Amid the trials and tribulations that have dogged the fabulously wealthy Matthews family of late, reports that Pippa Middleton is expecting her first child couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s 34-year-old sister, it emerged at the weekend, is believed to have already undergone her 12-week scan, with she and her 42-year-old financier husband James Matthews due to become parents in the autumn.
No one could be more overjoyed about the impending arrival than the happy couple’s closest family members — especially multi-millionaire businessman and grandfather-to-be David Matthews.
Pippa’s 74-year-old father-in-law is at the centre of not one, but two, historic rape allegations, after being arrested at Paris Orly Airport three weeks ago.
David Matthews at James and Pippa’s wedding last year before the allegations that he had raped two women emerged
One of the women, now 36, claims to have been just 15 when she alleges Mr Matthews first acted inappropriately towards her on the Caribbean island of St Barts in the late Nineties.
A second woman is said to have told South Yorkshire Police she was attacked by Matthews in Sheffield in the Eighties when she was a young woman.
While father-of-three Mr Matthews strenuously denies the accusations, he has been placed under investigation by French authorities and may be forced to appear in court to defend himself.
In the meantime, however, he is leaving nothing to chance in defending his hard-won reputation. Aside from engaging the Queen’s solicitors, Farrer & Co, he has also hired celebrity publicist Jo Milloy, the formidable PR woman behind ‘Brand Beckham’, hired by Pippa in the run-up to her glitzy, celebrity-packed wedding last year.
Pippa’s brother-in-law Spencer Matthews with his fiancee Vogue Williams who is also expecting
Indeed, as news of Pippa’s pregnancy was apparently leaked at the weekend to the same red-top tabloid newspaper that revealed the rape allegations against the former racing driver and entrepreneur earlier this month, questions are inevitably being asked about the timing of the tip-off.
And while there has been no official confirmation, it goes without saying that Pippa’s pregnancy will be a welcome distraction for the Matthews family, following a difficult few months.
First, there was the devastation caused by the category five Hurricane Irma to Mr Matthews’s legendary Eden Rock resort — owned by Mr Matthews and his wife Jane — on St Barts last September.
Seven months on, the £5,000-a-night hotel, a long-term favourite with Hollywood A-listers, is still closed for repairs.
But the extensive damage caused by Irma is as nothing compared to the latest storm being weathered by Mr Matthews, whose younger son is the Made In Chelsea reality TV star Spencer Matthews.
Now, happily, there is the delight of having not one, but two, grandchildren on the way.
Because Spencer, 28, is also expecting a child with his 32-year-old fiancee, model and fellow reality TV star Vogue Williams, who is five months pregnant.
It was leaked earlier today that Pippa is expecting her first baby with husband James Matthews
In the midst of all the joyful hullabaloo that accompanies the arrival of a much-wanted child, Mr Matthews might be forgiven for feeling quietly relieved at the thought of the spotlight being subtly shifted away from him and on to his sons and their respective partners. And what attention they will garner. For the Matthews brothers, James and Spencer, are a study in contrasts.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
James is a successful hedge fund manager. After boarding at £34,000-a-year Uppingham School, he skipped higher education to try his luck as a go-kart driver. Next, he trained as a trader at Spear, Leeds & Kellogg, a City firm now owned by Goldman Sachs.
In 1997, aged 21, he was making serious money as a City whizz kid. Three years later, he launched his own firm, Eden Rock Capital Management.
All this money-making left little time for romance: James’s girlfriends pre-Pippa were few and far between (or discreet). Baby brother Spencer wasn’t quite so well-behaved. Now 28, he’s a womanising reality star who once boasted of sleeping with 1,000 women.
He left Eton at 16 to work as a nightclub promoter and at his parents’ hotel, before following his brother into the City.
Spencer embraced the party boy lifestyle with zeal and, when scripted reality show Made In Chelsea came scouting in 2011, his good looks, posh accent and alleycat ways made for TV gold.
Pippa making one of her regular gym visits
He’s since taken part in several reality shows, including winter sports competition The Jump, which he went on to win.
Dad David is a self-made multi-millionaire — a used car dealer who ended up owning a manor house and a Caribbean hotel.
James is almost as rich as Daddy. Eden Rock Capital Management was said to be looking after £1.1 billion of investments in 2007.
The firm runs a network of overseas subsidiaries, many in tax havens such as Bermuda and the Caymans, which makes it impossible to fully determine the extent of James’s wealth.
The most recent accounts for Eden Rock Capital Management LLP, its largest British company, show profits of £2.6 million, on which £12,000 of tax was paid.
Spencer is said to be worth around £2 million from his activities and endorsements, which puts him in a somewhat smaller league.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Spencer and Vogue live in a three-bedroom flat in Kensington, West London, worth £1 million. But it’s nothing compared to brother James’s pad up the road in Chelsea.
Worth £17 million, that one is seven storeys high, with a car-stacking underground garage, cinema, lift and staff quarters.
Since Pippa became lady of the manor, it’s being expanded to add an extra bathroom and some dressing rooms — or even doggy rooms. They each have a Sloaney canine — he a black Labrador, she a spaniel.
Pippa was promised the world after her scene-stealing turn as a royal bridesmaid in 2011, but didn’t capitalise on most of the opportunities for fear of embarrassing Kate.
Despite her expensive education (she boarded at Marlborough, on a sports scholarship, then studied English Literature at Edinburgh), she doesn’t seem to have any regular paid employment.
She wrote a party-planning book, Celebrate, in 2012, which was roundly mocked for its obvious advice. A column in a broadsheet newspaper was axed after six months.
Sister-in-law Vogue has been grafting since 16. Born in Portmarnock, near Dublin, she began modelling at school. She tried a degree in architecture at Trinity College, but quit. In 2010, she was cast in Fade Street, an Irish reality TV show.
Soon afterwards, she met former Westlife star Brian McFadden. In September 2012, they married in Florence, but separated two years later. In 2015, she won the reality show Bear Grylls: Mission Survive.
WITH THIS RING . . .
As you might expect, Pippa has the more whopping diamond. Her ring boasts a 3.5-carat Asscher-cut diamond from Robinson Pelham and cost £250,000.
The Art Deco-style ring was presented by James while the couple were walking in the Lake District. Vogue’s ring was designed by Spencer. It has a 4.1-carat cushion-cut diamond in the centre, with two 0.5-carat baguettes at each side and cost £120,000.
PATH OF TRUE LOVE
Vogue and Spencer met when filming C4 show The Jump in early 2017 and were a confirmed couple in April. He proposed on stage after watching The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. Within minutes, the pair were sharing their happy news all over social media site Instagram.
Pippa and James met ten years ago and dated in 2012, but the romance fizzled out.
By July 2016, Pippa was single again, after her relationship with banker Nico Jackson broke up, and James made his move. The proposal was a quiet, private affair. James had apparently sought counsel from the Middleton matriarch, Carole, before popping the question.
A formal announcement was made a few days later.
It was a quasi-royal wedding, attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, set in a £100,000 greenhouse filled with flowering cherry trees.
James and Pippa’s crowd are leagues away from the Made In Chelsea mob.
The interior designer Emilia Jardine-Paterson, one of Prince George’s godparents, is a pal, as is Lady Laura Meade, the daughter of the Earl of Romney. She married Prince William’s friend James Meade in 2013.
Others close to the couple include tennis star Roger Federer, and financier Ed Horner, married to Lady Emily Compton, once Tatler’s social editor.
Spencer’s best friend is Made In Chelsea’s Hugo Taylor, and he is chummy with Hugo’s fiance Millie Mackintosh. Other pals include model Jodie Kidd and TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher.
THAT BROTHERLY BOND
James did not pick Spencer as his best man. Marathon-running pal Justin Johansen did the honours, and Spencer has already hinted he won’t be picking James for his.
It’s also unclear whether Vogue and Pippa have ever met. They certainly haven’t been photographed together and Pippa banned her from her wedding under a ‘no ring no bring’ rule, meaning only wives and fiancees could attend.
She’s learning though: in an interview last year, Vogue described her in-laws as ‘quite private people’ and artfully dodged questions about them.