EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Earl and Countess Cowley face High Court debt fight

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Earl and Countess Cowley face High Court battle over £2 million debt

Few if any ski resorts can match the magic of Megeve in the shadow of Mont Blanc, which was just a medieval French Alpine village when its cobbled streets caught the eye of Baroness Noemie de Rothschild a century ago. It’s been in favour with successive generations of Rothschilds ever since, as well as, more recently, with Russian oligarchs and Saudi princes, not to mention the Duchess of York, who’s whooshed down its slopes from time to time.

But I fear that its pleasures may now be beyond the reach of Earl and Countess Cowley, who own the luxurious six-bedroom, five-bathroom Chalet Valentine on the Mont d’Arbois – ‘the blingiest part of Megeve’, one habitue assures me. ‘It’s dripping with cash.’

That, alas, appears to be a rather unfortunate phrase where the Earl and Countess are concerned. For I can reveal that they’re embroiled in a painfully public disagreement with Banque Havilland, owned by controversial tycoon David ‘Spotty’ Rowland, who reportedly paid off a £1.5million loan for Prince Andrew in 2017.

Rowland is evidently not in munificent mood this time. His bank alleges that the Earl – Graham Wellesley, 58, a kinsman of the Duke of Wellington – and Countess owe it more than £2.1million.

In a claim issued at the High Court, it says that, in October 2019, it entered into a loan agreement with a company owned by the Earl and Countess.

Graham Wellesley and his wife Claire, are alleged to owe Banque Havilland more than £2.1m 

They are understood to have put their luxurious property in Switzerland up as the collateral for a loan. Richard Eden notes that it is now for rent

This allowed the company – Margot Ltd, registered in Guernsey – to borrow up to 4million Euros or approximately £3.45million. The Cowleys, who in 2015 snapped up a house in Chelsea for £7million, personally guaranteed the loan – using Chalet Valentine as security.

According to the claim, the couple, who married in 1990 and have two sons and a daughter, used 1.6million Euros – roughly £1.37million – ‘to refinance an existing loan from HSBC Private Bank (Jersey) Ltd’.

This was to have been repaid in full by October 7 2022. But, according to the claim, the deadline came and went. Interest was relentlessly added to the outstanding amount, until March 27 this year, £2.15million was outstanding, prompting the bank to send the Earl and Countess demands for payment. None was forthcoming.

There was no answer at the Cowleys’ Chelsea residence when I called, but I note that Chalet Valentine is now available for rent – at £1,400-a-night…

Strictly Jo’s joy at son Ty’s wedding news 

Former Strictly star Jo Wood is delighted with her early Christmas present: a family wedding. Her son, Tyrone, is to wed American perfumier Faye Harris.

‘I’m so happy,’ says the ex-model, adding that ‘every time’ she thinks of the couple, ‘I start crying with happiness.’

Former Strictly star Jo Wood’s son Tyrone has just proposed to his American perfumier wife Faye Harris

Faye, a pioneer in the genderless perfume craze who co-founded vegan fragrance brand Eauso Vert, spent last Christmas with art curator Ty, 40, at Jo’s home in Northamptonshire.

Ty, whose father is Jo’s ex-husband, Ronnie Wood, the Rolling Stones guitarist, has gone out with a string of beautiful women in the past including model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and pop star Rita Ora.

Why Coppola ignored Lisa-Marie’s pleas

Sofia Coppola stands by her portrayal of Elvis Presley as a deeply flawed husband in her new film — despite the couple’s daughter, Lisa-Marie, branding the movie, based on her mother Priscilla’s memoir, ‘shockingly vengeful and contemptuous’ before her death in January.

Sofia Coppola has just released ‘Priscilla’ a biographical drama, which she wrote, directed and produced, based on the memoir of Elvis Presley’s wife 

Speaking at a London screening of Priscilla, Coppola says that while she ‘felt terrible’ about upsetting Lisa-Marie, she ‘felt confident that we were treating Elvis and all the characters sensitively’. She adds that she ‘didn’t change anything’ despite Lisa-Marie pleading with her to shelve the project: ‘I hoped that Lisa-Marie could have seen it because I feel that the portrayal was close to how Priscilla portrayed him.’

Footman puts the boot into Billy

Backstairs Billy, the West End comedy about the Queen Mother’s favourite servant starring Dame Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans, failed to amuse former royal footman Ty Munroe.

He claims its depiction of life at Clarence House, the London home of King Charles’s grandmother, is ‘a badly researched Benny Hill-type farce’.

Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans are playing The Queen Mother and William ‘Billy’ Tallon in Backstairs Billy, which dramatises their relationship

Munroe, who worked there from 1994 until the Queen Mother’s death in 2002 at the age of 101, is horrified by the set design for a start. ‘Queen Elizabeth was not Barbara Cartland, so no pink wallpaper,’ he tells me, claiming the costumes are even worse. ‘Footmen wore scarlet tails, not black tie.’

He sniffs: ‘The private secretary wouldn’t wander around willy-nilly like in the play, and the notion that Princess Margaret did an early breakfast I found ironically funny. I think they must have got a Buckingham Palace footman as a consultant, so they wouldn’t know the nuances of the differences between the two households.’

Don’t call Aled’s girl a nepo baby…  

Walking In The Air singer Aled Jones is sick of people accusing his daughter, the Bafta-nominated actress Emilia, 21, of being a ‘nepo baby’.

Short for nepotism, the term refers to the children of famous people who have used connections to succeed in careers similar to those of their parents.

Walking In The Air singer Aled Jones says that his daughter, Emilia, is not a ‘nepo baby’

‘She is definitely not a nepo baby,’ the Songs Of Praise presenter, 52, says, adding sarcastically: ‘Yeah, I’ve got massive sway with Hollywood. If you want a role in an Oscar-winning film, just come and see me. It’s such a joke.’

He adds: ‘The fact [is] that little Emilia has worked her socks off since she was nine years old, and no one knew she was my daughter. She got roles in things that I have no influence over.’

Jade and Kate: party animals! 

A leopard may never change its spots, but Jade Jagger was all smiles with Kate Moss at the weekend. 

The pair both wore animal-print dresses at a party for The Leopard magazine and Sir Mick Jagger’s daughter even referred to the supermodel as her BFF, or best friend forever. 

Jade Jagger was all smiles with Kate Moss at the weekend, but they weren’t always friends as Richard Eden remembers… 

But they weren’t always chums. Jeweller Jade, 52, once discovered that her boyfriend Dan Macmillan was seeing Moss, 49, behind her back. 

Moss later received a necklace from Jade. On inspection, she was shocked to discover one word spelled out in decorative stones: ‘SLAG’ 

Some wives might file for divorce if their husbands gave them a power tool for Christmas, but not Lady Alexandra Elletson, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Woolton. 

‘I was given a chainsaw for Christmas by my husband,’ says Lady Alexandra, 62. ‘It is small, safe and has a rechargeable battery.’ 

Artist Jamie Coreth with the portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Wales in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The maker of the picture frame has been giving his wife power tools for Christmas

And the gift wasn’t a one-off from Philip Elletson, the picture framer who made the ornate Victorian-style frame for Jamie Coreth’s portrait of the Prince and Princess of Wales. 

‘I got a leaf-blower for my birthday,’ she adds. ‘It is also rechargeable and so quiet my husband often can’t find me outside.’ 

Pop superstar Ed Sheeran has failed to win over The Smiths singer Morrissey.

On tour Down Under, Morrissey addressed the audience in Sydney: ‘I must tell you that I shouldn’t really be here; I should be dead.

Morrissey, once of The Smiths, voiced his dislike of pop superstar Ed Sheeran during a concert in Australia

‘Yesterday, we flew from Brisbane on the most frightening, horrible flight and we all thought we were finished. And, before you ask — Qantas.’

This Charming Man singer, 64, added: ‘There is one good thing about being dead, however, and that is, you never again have to listen to Ed Sheeran.’

Heaven knows, he’s still miserable now.

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