Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath....seems to be quite an old....um....cheeky monkey Wifelets at war: Wall-to-wall bitchiness and a drunken catfight over chicken casserole between three of the Marquess of Bath's 74 girlfriends
This is a story of sex, love, violence, bitter rivalry, beautiful (and some rather less beautiful) women, stupefying riches and an ageing aristocrat who hobbles about on crutches, has 74 ‘wifelets’, a penchant for group sex and a rather distinctive aroma.
Oh yes, and he can swallow a mackerel whole as a party trick.
The aristocrat is, of course, the famously polygamous and very beardy Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, aka the ‘Loins’ of Longleat.
He is 79, married with two grown-up children and has a personal fortune estimated at £160 million in the Sunday Times Rich List.
And, last month, he found himself in the headlines when what started as a civilised Sunday luncheon of chicken casserole, pomegranate couscous, mixed salad leaves and home-made chocolate tart at his 10,000-acre, 16th-century estate degenerated into an orgy of drunkenness, violence and lewd suggestions involving bizarre prosthetic sex aides, followed by an emergency midnight ambulance dash to Royal United Hospital, Bath.
The incident involved three women — two of them long-term consorts.
The first is the brilliantly named Trudie Juggernauth-Sharma — a retired Mauritian model, part-time nurse, one-time art consultant and, for the past 13 years, Wifelet Number 68.
‘Though I prefer to think of myself as his girlfriend,’ she says sharply.
The second is an Irish singer of Amazonian proportions called Amanda Doyle, who claims to have spent ten of her 11 Wifelet years trying to conceive Lord Bath’s baby by IVF, likes a drink or five and has form when it comes to jealous fisticuffs.
Back in 2005, she was involved in an altercation at a posh Sotheby’s summer party with a forty-something blonde, which ended in blows and a bloody neck for the blonde.Susanna Zallskyj (far left) and Trudie Juggernauth-Sharma,
who for the past 13 years has been Wifelet Number 68
And finally, there’s Susanna Zaliskyj, a half-Ukranian-born actress and events manager who met Lord Bath through her love affair with the son of notorious Wifelet Number 54, the late American singer Jo Jo Laine, and describes her relationship with the Marquess as ‘an intellectual relationship, not a bedding one, because I’m not into older, plump men, and he is old!’
Various reports of the drama of June 5 have leaked out of Longleat over recent weeks and all are deeply contradictory.
The initial explanation was that, yet again — and despite their septuagenarian seigneur being in poor health and on crutches after a nasty illness last year — the rival wifelets had been fighting over who was to sleep with the 7th Marquess.
Amanda then claimed in a Sunday newspaper that the fracas had been started by Trudie and was all down to her jealousy that Amanda and 79-year-old Lord Bath had been undergoing IVF treatment together (he had always fancied himself as head of a commune of children born to his various wifelets, but to date has fathered just one child by them, his other two children being from his actual wife, actress Anna Gael).
Trudie (and Susanna, also a lunch guest), meanwhile, maintained a dignified silence.
Until now when, nursing a hot milk and still on the mend four weeks after being rushed to hospital with concussion, a broken nose and assorted cuts and bruises, Trudie is keen to set the record straight on life as a wifelet (girlfriend, sorry) of Bath and what she says really happened in his Lordship’s lavish penthouse apartment that night.
it all started so nicely, with lunch for 15 in the Marquess’s private rooms and a lot of ‘very jolly chatter’.
Lord Bath was sitting at one end of the table, Trudie was sitting at the other end with Susanna next to her, and Amanda was in the middle, ‘drinking heavily’.
As lunch drew to a close, Trudie, Susanna and Lord Bath withdrew to his penthouse apartment to watch a movie. An hour or so later, a ‘very drunk’ Amanda lurched in, clutching a bottle of wine in one hand and a glass in the other.
‘She was mad, out of control and jealous — a crazy woman and her language was grotesque!’ says Trudie.
‘First she went on about how much Botox I’d had done to my face. Then she insulted my physique and my race. And then she started making provocative suggestions for me and Susanna to join her in bed with certain sex toys…’
Which is when, says Susanna, taking up the story, things took a rather nastier turn.
‘I went to make a coffee and Amanda came up from behind, banged me on the head, grabbed me round the neck and whirled me around like a rag doll.
‘She attacked me three times. Once in the kitchen and twice in Alexander’s sitting room. I was sobbing and hyperventilating and Trudie was shouting and screaming: “Do something! Stop her! Get security!” ’
What about Lord Bath, what did he do? Shout for Michael the Butler? Break up the fight with one of his crutches?
‘No. He just sat there. He seemed oblivious to what was going on. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t intervening.
‘Apparently he’s used to turning a blind eye and switching his hearing aid off when the wifelets get out of control.’
But Susanna’s not a wifelet… ‘No, I’m not! I’m a friend, a good friend and a lunch guest — it’s just not what you expect when you go out for lunch. And he just sat there — and then suggested that we all have a nice game of chess.’
‘Yes. Chess! It wasn’t really what I fancied — I’d just been strangled!’
So she slipped away down the back stairs, persuaded a friend to come and collect her and headed off to stay with her elderly mother who lives in sheltered accommodation nearby, leaving Trudie and Alexander playing chess — ‘he won the first two games because I found it a bit hard to concentrate’ — and Amanda wandering about the corridors in a drunken stupor.
Until, about 11pm, when it all kicked off again.
‘From the moment I met him I thought he looked fantastic — so deadly, but so beautifully deadly'
‘I was helping Alexander get ready for bed,’ says Trudie. ‘I have a flat in London, but when I am at Longleat, I always sleep with Alexander, that’s how it works — and she (Amanda) burst in again, pushed me down on the ground, pinned my arms back and pounded my face again and again on the floor. I was terrified my neck was going to break — and it would have done if I haven’t always done so much yoga!’
Again, she called out to Lord Bath for help —‘I fell in his lap and begged, “Do something Alexander! Call security.” And again he just sat there.’
So she staggered to her feet, made her way to the bathroom, saw the blood all over her face, thought, ‘No, no, no! I am not going to tolerate this, this is too much — I’m not called The Juggernaut for nothing!’, staggered down to the security guards and called the police.
Amanda later claimed it was all ‘a fuss about nothing’ and that a few hostile, jealous words had occurred that day between her and Trudie — whereupon they got into a minor scrap.
But it all sounds very nasty indeed.And almost as shocking is that all these women are clamouring over Lord Bath in the first place. Because yes, he’s fabulously rich and, according to Susanna, ‘great fun to be with’.
But as she puts it herself, he is also ‘a very old man on two walking sticks, virtually lame and very, very large — huge in fact! I just can’t see the attraction’.
Trudie, however, is having none of it.
‘He’s a wonderful man,’ she says, suddenly dreamy behind the bruises.
‘From the moment I met him I thought he looked fantastic — so deadly, but so beautifully deadly.’
That was April 1998, they were both at a party in London and she was alternating between modelling assignments and freelance nursing work.
‘He walked with a real swagger — comfortable and confident with himself and he spoke so nicely because he’s Eton and Oxford educated.
‘And then he walked over to the buffet, picked up a mackerel, threw back his head and swallowed it whole! And I thought: “Wow!”
‘I’ve tried Viagra,’ he once remarked. ‘But I didn’t find it as useful as I would have hoped. I just rely on myself to get my own steam'
Things moved pretty quickly after that. Lord Bath invited her to Longleat for a weekend, gave her a cottage in the grounds (though she had to pay the £10,000 refurbishment costs herself), wooed her with cocktails, fresh carp and roasted peacock, wined and dined her in London and introduced her to an eclectic bunch of friends that included Jeffrey Archer, Boy George, Princess Margaret and Marco Pierre White.
‘I was so happy. We had so much in common — I like classical music and he knows the whole classical repertoire. It was like my little dream had come true. I didn’t mind that he was married. It was a really romantic affair.’
So romantic that she soon graduated from new wifelet to senior consort — or ‘the Queen on the golden throne’.
She also made it on to Bath’s ‘Wall of Fame’, or ‘Blackbeard’s Staircase’ — a dimly lit blood-red staircase lined with portraits, all painted by him, of the severed heads of wifelets past and present (who include a Chinese artist, a black model, a soft porn star, a Wessex housewife and a 17-year-old Sri Lankan).
‘I am number 68. I know because I counted them and it goes in chronological order — there are 74. I don’t consider myself a wifelet, but I’d rather be on the wall than left out — though I’d have liked my picture to look a little more beautiful. I look a little wild in it, but I had no jurisdiction to say anything.’
Indeed, the wifelets appear to have little jurisdiction over anything, because life at Longleat is carefully scheduled by Lord Bath and Michael the Butler.
So lunch is at 12.30 prompt, his afternoon nap is between 4 and 6pm, dinner is served at 8pm and Lord Bath calls on his wifelets on an informal rota system to amuse him during meal times and again at night between 10 and 11pm.
None of them actually lives in the main house, although a handful, including Trudie and Amanda (who have been rivals ever since 2000 when Amanda burst in on Trudie and Lord Bath in bed at 2.30am), have cottages on the estate.
Oh yes, and his wife of 42 years, Hungarian-born Anna Gael, conveniently spends most of her time living abroad.
In years gone by, Lord Bath put a lot of energy into decorating his famously obscene Kama Sutra room, boasting of his sexual prowess and denying any reliance on ‘little blue pills’.
‘I’ve tried Viagra,’ he once remarked. ‘But I didn’t find it as useful as I would have hoped. I just rely on myself to get my own steam.’
Viagra or not, he’s no spring chicken any more. So, er, what about the sexual side of things?
‘A lady would never talk of such things,’ gasps Trudie, appalled. ‘But everybody’s different, and rich men certainly have more prowess somehow.
‘But that Sunday night he seemed very happy just to play chess and talk. He didn’t give any indication he was waiting to have sex with anyone. And then this all happened…’
Whatever the full truth of the evening (and my money’s on Trudie and Susanna’s story), Trudie’s nose is still mis-shapen, Susanna is sporting visible bruises, Amanda has retreated behind a massive pair of sunglasses and Lord Bath has point blank refused to get involved or give a witness statement.
Which means that the police can take no further action.
So aren’t Trudie and Susanna hopping mad with their rather ignoble friend or boyfriend?
‘I’m a little bit disappointed he hasn’t said anything to me about it all,’ says Susanna.
‘It does feel a bit Upstairs, Downstairs, as if there’s one rule for us and one rule for him. If someone had been assaulted at my house they’d have been arrested and charged.
‘But I can understand his position. He’s aristocracy, so it’s kind of tricky for him to get involved in this kind of thing.’
Trudie — who has never asked for money or gifts and never cheated on Lord Bath during their 13 years together — is even more forgiving.
‘I worry for him, stuck there with that mad, violent, drunken woman. He’s the one we should be concerned about.’
But what about her injuries?
‘Well, I showed him my face and he said, “Oh dear, that’s really bad” and he was a bit worried that I might sue him, but of course I’m not going to because I don’t blame him.
‘You see, at the end of the day, he’s a national treasure. He’s one of the few real English gentlemen left and people love him and all that he stands for.’
English gentleman? To me, he sounds more like a philandering old fool, too weak to stand up to his myriad lovers when their jealous rages spiral out of control.
But then, of course, I’ve never witnessed him swallowing an entire mackerel down in one.Amanda Doyle claims to have spent ten of her 11 Wifelet years
trying to conceive Lord Bath's baby by IVFThe Marquess of Bath with Trudie, whom he met at a party.
At the time she was alternating between modelling assignments and freelance nursing work