Is it all over between Zac Goldsmith and his lover?

They were the costliest 30 seconds of his life. But three weeks after Zac Goldsmith confessed to adultery in a ‘quickie divorce’ reckoned to have cost him £100million, the eligible MP has yet to publicly show his love for the woman said to have caused the break-up — his sister-in-law, Alice Rothschild. 

Indeed, last week the newly elected Tory member for Richmond Park stayed ­studiously apart from Alice, 26, at a charity bash thrown by property billionaires Simon and David Reuben at their Millbank Tower in London — and friends believe their ­relationship has ­fizzled out.

Alice Rothschild
Zac Goldsmith

Alice Rothschild, left, is said to have caused the break-up of Zac Goldsmith's marriage to Sheherazade Bentley

Dashing Zac, 35 — whose maiden speech at the Commons last week unusually attracted a full gallery of spectators, most of whom were female — was married for 11 years to Sheherazade Bentley, 36, the ­illegitimate daughter of socialite Viviane Ventura and asset stripper John Bentley. She has three ­children by Zac. 

But four years ago, ecology ­enthusiast Zac was photographed leaving Alice’s West London flat. It was said he spent up to five ­clandestine afternoons a week with her, and at the time the duo claimed they were organising a celebrity poker event.

Zac’s billionaire father Sir James Goldsmith, who was married three times, coined the saying: ‘If you marry your mistress, you create a job vacancy.’

Split: Zac and Sheherazade, whose divorce was completed three weeks ago

Split: Zac and Sheherazade, whose divorce was completed three weeks ago

At last week’s high-profile bash to raise money for the Haiti ­earthquake, other guests included the Duchess of Cornwall’s sister, ­Annabel Elliot, plus Zac’s mother Lady Annabel Goldsmith, and his brother, Ben, whose wife Kate is Alice’s sister.

Blameless: Sheherazade, who has just divorced Goldsmith

Blameless: Sheherazade, who has just divorced Goldsmith

Since the couple were among friends and family — and now that his marriage is over — the occasion was surely the ideal time for Zac and his love to come out as a couple.

Yet they arrived separately and sat at different tables.

The divorce papers failed to name Alice as the other party, with ­Sheherazade asserting only that he had admitted adultery with an ‘unnamed woman’ and that he was ‘intolerable’ to live with.

Alice, daughter of heiress Anita Guinness and troubled banker Amschel Rothschild, who ­committed suicide in 1996, has known Zac for years. But I am told: ‘Their romance has run its course.’

Says a friend: ‘Sheherazade is a sweet girl. She was a loyal wife and mother, and is blameless in all this. She deserves every penny she got in the divorce.’


Author brought to book

Novelist Wilbur Smith has fallen prey to the sort of urban laws which are a million miles from the picturesque African bushland in which his yarns are set.

The Zambia-born writer — whose books have sold more than 65 million copies worldwide — was caught ­speeding in the West Country on ­holiday the other day.

‘The policeman asked me: “Any idea what speed you were doing?” ’ says Smith, whose 32nd novel, Assegai, is released as a paperback next month.

‘When I said “no”, he replied: “You were going so fast we’ve made you a ­reservation a couple of cells along from where your literary chum, Lord Archer, was staying.” ’

Adds the 77-year-old wordsmith, who ­eventually escaped with a three-point penalty on his driving licence: ‘For a minute, I thought he was serious.’


The Olympic Park builders will no doubt be on their best behaviour when Prince Philip visits a week tomorrow, the day after his 89th birthday.

I gather he will travel up in a hoist to view the site in the Lower Lea Valley, East London, and will inspect soil-washing machines which, I am told, are used to clean earth contaminated with oil.

But what will the Prince make of it all? Let’s hope he comes up with one of his acerbic one-liners — such as when he memorably declared that opening and closing ceremonies for sports events were ‘absolute bloody nuisances’!


How the Queen Mother’s pal got caught up in Israel drama

In the wake of the botched Israeli flotilla raid, no one has been monitoring the plight of the British hostages closer than nonagenarian Dame Frances Campbell-Preston.

A woman of the ­bedchamber and great friend of the Queen Mother for almost 37 years — as well as being sister-in-law of the inimitable comedienne Joyce Grenfell — Dame Frances sprang into action when she ­discovered that her great-niece, Alexandra Lort-Phillips, 38, was one of the British nationals detained in Israel.

Dame Frances, 91, says: ‘I called her father Patrick, my nephew, immediately and was delighted to hear that the British consul had been in touch and she was well and would soon be released.

‘I am very proud of her. She is standing up for her principles.’

Dame Frances, whose recently published autobiography, The Rich Spoils Of Time, has virtually sold out, tells me she has just ­finished her second book of reminiscences, Grandmother Steps. She describes it as a ­‘toilet tome’ to be read in the loo.

So, what is she up to now? ‘Just being old,’ she adds with a sigh.


In defence of the Duchess

Close: Mark Shand and Fergie

Close: Mark Shand and Fergie

Yet more words of sympathy for ­Fergie. The Duchess of Cornwall’s charming brother Mark Shand, 60, has sprung to the defence of Prince Andrew’s ­beleaguered ex, telling me: ‘I’ve known Fergie a very long time. She has a heart of gold, and I’m incredibly fond of her.’

Adds Mark, a guest of his nephew Ben Elliot at the Quintessentially awards in Covent Garden this week: ‘Fergie is a patron of my charity, ­Elephant Family. She’s a fool and she admits to that. She gets herself in these situations. It’s very unfortunate. She’s been very badly advised.’

But by whom, I wonder?


Two years younger than his somewhat better known brother Simon, suave Nicholas Cowell, 49, is an estate agent who has been in the property business for more than 25 years.

But while bearing a striking resemblance to his sibling, replete with flashy Italian suits and an implausible tan, Cowell the younger is considerably more self-deprecating, calling himself ‘probably the twit of the week’.

Nicholas put his house on the market and paid for an expensive Home Information Pack the very day the unpopular HIPs were abolished by the Government.

‘I asked the agents to reimburse me for the cost of this waste of paper, which has been met with the stony silence that I guess it deserves,’ he tells me sheepishly.



Remember when trumpets blared at Kate Middleton’s appointment to her first ‘real’ job as an accessory buyer at fashion chain Jigsaw?

Hired in December 2006, she was gone just 11 months later, prompting speculation that Prince William and she were soon to become engaged.

While we are still waiting for a royal announcement, Jigsaw co-founder Belle Robinson has this to say: ‘Signing up Kate Middleton wasn’t really that lucrative. There was an initial buzz, but it quickly died down’ — rather like the excitement over her engagement.



No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now