EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Curzon clan 'fight National Trust for £1m archive'

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Curzon clan 'fight National Trust for £1m archive'

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Curzon clan ‘fight National Trust for £1m family archive’

There are few more splendid buildings than Kedleston Hall, the Derbyshire masterpiece created by Robert Adam for the 1st Lord Scarsdale.

But behind its stately exterior — whose northern front extends for a staggering 117 yards — an ugly row is brewing.

It centres on what, I’m told, is a stark difference of opinion between the National Trust, which has been custodian of the Hall since 1987, and the Curzon family, who have been at Kedleston since the 12th century and who retain the use of a 23-room wing.

‘There’s a dispute between the family and the National Trust about the Kedleston Archive, which contains God-knows-how-many documents relating to the Curzons,’ I’m told. ‘It could be worth more than £1 million. The family say it belongs to them.

‘Nobody’s had any access to it. It looks as though it’s going to be moved from Kedleston and put in the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock.’

Derbyshire County Council tells me it has had ‘an initial approach from the National Trust’, while the charity agrees there have been ‘exploratory conversations’ with the goal of securing ‘improved public access’. 

Behind the stately exterior of masterpiece Kedleston Hall (pictured) in Derbyshire, an ugly row is brewing

George Nathaniel Curzon, Viceroy of India and 1st and last Marquess of Curzon, pictured in 1907

It stresses that ‘any decision would be subject to further consultation with the trustees of Kedleston Estate Trust’.

The latter safeguards the interests of the Curzon family — motto: ‘Let Curzon holde what Curzon helde’ — who continue to own the 4,000 acres surrounding the house. Richard Curzon — whose father, the 3rd Viscount Scarsdale, entrusted Kedleston to the National Trust, and who lives in the family wing — declines to comment.

But I’m told members of the family feel the charity has a distinct and seemingly hostile agenda.

Last year it posted on its website a biographical essay about the brilliant George Nathaniel Curzon, Viceroy of India and 1st and last Marquess of Curzon, which was littered with factual errors and which alleged that Curzon was motivated by ‘racist ideology’.

The subsequent outcry, including pinpoint criticism from Curzon biographer David Gilmour, obliged the Trust to remove the article and ‘check’ its content.

The family doesn’t claim to be blemish-free. 

‘If the Trust wanted to be both accurate and informative, why doesn’t it have an article about Peter, the 3rd Viscount’s elder son by his first wife, a Belgian alcoholic?’ asks a critic. 

‘Peter dumped his wife and daughter and went off with his favourite prostitute.’

Why not indeed?

Cressie reveals her baby bump for first time

Chelsy Davy is not the only one of the Duke of Sussex’s ex-girlfriends to be embracing motherhood.

Friends of actress Cressida Bonas, who went out with Prince Harry for two years, have confirmed that she’s expecting her first child. 

‘Cressie’s really excited about this next stage in her life,’ one of her pals tells me.

Chelsy Davy pictured walking her Dashound dog in London on Thursday. A growing baby bump could be seen beneath her summer dress

A growing baby bump could be seen beneath her summer dress as she took her dog for a walk in London this week. 

The 33-year-old married estate agent Harry Wentworth Stanley, 33 , in 2020. 

They had first enjoyed a romance while at Leeds University.

Earlier this year, I disclosed that Chelsy Davy had given birth to her first child with hotelier Sam Cutmore-Scott

The show must go on as Alena bows out…

Being married to a fellow musician has its benefits for violinist Alena Baeva.

The Russian, 37, had been due to perform on Wednesday at the Guiting Music Festival in the Cotswolds, but had to cancel at the last minute owing to visa problems.

Russian violinist Alena Baeva, 37, had to cancel a performance at the Guiting Music Festival in the Cotswolds on Wednesday

Instead, her husband, the award-winning Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko, flew over from their home in Luxembourg to perform.

Vadym had no time to rehearse but ‘gave a brilliant performance’, according to conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh.

Why Bruno is Strictly a solo star 

Bruno Tonioli, who quit Strictly, is hoping fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood doesn’t follow him across the Atlantic to the U.S. version of the show, Dancing With The Stars.

‘Oh, my God, no, I wouldn’t want Craig to come to America,’ he tells me at the press night of Sister Act: The Musical at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, West London.

Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood attend the press night performance Sister Act: The Musical at the Eventim Apollo on Wednesday

‘That would be too much hassle.’

However, the Italian choreographer, 66, adds: ‘I’m sure we’ll do something together again.’

TV’s Mary Portas lashes ‘ageist’ fashion industry

Queen of Shops Mary Portas has a bone to pick with the fashion industry.

The TV presenter is fuming over the industry’s failure to use women over the age of 40 in adverts.

‘Our collective obsession with youth makes me want to tear my hair out follicle by follicle,’ says Portas, 62. 

‘Yes, we’re getting better at representing older women. But what about putting an older woman at the centre of the picture for once?’

When middle-aged women are used, she adds, it’s often just a box-ticking measure.

‘I wonder how much of this is about virtue-signalling rather than a true belief in the power of older women?

‘ But here’s the thing: we are powerful. And beautiful. And sexy.’

The Queen is said to be a fan of television dramas, including Line Of Duty and Midsomer Murders. 

Her daughter, however, is clearly no admirer of Gok Wan’s shows. 

The fashion consultant, 47, who collected his MBE from the Princess Royal last year, says: ‘It was a big moment in my life. 

‘I was hoping Princess Anne would say she was a fan of How To Look Good Naked, but she didn’t.’ 

Gok Wan attending the press night for Sister Act! The Musical at London’s Eventim Apollo on Wednesday

He adds of his visit to Windsor Castle: ‘I just stood there and grinned at her and started laughing because I was so nervous. 

‘I always get very jealous when I see my contemporaries that are so comfortable in those situations. I am not. I am an awkward, awkward mess.’

Hollywood star Antonio Banderas is still bewildered by the behaviour of some of his co-stars. 

‘I have seen things that are very silly,’ the Spanish actor, 61, says. 

‘There is an actor — of course, I’m not going to tell you who — every time we did a take, he mooed like a cow.’ 

Udderly ridiculous…

As if Tiggy Legge-Bourke’s family hadn’t suffered enough recently, I hear firemen were called to put out a blaze at her family’s estate this week.

‘Thank you for the calls re the fire at Home Farm,’ says Tiggy’s brother Harry Legge-Bourke, who runs the Glanusk Park estate near Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales.

‘All under control and, fortunately, no livestock on site currently. Fire brigade in attendance.’ 

Tiggy Legge-Bourke, former nanny to the Duke of Cambridge, pictured outside the High Court last week after the BBC agreed to pay her substantial damages

Last week, the BBC issued a grovelling apology along with a payout of around £200,000 to Tiggy, the former nanny of Princes William and Harry, after she was subjected to ‘wholly baseless’ smears by former BBC journalist Martin Bashir.

Harry Legge-Bourke, 50, a friend of the royals, has separated from Iona, his wife of 21 years, as I revealed in February.

Rocketman star Taron Egerton caused concern earlier this year when he dropped out of the West End play Cock owing to ‘personal reasons’. 

And now the Welsh actor’s opened up about another challenge: the misery he faced when having to slim down dramatically for a film role last year. 

‘I oscillate between being someone who eats quite well and someone that really doesn’t eat well,’ he says.

‘I played a part where I had to be in good shape, so I had to think about it [dieting] for a long time. It was really hard and boring.’  

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