Has there ever been an It-girl to rival Lady Mary Charteris — beautiful, titled, popular, wild and wealthy?
The daughter of an eccentric Scottish aristocrat, the 13th Earl of Wemyss and 9th Earl of March, she was raised on an estate in Gloucestershire so lovely that it features in the Harry Potter films.
Her parents are some of the most colourful members of the aristocracy, with her stepmother so fond of drugs that she is known as Lady Mindbender.
Lady Mary Charteris is pictured in the far right of the photograph with the Beckhams at Glastonbury
Since launching herself as a model in her teens, Lady Mary, 30, has carved out a niche as the ultimate Sloane Raver, making money and a name for herself from various fashion endorsements, DJ-ing gigs and a near-naked wedding dress.
What a dazzling, gilded life she has. Her social diary is an enviable round of parties, festivals and fashion shows, with celebrity friends who include Rita Ora, Alexa Chung, the Delevingnes and Georgia May Jagger.
But it’s not all sweetness and light for Lady Mary. For she has, it seems, made a couple of enemies during her rise to fame and social ubiquity.
Model Kate Moss is no fan, reportedly pushing her into a swimming pool during an altercation at a party in 2013.
La Moss — who is a creaking 13 years her senior — felt that up-and-coming party girl Lady Mary had shown a closer interest than was properly polite in her then husband, Jamie Hince.
In 2015, as the Moss-Hince union fell apart, Lady Mary was on hand to escort Hince around Glastonbury, and he was even said to be sleeping on the sofa of her West London flat for a time.
It’s showtime! Her 2012 wedding in a typically daring dress
However there was no suggestion that anything untoward had gone on. A friend of Lady Mary’s said at the time that: ‘All Mary had done is talk to Jamie, like she always does.’
And now there are reports that Victoria Beckham has joined the camp of people who find the effervescent Lady Mary just a shade too much.
Newspaper reports suggest that she has struck up a friendship with Victoria’s husband David, 42.
Certainly the pair met at Glastonbury this year. According to The Sun, David Beckham has been hanging out with Lady Mary during ‘late night parties’ after they were introduced to each other by his best friend, Dave Gardner.
A source said: ‘They were introduced by Dave, and Victoria is very worried that she [Lady Mary] is not the best influence on David. They met at Glastonbury but Victoria is not fond of her.’
The newspaper says that when another man tried to talk to Lady Mary during a recent party at the trendy Chiltern Firehouse restaurant in London, Beckham told him: ‘She’s with me.’ The newspaper said it was clear ‘they were pals’.
The footballer’s publicist Simon Oliveira yesterday denied the report, describing it as ‘completely untrue and absolute nonsense’.
Another source close to the couple said that there wasn’t any animosity with Victoria because Mrs Beckham was ‘unaware that there was a wider friendship’ between her husband and Lady Mary.
So what’s the truth? Victoria is widely reported to mistrust Becks’ best pal Gardner, who is friends with a party-hard crowd whom she regards as ‘dreggy’.
A source said: ‘David loves the wild crowd whom he knows through Dave Gardner and Guy Ritchie. He’s really into music, so it’s no surprise that he would get on well with Lady Mary.
‘At the moment Victoria is horribly busy with her fashion and launching her make-up range. David seems to be rattling around town having a bit of a mid-life crisis.’
So who is the posher-than-Posh beauty who has a habit of turning every head?
Lady Mary Chateris is the daughter of Jamie Neidpath, the Eton-educated son of the 12th Earl of Wemyss. He was a page of honour to the Queen Mother, and he now runs the Alro Group, a property fund management company.
He had a distinguished academic career, taking a BA at Oxford in 1969, followed by an MA and then a DPhil. At this time he was said to have taught former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was a Rhodes scholar.
Jamie married the Hon Catherine Guinness in 1983, and had son Francis, the heir, and daughter Lady Mary.
Mary Charteris on the Catwalk at Pam Hogg Show, Spring Summer 2013, at London Fashion Week
With Catherine, a stunning blonde socialite who had worked for artist Andy Warhol, Jamie became famous for the parties thrown at Stanway House, his Jacobean stately home in Gloucestershire. These were attended by Mick Jagger among others.
The marriage broke down when Lady Mary was still a baby, and he remarried eccentric posh former art student Amanda Fielding. The ceremony was conducted at sunset in Egypt, in the shade of the Southern pyramid.
Amanda went on to found the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust which carries out pioneering scientific research into psychoactive drugs and consciousness, and promotes drug policy reform.
There was some controversy when it emerged that the foundation had been given public money in order to research whether ‘magic mushrooms’ might be helpful in treating depression.
Amanda herself has tried so many drugs — including cannabis, magic mushrooms and LSD — that she says when it comes to her research: ‘I have always considered myself my own best laboratory.’
A deeply bohemian figure, she drilled a hole in her own head in 1970, convinced of the health benefits of trepanning. She used a dentist’s drill and local anasthetic, and filmed the procedure. In 1996, with his wife’s encouragement, Lady Mary’s father was trepanned by an Egyptian doctor, to help him reach a higher consciousness and fix his headaches.
Lady Mary said: ‘I have definitely got an amazing family.’
She added of the trepanning: ‘It makes you more perceptive. It’s meant to be a childlike state, or something. I don’t really notice a difference, but I hope there is a difference so there’s a point to it.’
Lady Mary’s early years were conventional enough for an upper-class girl. She went to the exclusive Francis Holland school in Sloane Square, where she became best friends with model and Chanel muse Poppy Delevingne.
She fell into fashion because the late stylist Isabella Blow was her father’s neighbour and best friend.
Blow used to bring Naomi Campbell and other models over to Stanway for shoots. Lady Mary said: ‘I have lots of memories of her and our photo albums are full of her dressed up in funny outfits, including some of my dad’s clothes. It didn’t really hit me until later on what an amazing woman she was.’
She was also encouraged into fashion by her aunt, the fashionista Daphne Guinness, who took her to the shows in Paris.
Lady Mary pictured in a photograph taken on holiday
Lady Mary said: ‘Daphne was amazing growing up, I more or less lived in her wardrobe.’
By the time she was 14 she started modelling herself — with Blow introducing her to her modelling agency. But it was Lady Mary’s 2012 wedding to Robbie Furze, of band The Big Pink, which really put her on the celebrity map, with a see-through wedding dress which showed her belly button.
She later said the demands of her Pam Hogg dress, subsequently included in a V&A exhibition of bridal fashion, were such that she hadn’t been able to wear knickers.
She also said that her father had asked her: ‘Is it going to be sexy?’ ‘I said: ‘Yes, it’s going to be sexy, don’t worry.’ And he said: ‘Good.’
After the service, during which her pet lurcher was a ring-bearer, carrying a custom-made Louis Vuitton pouch around his collar, Lady Mary changed into a Paco Rabanne chain-mail dress, then an eyelet-lace jumpsuit.
The party went on for two days, with guests invited to sleep over in teepees.
Her party-heavy profile started to attract attention, and in 2013 she shot her first music video, naked in a bath filled with goldfish.
She became a staple of the gossip columns, saying things like: ‘The look I’m going for tonight is bondage chauffeur.’
In the years that followed there have been endorsements from various luxury fashion brands. In one interview she shared her Glastonbury tips (get five hours sleep a night) and plugged Coach handbags.
She has more than 53,000 followers on Instagram and posts endless provocative pictures, particularly of her rear. One snap of her in a thong was posted to say happy birthday to her dog.
That’s not stopped her from attending both London and New York Fashion Weeks this year, of course.
She is sometimes criticised for being so extremely slender, but explains that this is due to medication for epilepsy. She also suffers from migraines, like her father.
Mostly, though, she loves to party. She was an early adopter of Soho Farmhouse, the outpost of the private club which has so impressed David Beckham that he has bought a nearby property and is trying to recreate its luxe hipster vibe. And she was notably partied out at Noel Gallagher’s cocaine-themed 50th birthday party at Aynhoe Park this summer.
She said on social media: ‘I’ve had to make an emergency doctor’s appointment and been bed-bound ever since.’
You can see why Posh — whose own upbringing was so suburban by comparison — might perceive Lady Mary as a rather dazzling threat.
She need not worry too much, though. For all her gadfly tendencies, Lady Mary claims to be very much a one-man woman.
After one member of Furze’s band left, she was drafted into The Big Pink, and last year she moved with him to Los Angeles in order to concentrate on his music.
Four weeks ago, they celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. This most eccentric It-girl wrote: ‘We are one of a kind, and you are my kind of one.’
Surely only a cynic would doubt her.