplished songwriter who wrote Black Coffee – a number one hit for girl band All Saints.
But now, the Bertarellis – who married in 2000 – spend their time jetting between their luxurious estates across the world.
They include an £8 million estate in the ski resort of Gstaad, a £10 million mansion in Geneva and a £10 million pad in London’s Belgravia.
Mrs Bertarelli, a former Miss UK, also has a £100m yacht, a 40th birthday present from her husband.
Kirsty Bertarelli pictured on her £100m yacht with her husband Ernesto who she wed in 2000
Kirsty Bertarelli has a £9.65 billion fortune
Mrs Betarellis’ yacht is the largest ever built in the UK and her husband paid for a £2million party on it to celebrate her 40th birthday.
It boasts a helicopter pad and a swimming pool and there is ‘fold-down beach club’ on board so Mrs Bertarelli can do yoga on deck.
Meanwhile, her husband Ernesto formerly ran his father’s biotechnology firm, Serono.
After developing the business into a global leader in pharmaceuticals, he sold it in 2007 for £9 billion.
But Mrs Bertarelli also comes from a wealthy background as her family are owners of a successful pottery company.
Mrs Bertarelli comes from a wealthy family who owned a successful pottery business
She was a pupil at Howells boarding school in Denbigh, Wales, which is now Myddelton College.
The school was established in 1859 with funding from Thomas Howell’s trustees who later established Howell’s School in Cardiff.
Speaking to The Mirror, Kirsty said: ‘I was never short of a card on Valentine’s Day. I was in the school choir and quite sporty.
‘I played hockey and lacrosse. I always had quite a small frame so if I got the ball, I used to get rid of it quickly before I was stampeded by the rest of the girls.’
She got seven O-levels then left school at 16 and joined the Manchester Model Agency, though she was hoping for a stepping stone to a career in music.
Kirsty Bertarelli’s yacht, the largest ever built in the UK was a 40th birthday present
She said: ‘It was a dream from when I was very young. My mother had sung and there was always music around the house. It had always been part of my life.’
In 1988, Mrs Betarellis almost died when she collapsed at home after contracting a bacterial meningitis.
After recovering, she entered the Miss Manchester beauty pageant and won the competition.
She followed up her success by claiming the Miss UK title and also came third in Miss World.
She then took a break from the beauty pageant world and moved to London where she signed-up to a secretarial and grooming course and joined another modelling agency.
She wrote Black Coffee shortly after meeting her husband in Sardinia, who was her inspiration for the song.
Mrs Bertarelli, pictured on stage as a support act to Simply Red, owns a £100m yacht
Kirsty married Ernesto in July 2000 in a marquee in Geneva and sang at her own wedding.
The 2017 Sunday Times Rich List rates the couple’s wealth at £11.5 billion, but states their wealth has plummeted by around £2 billion in the past year.
The couple have three children, Chiara, Falco and Alceo.
Mrs Bertarelli has signed with Universal Music and is releasing her own records.
She has also teamed-up with other artists including Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and Ronan Keating.
This year saw a record 141 female millionaires making The Sunday Times Rich List.
The Sunday Times Rich List 2018 and how they made their fortune
1. Jim Ratcliffe £21.05billion – gained from his chemical firm Ineos
2. Sri and Gopi Hinduja £20.64billion – industry and finance
3. Leonard Bavatnik £15.259billion – owner of Warner Music Group
4. David and Simon Reuben £15.096billion – made from property and internet businesses
5. Lakshmi Mittal and family £14.667billion – steel
6. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho £11.1billion – brewing and banking alongside inherited wealth
7. Kirsten Rausing and Jörn Rausing £10.848billion- inheritance and investments
8. Alisher Usmanov £10.556billion – mining and investments
9. Galen Weston and George G. Weston and family £10.05billion – food and retail
10. The Duke of Westminster £9.964billion – property
11. Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli £9.659billion – pharmaceuticals
12. Sir James Dyson and family £9.5billion – technology