Duchess of Rutland on 'wildly unconventional' living arrangement

Duchess of Rutland admits living with estranged husband in The Crown’s Belvoir Castle nine years after his affair with another woman is ‘wildly unconventional’

  • Emma Manners married David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, in June 1992 
  • The couple’s marriage broke down in 2012 after the Duke embarked on an affair 
  • But the Duchess of Rutland, 57, insisted they are still the ‘very best of friends’
  • The couple continued to live on the estate for the sake of their five children 

The Duchess of Rutland has admitted that her living arrangements with her estranged husband are ‘wildly unconventional’. 

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 and said her ‘biggest regret’ was the dissolution of her relationship. 

The 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. 

However 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 and she has previously insisted the pair are still the ‘very best of friends’.

‘It’s been wildly unconventional but maybe it’s grown up’, said Emma in an interview with the Sunday Times, ‘The aristocracy has been behaving in those ways for generations.’ 

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 pair are pictured in in 2012

The duchess and duke share five children. Pictured; Lady Alice Manners, 25, Emma Manners,  Lady Eliza Manners, 23, and Lady Violet Manners, 27

She spoke of the ‘horrendous’ separation from husband David, admitting daughter Lady Violet Manners, 27, struggled originally with the split – but is now in full support of her relationship with estate manager, Phil Burtt.   

Speaking to guest Lady Emma Ingilby of Ripley Castle, in North Yorkshire, on her podcast Duchess, the Duchess of Rutland said she was sad she and the Duke hadn’t ‘made their journey together’. 

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.’

The marriage broke down when the Duke of Rutland had an affair with Andrea Webb (pictured in 2017 with Alexander Webb)

Emma, chief executive of the estate, and David, who are still officially married, both live in the 200-year-old stately home (pictured) in separate towers, and each have found new lovers

Meanwhile, 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.

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.

Emma, pictured with Lady Violet in 2018, has also discussed the impact of the pandemic on local businesses on her estate on her podcast

She wrote: ‘When I married David, Marquis of Granby and heir to one of Britain’s most distinguished stately homes, I expected life to be full of challenges. But this, by far, has been my hardest yet. 

‘When a relationship collapses there is often fault on both sides. Mine was definitely devoting too much time to the business and the children and not enough to my husband. I suppose both gave me focus and a sense of achievement that was lacking in our marriage.’

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.  

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