While hit series like Bridgerton and The Crown have tantalized viewers with their juicy storylines and scandalous plots, the dating lives of some of Britain’s most aristocratic may prove that truth is stranger than fiction.
Earlier this week, Gillian Anderson, 52, reunited with her former partner of four-years partner Peter Morgan, 57, after he pursuing a brief romance with his close friend Jemima Khan, 47.
The writer has returned to Gillian and is believed to be staying with her in Czech Republic, leaving producer Jemima ‘shocked and confused’ after Peter ‘pursued her, rather than the other way around’.
But the scandalous love triangle is far from the most unusual romance for high society, with many taking a less-than-traditional approach to modern dating.
Here FEMAIL reveals the blue-blooded aristocrats who may be re-writing the rules of society romance…
Earlier this week, Gillian Anderson, 52, reunited with her former partner of four-years partner Peter Morgan, 57, after he pursuing a brief romance with his close friend Jemima Khan, 47
Aristocrats including the Duke and Duchess of Rutland (left) and the Queen’s grandson Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn (right) have continued to live together despite splitting up
Meanwhile the Queen’s cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten was joined by his husband James Coyle and his ex-wife Penny, as well as their three children, during lockdown
Peter Morgan and Gillian Anderson
In December, it emerged Gillian Anderson had split from producer Peter, 57, following a four-year relationship, before he quickly ‘moved on’ with his long-time friend, 47.
It was reported last month that Gillian was said to be ‘bemused’ by how quickly his romance with Jemima had progressed, just weeks after they had parted ways.
Peter and Jemima reportedly enjoyed an intense romance that blossomed early in the New Year, and by mid-January friends were saying they were in a ‘legit support bubble’ during the third lockdown.
According to sources, the TV, film and documentary producer had endured gossip over an apparent breach of the ‘girl code’ in taking up with Peter.
Last month it emerged that Peter Morgan, 57, had broken up with his long-term girlfriend Gillian Anderson, and quickly ‘moved on’ to romance his friend, Jemima Goldsmith (pictured together in 2013)
Gillian, 52, (pictured with Jemima at a party in 2018) was said to be ‘bemused’ by the news
But it has now emerged that Peter and Gillian have reunited, with Jemima said to have been left in the dark as to why their brief romance has ended.
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew
Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson and Prince Andrew split in the 90s but continue to live together
Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson and Prince Andrew married in July 1986 in Westminster Abbey, before going on to split six years later and divorcing in 1996.
She still lives with him in an unusual domestic arrangement at Royal Lodge in Windsor, and has never dismissed rumours they may remarry.
The Duke and Duchess have stayed ‘best friends’ for their two daughters Princess Eugenie, 30, and Princess Beatrice, 31.
One of Jemima’s friends told the Mail: ‘Peter pursued her, rather than the other way around. He persuaded her that they would be great together, but has now gone back to Gillian.
‘This has happened in the past week. She is pretty knocked for six about it. People are appalled by his behaviour.’
Gillian and Peter started dating in 2016, 18 months after his marriage to Austrian aristocrat Lila Schwarzenberg ended.
Playwright Peter has five children with his former spouse, while Gillian shares daughter Piper, 26, with art director Clyde Klotz, and sons Oscar, 14, and Felix, 12, with businessman Mark Griffiths.
Autumn and Peter Philips
Estranged royal couple Peter and Autumn Phillips have continued to live together over the last year, despite announcing their separation in February 2020 after 12 years of marriage.
Peter, 42, and Autumn, 41, informed their families of their ‘amicable’ decision to divorce in 2019 after deciding it was ‘the best course of action for their two children and ongoing friendship’.
The statement, released by a spokesperson on behalf of the couple last year, revealed the former couple have both remained in Gloucestershire to co-parent daughters Savannah, nine, and Isla, seven.
At the time, the Queen’s grandson and his wife lived under the same roof at their marital home at Aston Farm on the estate – next door to sister Zara and her husband Mike Tindall – but reports stated one will eventually move to another part of the 700-acre country residence.
It is not known whether Autumn or Peter has yet moved out of the family home and into another property on the estate.
Despite Autumn and Peter Phillips announcing their decision to separate at the start of last year, it is believed the couple are still living together on Princess Anne’s estate
Reports at the time suggested that the couple would continue living together and one would eventually move into another residence on the estate
Duke and Duchess of Rutland
Mother-of-five Emma Manners, 57, married David Manners, 61, the 11th Duke of Rutland, in June 1992 after meeting at a dinner party in 1990.
The couple’s marriage broke down in 2012 after the Duke embarked on an affair with a woman who lived on his 15,000-acre estate, Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire, which is known for featuring in Netflix’s The Crown.
Emma, chief executive of the estate, and David, who are still officially married, both continued to live at the 200-year-old stately home in separate towers. At one point they were both living there with their respective lovers.
Speaking to guest Lady Emma Ingilby of Ripley Castle, in North Yorkshire, on her podcast Duchess earlier this month, the Duchess of Rutland said she was sad she and the Duke hadn’t ‘made their journey together’.
Emma and David Manners, who are still officially married, both continued to live at the 200-year-old stately home in separate towers despite splitting
Emma said: ‘I am actually officially still married and the duke and I are legally separated, but it of course, always brings that little bit within one that we didn’t just make that journey together.
‘But we are the very best of friends and lucky enough for me, he’s put me in charge of carrying on the mantle, together we run the estate and he’s entrusted me with the job.’
Emma is now in a relationship with her estate manager, Phil Burtt, while David is happily ensconced with Tiggy Maconochie, former agent to the late fashion photographer Helmut Newton, according to the Daily Mail’s Richard Eden.
The duke split from his Brazilian-born lover, Andrea Webb, whom he had had the affair with, two years ago.
Emma remains CEO of David’s country pile, The Crown’s Belvoir Castle, and is now in a relationship with her estate manager Phil Burtt
Discussing the breakdown of her marriage for the Daily Mail in 2013, Emma said making sure the family stayed together – living in the same place and even sharing meals – hadn’t been easy.
The duchess and duke share five children: Lady Violet, 27, who is helping to produce the podcast, and her siblings Alice, 25, Eliza, 23, Charles, 21, and Hugo, 17.
Ivar Mountbatten, James Coyle and Penny
The Queen’s cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten spent much of the last year living with his husband James Coyle as well as his ex-wife Penny.
Lord Ivar, 64, revealed in mid-March that his former wife had ‘installed herself in her old bedroom’ at Bridwell Park, the Grade I-listed manor in Devon that she once called home and he where he now lives with James.
Three times the fun: Lord Ivar Mountbatten spent lockdown at his home of Bridwell Park, Devon, with both his husband James and his ex-wife Penny (pictured James and Penny)
During the first lockdown, Lord Ivar shared this photo to reveal that his former wife had ‘installed herself in her old bedroom’ at Bridwell Park, the Grade I-listed manor in Devon that she once called home and he where he now lives with James
The couple, who share three grown-up daughters, Ella, 23, Alix, 22, and 17-year-old Luli, spent the lockdown enjoying drinks in the garden and bonfires by the lake, with no hint of a row in sight.
In one photo Penny had cheekily jumped into Ivar’s bed with her daughters, prompting Ivar to joke: ‘James won’t be impressed to see First Spouse in his spot!’
Heather Bird and Robert Tchenguiz
Heather Bird split from Robert Tchenguiz around ten years ago, but they still both live at his palatial four-storey townhouse close to the Royal Albert Hall
Heather Bird split from Robert Tchenguiz around ten years ago, but the couple never divorced and they still both live at his palatial four-storey townhouse close to the Royal Albert Hall.
Robert, who was once said to be worth £4.5 billion but admitted losing 85 per cent of his fortune in the Icelandic banking crisis, also lives with his 27-year-old Polish girlfriend.
He lives with Julia Dybowska on the fourth floor, while Heather resides on the first floor.
While this unconventional set-up might be difficult to imagine for many divorced couples, Lord Ivar and Penny have spoke often about how they have maintained a close friendship in the decade since their 17-year marriage ended.
Penny and Ivar married in 1994 in a church ceremony which was attended by Princess Margaret and Prince Edward, who is the godfather of their eldest daughter, Ella. His wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is godmother to their middle daughter Alix.
The couple raised their children at Bridwell Park until their separation in 2010. Their divorce was finalised in 2011.
Three years later Ivar met James, an airline cabin services director from Glasgow. They immediately clicked and three weeks later he was being introduced to family members, although Ivar later revealed that at the time his daughters did not know he was a potential suitor.
Ivar, who became the first member of the royal family to come out as gay, married James in front of 60 family and friends at his the private chapel at Bridwell Park — and celebrated with a lavish reception in the orangery.
In a show of support, Penny gave her ex-husband away.
Speaking to The Times last year, Ivar explained Penny and James have developed their own ‘incredible’ relationship independent of him, saying: ‘When Penny lived nearby, if I couldn’t find James I knew he’d be having a coffee with her, bitching about me.’
Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo
The designer couple behind Meghan Markle’s engagement dress Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo fell in love, and founded Ralph & Russo in 2007
The brand specialises in elaborate and beautiful couture dresses, studded with crystals and embellishments and floor-sweeping trains.
Since founding the label, Ralph & Russo have gone on to base themselves in a seven-storey Mayfair salon overlooking the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
The design duo have moved from success to success and in 2014, Ralph & Russo was the first British fashion house to be invited to the Paris couture shows in a century.
Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, who crafted the dress Meghan Markle wore in her engagement pictures to Prince Harry fell in love, and founded Ralph & Russo in 2007
However, in 2018 it was reported the couple had split, and in 2020, it emerged Tamara was dating 41-year-old son of billionaire Sudhir Choudhrie.
‘Bhanu was in the front row when Tamara was over in France for Paris Fashion Week,’ a friend told the Daily Mail, explaining that the couple’s relationship began to flourish before lockdown was imposed.
Meanwhile in August 2020, the couple revealed they were expecting their first child together.
However, in 2018 it was reported the couple had split, and earlier this month Tamara welcomed her first child with son of billionaire Sudhir Choudhrie (pictured together)
Tamara, who is believed to still work with ex Russo on their joint brand, gave birth a girl named Haliya earlier this month.
‘Never have I known a love like this,’ says Tamara, 39. ‘Our hearts are so full. Welcome to the world, our gorgeous baby girl.’
Proving there’s no bad blood between them, Michael was among the first to congratulate her on the birth.