Camilla's cousin found dead in London hotel room

Charles Villiers was involved in one of Britain's longest-running divorce spats

Published

A distant cousin to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall has reportedly been found dead in a hotel room in London.

Charles Villiers and his estranged wife Emma Villiers caused a media stir when the couple battled with each other over whether their divorce should be settled in Scottish or English courts.

The bitter feud was still legally unresolved at the time of 59-year-old’s death, thereby making the divorce one of the longest on record; proceedings began in 2014.

Five courts in eight years bore witness to the legal wrangling.

Charles Villiers
Charles Villiers
Emma Villiers
Emma Villiers

The Times reported that the aristocrat had recently declared bankruptcy, had no fixed address and was sleeping on friends’ sofas

The newspaper said the Tyninghame native was found dead by a Durrants Hotel housekeeper in Marylebone last week, having flown back from the Greek Islands where he’d been staying on a friends’ yacht.

The friend of Mr Villiers was concerned about Camilla’s cousin’s mental state, and so organised the flight back to Britain in order for him to check into a clinic and get help.

The estranged couple’s battle over whether a Scottish or English court would preside over their divorce was predicated on the differences the nation’s settlement rules.

In Scotland, if a marriage breaks down, inherited assets are not involved in any division of assets. Moreover, maintenance payments typically have a three-year limit.

In England, maintenance support runs for the rest of the claimant’s lives.

Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall

Mr Villiers, who had lived in Scotland with Ms Villiers since their wedding in 1994 until their separation in 2012, wished for proceedings to take place in a Scottish court.

However, the Supreme Court backed Mrs Villiers’ claim to receive maintenance under English rules.

Ms Villiers moved to England after she separated from Mr Villiers.

Mrs Villiers demanded a £3.5m settlement from her ex-husband.

Mr Villiers thought he had escaped paying his former partner maintenance payments in March 2021, when Mr Justice Mostyn ruled that due to his heavy debts, Mr Villiers would not be required to pay maintenance.

But Ms Villiers appealed and the distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall was made to pay his ex-wife £10,000-a-year.