Rupert Murdoch, approaching his fifth wedding this summer, seems to be thinking bigger with every successive marital adventure.
Our exclusive pictures show the 92-year-old media mogul with fiancee Ann Lesley Smith wearing an 11-carat diamond engagement ring which, according to experts, is worth up to £2million.
The ring, which he revealed he personally picked out and presented to Ms Smith on March 17, is said to be ‘the best of the best’.
Ms Smith, 66, a widow who is wealthy in her own right, was seen wearing the sparkler as they arrived at Los Angeles airport this week.
Carol Woolton, a contributing editor to Vogue and leading international authority on jewellery, said: ‘It’s the best of the best.
Our exclusive pictures show 92-year-old media mogul Rupert Murdoch with fiancée Ann Lesley Smith
The ring (pictured here), which Murdoch revealed he personally picked out and presented to Ms Smith on March 17, is worth up to £2million
‘There is a similar ring coming up for auction at Sotheby’s for £1million, but at retail that might be £2million.
‘It’s interesting that it’s so traditional. The invincibility of the diamond as a stone goes with the idea of forever love.
‘It suggests it’s been given by an old-fashioned romantic.
‘It’s the largest size diamond that you could wear every day.
‘If you’re getting engaged at this point in your life, she’s going to want to wear things, not lock them away in a safe.’
Ms Smith also appeared to be wearing a vintage gold Rolex watch, a diamond necklace and large silver hoops.
She was also wearing a gold pave cross necklace, on a long diamond chain.
Ms Woolton added: ‘This is the style of a woman who likes gold and jewels. These are pieces that mean something to her.
‘The jewellery shows her style more than anything else.
‘She looks like a woman who enjoys jewellery – a bit of gold, things that she already had in her jewellery box and is comfortable wearing them.’
Ms Smith was introduced to the newly single billionaire in September at a wine event at his Moraga vineyard in California, and he waited a fortnight before asking to see her again.
Media mogul Murdoch, said to be worth $17billion (£13.7billion), told his newspaper the New York Post: ‘I was very nervous. I dreaded falling in love – but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy.’
Ms Smith, 66, a widow who is wealthy in her own right, was pictured at the airport showcasing the £2million rock
The pair were spotted at the airport in Los Angeles after a romantic trip away in New York
Ms Smith was also wearing a vintage gold Rolex watch (pictured left), a diamond necklace and large silver hoops and a gold pave cross necklace, on a long diamond chain (pictured right).
Ms Smith said: ‘For us both it’s a gift from God. We met last September.
‘I’m a widow 14 years. Like Rupert, my husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations and helped promote Univision. So I speak Rupert’s language. We share the same beliefs.
‘In perspective, it’s not my first rodeo. Getting near 70 means being in the last half. I waited for the right time. Friends are happy for me.’
Murdoch’s last marriage, to supermodel Jerry Hall, ended abruptly in July last year and the divorce was finalised within five weeks. They had been married for six years.
Before that he was married to media executive Wendi Deng, with whom he has daughters Grace and Chloe.
He was married to journalist Anna Torv from 1967 to 1999 and they had children Liz, James and Lachlan. Prior to that he was married to flight attendant Patricia Booker and they had daughter Patience.
The jewellery worn by Ms Smith is said to ‘show her style more than anything else’
Media mogul Murdoch (pictured at the airport) said to be worth $17billion (£13.7billion)
The pair were pictured on the beach in Barbados during their romantic getaway in January this year
Ms Smith wore a striking yellow bikini number as the pair cooled off in the shade
It emerged last week that Ms Smith, who also owns a vineyard, had been in a dispute with the family of her late husband. They alleged ‘elder financial abuse’ and said that she had withheld $1million (£800,000) which each of his three daughters were owed. The matter was settled in 2010.
In the Los Angeles pictures, Murdoch is wearing a cap which bears the legend ‘Proud American’.
Murdoch’s Fox News is currently defending a lawsuit brought by voting machine company Dominion, which says that several Fox hosts promoted a false narrative which suggested that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
Murdoch himself appeared in court in late February and said that ‘in hindsight’ he wished that Fox had been stronger in denouncing the allegations.
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