Lib Dem’s wife reels in
a new lover

When his elegant wife developed a close attachment for the ghillie who worked on their sporting estate on the River Tay in Scotland, Lib Dem donor and lobbyist Andrew Gifford reacted with great composure.

While Charlotte — Lottie to friends — divided her time between the grand family home and ghillie Robert White’s modest bungalow, Gifford, who has the distinction of being Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s first employer, seemed to accept the situation.

Indeed, at one stage all three even went fishing together on the estate near Stanley in Perthshire.

Hook, line and sinker: Lottie with Willis, who fell for her immediately, at the House of Lords event

Hook, line and sinker: Lottie with Willis, who fell for her immediately, at the House of Lords event

But there is a twist in this very modern menage a trois. Charlotte, Gifford’s wife of 20 years and a mother of four, has dissolved their ‘coalition’, I can reveal — and she is now to be found on the arm of divorcé Charles Willis, 61, a fabulously wealthy American who is on Forbes magazine’s U.S. rich list.

Of her relationship with the ­ghillie, Charlotte says: ‘That part of my life is over now.’

Friends are predicting she is instead likely to wed her new beau, who runs the Charles Willis Finance Corporation, which rents out commercial aircraft engines to airlines throughout the world.

Willis, now based in London, this week took Charlotte to a ­champagne reception and supper at the House of Lords to mark the 70th anniversary of the Arctic convoys which Britain used to supply the USSR during World War II.

As the couple mingled with 90-year-old war veterans and ­Russian banker George Piskov, who was hosting the event, a radiant ­Charlotte revealed: ‘We’re in love.’ She added that her divorce from Gifford would be finalised in the next few months.

Charlotte and Charles met in Scotland last year and, say pals, he was smitten immediately. ‘He is a lovely man and Charlotte seems perfect for him,’ I am told.

Meanwhile, Gifford, 58 — once an adviser to Liberal David Steel and founder of lobbying group GJW — retains his equanimity. He tells me he has met Willis, but is not ­prepared to comment further.

His wife formed a bond with their ghillie while he was spending long periods away for work. He later sold his beat on the Tay, but still enjoys fishing there.

The sweet sound of success: Katherine Jenkins

The sweet sound of success: Singer Katherine Jenkins

Richer to the tune of £3.5m

She was brought up in a council house in Wales, but Katherine Jenkins has left her humble roots firmly behind after raking in ­£3.5million in a year.

The mezzo-soprano has lodged accounts for two companies which show she is one of Britain’s highest-earning singing stars, just as she toasts her recent engagement to TV hunk Gethin Jones.

Katherine, 30, came 16th in a young Britons’ rich list last year, which put her ­fortune at £11million. 

That estimate did not include these new ­figures, which have just been lodged at Companies House.

They show that her recently founded KMJ Music company had a turnover of £3.15million, that she has more than £1million in cash in the bank and is owed a further £1million by debtors.

Another firm, Jenkinsongs Ltd, made £315,000 in the year, has more than £150,000 in cash and debtors that owe £730,000.

Since winning a place at the Royal Academy of Music aged 17, Jenkins has achieved huge ­success. Between 2004 and 2008, she sold more than four million albums, while she lives in a £2million house in North London with 33-year-old Jones.


Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, feared his son wasn’t going to support his ­sponsored climb up Kilimanjaro after failing to receive a reply to his email requesting funds.

Johnson Snr, 70 — who had already reached his £10,000 target for gorilla conservation — tells me: ‘I was worried he’d neglected me. But I was wrong. He has been rather innovative by giving me the generous present of a year’s ­subscription to the Boris Bikes scheme, to ensure my leg ­muscles are working and that I’m in peak ­cardiovascular health.’


Compared to the parties thrown by his late father, Lord Glenconner, the event was rather tame.

Nevertheless, family and friends of Glenconner’s only surviving son from his marriage, Christopher, danced the night away to a reggae band in the ­Caribbean over the weekend after he married his long-time girlfriend, Johanna Lissack.

Christopher, 43, proposed shortly before his father died last summer.

Close friend Eroline Lamontagne, who hosted the wedding at her Fond Doux resort in St Lucia, tells me: ‘It was a lovely evening, with a live band. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.’

Guests included Christopher’s sister Amy, 40, and his father’s local pals. Lord Glenconner’s former manservant Kent Adonai was best man.

Christopher and Johanna, who have known each other for five years, have both been married before. He has two daughters — Bella, 14, and Demetra, ten — with his first wife, Anastasia, whom he divorced two years ago.

Johanna — who runs two cafes at Lady ­Glenconner’s estate in Norfolk, Holkham Hall — has a daughter, Victoria, 28. ‘We decided to marry in St Lucia,’ Johanna  tells me. ‘We would, of course, have loved Lord Glenconner to be there. There will be another celebration in Norfolk for all the family later on.’

Christopher, meanwhile, is planning to build a house in St Lucia not far from his father’s old villa.


Romantic Clegg keeps someone happy

Deputy PM Nick Clegg isn’t the most popular man in the country right now, but he kept himself in his Spanish-born wife’s good books with a Valentine’s surprise.

There wasn’t a red box in sight as he treated Miriam to a taste of home with a meal at Moro, a London restaurant famed for Iberian cuisine, on Monday.

Spanish surprise: Nick and Miriam

Spanish surprise: Nick and Miriam

The couple were wreathed in smiles as they were shown to a table tucked away in a private area just before 8.30pm in Exmouth ­Market, Clerkenwell.

They seemed wrapped up in each other despite the singularly unromantic attentions of Clegg’s bodyguard and driver sharing a bottle of ­mineral water and a meal at a nearby table.

Says a fellow customer: ‘They look much fitter, younger and better looking than they appear on TV. Mrs Clegg is a very striking lady.’

The Lib Dem leader had seemingly done his homework — diners need to book months ahead. Unless, of course, being able to get a ­reservation at short notice is one of the perks of high office.


Has Speaker John Bercow been given a makeover by his pushy wife Sally?

He appeared at the Commons yesterday with a startling new hairdo — all stiffened with product and bunched up at the front. According to one Westminster figure, it made
Mr Squeaker look ‘even more like footballer Kevin Keegan’.

Of course, none of this would matter if Bercow followed tradition and wore a full-bottomed wig.



Playing the royals is plainly the latest hot ticket. ‘I want to thank the Royal Family — they have done wonders for my career,’ said Helena Bonham Carter in her Bafta  acceptance speech.

Now, Minnie Driver wants to join the bandwagon. ‘I’d love to play a member of the Royal Family, but I think I’m far too tall,’ she tells me at the Elle Style Awards. ‘Maybe I’ll play Kate Middleton when she’s old, because she’s tall, too.

'I also have the trademark bouncy hair that puts me streets ahead of other actresses who may want to play her.’

Such modesty.