She’s the society model who became the face of Royal Ascot, but Martha Sitwell has been keeping a secret for the past quarter of a century.
Now, the ex-wife of baronet Sir George Sitwell has spoken for the first time about her 25-year-old son.
The socialite, who gave birth to Conor de Blank when she was just 17, decided that the baby should be raised by her aunt.
Lady Sitwell tells me: ‘People weren’t thrilled that I was having a baby at that age. I had huge help from my aunt. He lived between me and my aunt and by the time I was married he was at boarding school.’
Lady Sitwell refuses to disclose the identity of her son’s heavily tattooed father, whom she is pictured kissing, above, with baby Conor on his lap while she clutches a cigarette
Martha, 42, the daughter of late gastronome Justin de Blank, adds: ‘I do think that I made mistakes with him that I wouldn’t make now because I am older and wiser. I don’t think he’s had a perfect life with me at all. I’ve led quite an unstable life which is one the reasons I asked my aunt to help because she’s given him a bit more stability.’
Lady Sitwell refuses to disclose the identity of her son’s heavily tattooed father, whom she is pictured kissing, above, with baby Conor on his lap while she clutches a cigarette.
‘The father is not in my life, we had a long relationship and I’ve always made it very clear that he and my son can get in touch with each other and their relationship is between them.’
The socialite, who gave birth to Conor de Blank when she was just 17, decided that the baby should be raised by her aunt
Martha’s close friend, aristocratic chef Gizzi Erskine, also has a special attachment to her son as she is his godmother. Although Martha remains tight-lipped on what Conor does for a living, she says he likes to work with his hands.
‘My son has got a job that he adores. He looks like Marlon Brando and is ridiculously good looking and is extremely nice. I’m blessed to have him’.
Martha, married Sir George in 2007 and lived with him at the family’s £3.25 million Grade II-listed Weston Hall in Northamptonshire. But her relationship with the former film producer and great-nephew of poet Dame Edith Sitwell turned frosty and she held a ‘divorce party’ in 2017 to mark the end of their ten-year union.
Despite Martha previously denouncing marriage as ‘pure misery’, she admits Sir George and her son shared a bond. ‘As much as my ex-husband could get on with anyone, I think they did,’ she said.
The smart set’s talking about…
Imogen Stubbs’ wedding riddle
When Imogen Stubbs left theatre director husband Sir Trevor Nunn and moved into a love nest with married Soldier Soldier star Jonathan Guy Lewis, many wondered whether it would last
When Imogen Stubbs left theatre director husband Sir Trevor Nunn and moved into a love nest with married Soldier Soldier star Jonathan Guy Lewis, many wondered whether it would last.
Well, it would appear that the couple, who have been together over a decade, may have had their happy ending. My exclusive picture shows Imogen, 61, and Jonathan, 58, who left wife Miranda Foster for her in 2011, walking their dog close to the houseboat they share in London.
And a closer look at Imogen’s ring finger shows she’s wearing what appears to be a gold band and an engagement ring.
Are congrats in order?
A spokesman for Imogen was unavailable for comment.
Duke’s daughter Eliza and pearl trader Charlie split
When the Duke of Rutland’s youngest daughter Lady Eliza Manners made her society debut with her dashing pearl trader boyfriend Charlie Barron at Ascot last year, friends were convinced an engagement would be imminent.
Sadly I hear interior designer Eliza, 24, who grew up at her family’s ancestral home, Belvoir Castle in Lincolnshire has split from Barron. A hectic work schedule for Charlie, 25, who has designed jewellery for European royalty and Hollywood stars and whose family owns a pearl farm in Australia, is said to be a factor.
‘He is very busy at the moment and is starting to take on more of the running of his family estate alongside his pearl business,’ a close pal tells me.
Life’s Too Short star Stephen Merchant, who towers over us mere mortals at 6ft 7in, admits he’s never had to worry about facing a worthy opponent in a fight.
‘What I would normally do is sort of hold a shorter person’s head while they swung their arms,’ says the 47-year-old comedian.
‘That would be my main defence against a shorter attacker,’ he continues of his combat technique. The Office co-creator says that he remains perplexed on why his height has added to his fame.
‘What’s so strange about being tall is that people see it as a success,’ he says.
‘They see it as a victory — like I had very little involvement in my height. I did not do anything. I did not work out.’
Dame Joanna Lumley has travelled the world but seems most enthralled by her behind-the-scenes trip to the Royal Mews at Windsor Castle, where she met the Queen’s favourite horse — a little mare called Emma. The Ab Fab star was introduced to Her Majesty’s thoroughbreds by head groom Terry Pendry. ‘All the horses names were on the immaculate Victorian stable doors – it was just like having your star name on a dressing room door,’ sighs Lumley. ‘Terry showed me the Queen’s favourite, Emma, who came and checked me out, looked me up and down!’
The Duke of Kent’s 26-year-old granddaughter shared this snap of herself strapped into a high-tech body suit at the E-Pulsive and Repose studios in Kensington
(Very) modern manners
While most of us will be planning to stuff ourselves with chocolate this Easter weekend, body-conscious Lady Amelia Windsor will instead be plugging herself into the latest celebrity fitness craze: electrical muscle stimulation (EMS).
The Duke of Kent’s 26-year-old granddaughter shared this snap of herself strapped into a high-tech body suit at the E-Pulsive and Repose studios in Kensington, which is frequented by the likes of model Daisy Lowe and Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s daughter Tigerlily.
The sweat-inducing £100-a session treatment involves having your muscles stimulated with electric pulses for about 20 minutes.
‘I always leave the studio with a spring in my step,’ says Lady Amelia, who was once hailed as the ‘most beautiful royal.
A fitness insider tells me: ‘The celebs are bored of having to constantly work out in long gruelling sessions so are coming to do an EMS workout in between lunch dates and parties.’ Shocking.
Sanctions no problem for Abramovich’s £155m ex
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has had £3.2 billion of his assets frozen, may not be enjoying life’s luxuries like his ex-wife Irina.
For I hear the mother of five of his children has hired prestigious architects Donald Insall Associates to mastermind renovations to her £19 million Eaton Square flat in Belgravia. The company was behind the restoration of Windsor Castle after the 1992 fire. Irina was recently granted planning permission from Westminster Council for double-glazed French doors to be installed to help conserve heat.
Former air hostess, Irina, 55, who was said to have pocketed £155 million from her 2007 divorce from Abramovich, does have other, warmer homes to retire to — in Monaco and St Tropez.
Reformed party girl Sienna Miller won’t be first in line to accept Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s apologies over their No 10 Partygate fines. ‘What is really interesting,’ says the 40-year-old actress, ‘is the sense of entitlement and the idea that there is one set of rules for the people who are in power at the moment and another for the rest of the country.’
Madge and ‘bestie’ Stella’s big night out
Queen of Pop Madonna and her pal, fashion designer Stella McCartney, weren’t short of affection for one another as they caught up in London.
The Material Girl, 63, who was once married to British film director Guy Ritchie, shared a photo of her with Sir Paul’s daughter, 50, while smoking an e-cigarette and being kissed on the cheek. ‘Night out with my Besties,’ the singer captioned her collection of pictures with pals.
Madonna and her style chum Stella are known to have many famous mutual friends, including Camilla Esreb, daughter of former Harrods owner Mohamed Fayed, and the actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Queen of Pop Madonna and her pal, fashion designer Stella McCartney, weren’t short of affection for one another as they caught up in London