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Aristocrat reports estranged wife to police for BIGAMY saying she never told him of secret marriage

An aristocrat at the centre of a landmark divorce case has reported his estranged wife to police for bigamy.

Charles Villiers, 57, who is related to the Duchess of Cornwall, claimed his wife of 18 years never told him of her secret marriage and did not divorce before marrying him. 

The former publisher, who has previously accused his wife Emma Villiers, 61, of ‘divorce tourism’ has now accused her of being a bigamist and reported her to Scotland’s chief constable.      

Aristocrat Charles Villiers, 57, has accused his estranged wife of being a bigamist. Pictured: With his new love Heidi Innes, an opera singer he met in 2017, at their home in Tyninghame East Lothian

Aristocrat Charles Villiers, 57, has accused his estranged wife of being a bigamist. Pictured: With his new love Heidi Innes, an opera singer he met in 2017, at their home in Tyninghame East Lothian

Mr Villiers claims to have ‘compelling’ evidence that he believes that Mrs Villiers is still secretly married to an unknown man.

He alleges that his wife told him of her first marriage, to the late John Edward Brown in the 1980s, but never disclosed her second marriage before walking down the aisle with him.

Mrs Villiers has denied the accusations and described them as ‘outrageous and entirely false’. 

Emma Villiers, 61, (right) with daughter Clarissa (left). Mrs Villiers has denied the accusations of bigamy and described them as 'outrageous and entirely false'

Emma Villiers, 61, (right) with daughter Clarissa (left). Mrs Villiers has denied the accusations of bigamy and described them as ‘outrageous and entirely false’

The couple were married in 1994 and lived in Scotland in a Georgian mansion with a private loch for the bulk of their 18-year marriage before they separated in 2012. 

Mr Villiers filed for divorce in Scotland in 2014 and the pair have since became the centre of a landmark divorce case after his wife pursued a financial settlement in England, where the courts are perceived as being more generous to wives. 

The aristocrat lost the Supreme Court case to have his £5 million divorce battle heard in a Scottish court and not an English one.   

Mr Villiers' late mother was cousin to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pictured with Prince Charles

Mr Villiers’ late mother was cousin to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pictured with Prince Charles

Police are examining the new allegations of bigamy, which if true could result in a maximum sentence of two years in prison in Scotland. 

Mr Villiers told The Times: ‘This matter is of sufficient seriousness that it would not have been appropriate for me to go to my local police station. 

‘I have been advised my complaint is now in the hands of the East Lothian area commander of Police Scotland. 

‘I am relieved they are taking it seriously because bigamy is a serious offence.’ 

Mr Villiers’ late mother, Elizabeth Keppel, was cousin to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and has a right to a share of his family’s £3.5 million trust fund.  

Long-running legal fight between pair became test case for divorce tourism 

Charles Villiers, 57, who is related to the Duchess of Cornwall, accused his wife Emma of ‘divorce tourism’.

Emma pursued a financial settlement in England, where the courts are perceived as being more generous to wives, instead of in Scotland where their divorce is being ruled on.

In July, five Supreme Court justices ruled by a majority of three to two that Mrs Villiers could pursue her claim in England.

Legal experts have now warned that this could ‘green light’ divorce tourism and could also impact divorce rules post-Brexit.

It also suggests that couples will be able to divorce in one location, such as Scotland, while maintenance and decisions on assets are made in another place, England in this case.  

Caroline Holley, Family Partner at Farrer & Co, said: ‘The Supreme Court decision in Mrs Villiers’ favour gives the green light to so-called ‘divorce tourists’.

‘The door to the English court remains firmly open to those wanting to bring financial claims in England upon a divorce.

‘Mrs Villiers’ victory has reinforced England’s title as the divorce capital of the world.’ 

William Longrigg, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, told MailOnline: ‘The Supreme Court has drawn the battle lines today by distinguishing between proceedings for divorce and for maintenance. 

‘Whilst the Villiers’ divorce will proceed in Scotland, the English courts will continue to consider the wife’s claims for maintenance.

‘An English Court is likely to be far more generous than a Scottish court with regard to maintenance. 

‘In Scotland Mrs Villiers may have been limited to a maximum of three years continuing support from Mr Villiers but in England the court has the discretion to make a more far-reaching order that will continue for as long as the court deems appropriate.  

‘This leaves the door open for proceedings in two jurisdictions and demonstrates the interplay between Scottish and English Courts.’

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