Is this the final straw for Kate’s bad boy uncle? After a street fracas with his wife and being barely tolerated by the Middletons for years, courtiers are now asking if this is the end for the ‘Black Sheep’
Of the many nicknames he’s been given during the 15 or so years since his niece Kate Middleton started dating Prince William, Gary Goldsmith much prefers ‘King of Fun’ to ‘Black Sheep’.
Most likely that is due to his snobbery. For being brash, flash and prone to occasional displays of outrageous vulgarity, the tattooed 52-year-old bon viveur has styled himself as a sort of rough diamond: unpolished, and not without faults, but with a heart that’s firmly in the right place.
It was in this spirit that Goldsmith posed for a jaunty ‘selfie’ with fourth wife Julie-Ann, 47, in a candlelit function room at the fashionable members’ club Home House in central London last Thursday.
The time was approaching midnight when the flamboyant businessman, sporting a polka dot jacket and silk cravat to a black-tie charity dinner, posted the image on Twitter, along with a caption announcing their success in the night’s big fundraising auction.
‘That’s holiday sorted for [Julie-Ann] and I,’ it read, revealing that he’d successfully bid to join a ‘bucket list’ expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
The ten-day trip was supposed to see the couple add to the many exotic endurance challenges ticked off by the extended Middleton clan by next June.
That was the big idea, at least. But within a few hours, the expedition — and pretty much all of Goldsmith’s future plans — was thrown into doubt in circumstances that, on the face of it, seem the very opposite of ‘Fun’.
To blame was an ugly series of events that culminated in the self-made multi-millionaire being arrested shortly before 1.30 am by police called by a taxi-driver to the scene of a public altercation that had ended with Mrs Goldsmith hitting her head on the pavement, knocking her unconscious.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s uncle was arrested outside his Marylebone home and spent the night in cells, before being released on bail. He has now been charged with assault by beating and will appear before Westminster magistrates later this month.
It should be stressed that the precise details of what led to this state of affairs remain in dispute, and Goldsmith is understood to deny any crime.
However, according to interviews given to newspapers by the taxi-driver, Daniel Shepherd, who had just dropped off the couple, it began, he claims, with an argument which started in the back of his cab on the journey home from the dinner.
After the cab arrived at their home, Shepherd alleges that Goldsmith ‘started taking over from her to unlock the front door’.
‘That’s when it kicked off,’ the driver has claimed. ‘He was screaming and swearing at her, and she slapped him round the face and his glasses fell off.
‘She ended up falling to the ground and cracked her head on the pavement.’
It will now, of course, be for a court to establish whether an offence was committed, after weighing up evidence from those involved. In the meantime, the couple are required to live at different addresses and have been banned from talking to each other.
Julie-Ann is understood to be staying at the marital home along with their two chihuahuas, Cheech and Keela.
The situation has stunned friends, who did not consider the couple to have a remotely volatile relationship. They wonder if the on-off nature of Goldsmith’s recent relationship with alcohol might have had a major role to play in the night’s events.
Goldsmith has long enjoyed a reputation as a party animal. This is, after all, a man who once called his Ibiza villa ‘Maison de Bang Bang’ (because of his favoured dance music, he claims) and on social media lists, among his hobbies, champagne and ‘Grey Goose Vodka’. However, friends say that since August he’s been almost entirely sober, after embarking on a diet in order to raise £15,000 for charity.
He’d been sponsored to, as he put it, ‘get my body beach-ready’ after finding himself unable to fit into his collection of designer suits — and had lost 42lb in 49 days, getting his once roly-poly frame down to 14st 7lb.
‘Gary’s been living on air,’ is how one acquaintance puts it. ‘He’s not had more than a couple of glasses of wine in those seven weeks, he’s been taking endless exercise and eating almost nothing.’
But then he attended the charity fundraiser on Thursday and is believed to have had a glass or two.
Whatever the background, this story is also, for obvious reasons, deeply embarrassing for the Royal Family and his sister Carole Middleton, who is ten years older than him.
Indeed, friends fear it may prove terminal for a relationship which has seen him ‘on probation’ since 2009, when Goldsmith was the subject of a front-page sting by the News of the World.
At that time, he was recently divorced (for the third time) and living at his villa in Ibiza (where Prince William and Kate had stayed in 2006) with a former lap-dancer called Antonia.
An undercover reporter filmed him boasting about cocaine use and advising how one might meet Brazilian prostitutes. On tape, Goldsmith then comments that when William and his niece got married, he’d gain access to Buckingham Palace.
‘I’ve got my own rooms: the Goldsmith wing! I’m going to be the Duke of Slough!’ he said.
Though friends have always dismissed the jocular remarks as ‘Gary being Gary’ and point out that he neither actually took cocaine nor procured prostitutes during the conversation, the scandal was the last thing the Middleton family needed at a time when some condescending courtiers were sniping that Kate was not a blue-blooded bride. Not surprisingly, Carole was reported to have taken steps to distance herself from her sibling.
However, within a couple of years, their relationship had thawed sufficiently for Goldsmith to be invited to the Royal Wedding. He attended with ex-wife Luan — sitting in Westminster Abbey near It-Girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and the Beckhams.
This time round, though, Carole is unlikely to be so forgiving of her brother. ‘She will be devastated,’ is how one royal source puts it. I know Gary drives her mad. She loves him but is fully aware of his faults and has been mortified by this turn of events.
‘She stood by him over the News of the World scandal, even though William strongly felt he had been led down the garden path because of that whole thing, because she knew he was in a bad way personally at the time.
‘But being accused of wife beating is something else. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for her.’
Their relationship has been lukewarm for some time, with Carole said, on occasions, to be ‘mortified’ by some of the outspoken and indiscreet remarks her brother has made on social media and in occasional interviews.
‘It’s quite incredible to think that, as Catherine’s uncle, a future king of England now has my family blood in his veins,’ he told reporters following Prince George’s birth.
Shortly afterwards, Goldsmith invited Hello! magazine to his Ibizan villa, giving a 16-page interview about ‘the Kate I know’ and telling, among other things, how the young couple enjoyed mud-baths on the island.
Underlining the sense of a growing rift in the family, when Pippa Middleton got married this summer, although Goldsmith was at the church, he was not among 350 guests invited to the evening reception and his wife Julie-Ann, whom he married five years ago, wasn’t invited to the church service. After watching Pippa and city trader James Matthews say their vows, Gary returned to London and made a point of tweeting a photo of himself and his wife having dinner at a celebrity-haunt restaurant.
Indeed, Goldsmith’s prolific use of social media contrasts sharply with the dignified discretion of Carole, who has made a huge success out of the family’s internet-based firm, Party Pieces.
Goldsmith once summed up their contrasting styles, saying: ‘I’m the City yuppie and she’s the country girl. While I was driving a Lotus Esprit in my Gucci shoes, she had an Alfa and wore Hunter wellies.
‘I used to call her the “original Sloane Ranger” while she called me a “tearaway” or “scamp”. I’m a Thatcher child. I’m Captain Ambitious.’
Having started life in a council house in Hounslow, West London, the children of a painter and decorator, each has achieved wealth in very different fashions.
Gary was eight when Carole left school and joined BA as a stewardess, and 15 when she married Michael Middleton, a flight dispatcher.
Speaking of their wedding at Dorney Court, a sumptuous Tudor mansion, Goldsmith said: ‘It opened my eyes. It was a real departure for our family, everything my mother could have wished for.’
For his part, Gary has always been a sharp operator. In 1983, he left school and got a job working as an IT operator. By the time he got married for the first time, in 1991, to sales executive Miranda, he was a 26-year-old recruitment manager, driving a Lotus.
The marriage broke up within two years, and shortly afterwards he joined an IT recruitment company that would make his fortune. Within six months, he was a director and owned shares.
As the company prospered, he and his second wife, Luan, bought a five-bedroom house in Maidenhead, Berks, with a swimming pool and snooker room. By the time the firm floated, in 2005, it had 2,000 employees but the marriage to Luan had broken down.
Shortly afterwards, Gary sold his shares for £17 million, bought his villa in Ibiza and began to enjoy the spoils of his new-found wealth, marrying and then divorcing third wife Julie.
The Balearic island property, set in eight acres, was fitted with gold baths (he dubbed them his ‘Gary Goldbaths’), had the initials GG on the wall in large letters, and included a mural declaring: ‘It’s Gary’s world, you just live in it.’
When William and Kate stayed there, his first words to the Prince were: ‘Oi, you f***er!’
To friends, such chutzpah added to Goldsmith’s allure. But it hardly showed suitability for the role of royal uncle.
‘People like to think that I’m this black sheep, a bad boy,’ he said to the Mail in 2013. ‘I’m not really. I’ve had my moments — I’m not totally innocent — but am I disliked by my family? No, that is simply not true. I’ve got a good heart and I care about people. We’ve never fallen out.’
But whether his relationship with big sister Carole — and his extended family in Kensington Palace — will survive this latest setback, remains to be seen.
Source: DAILYMAIL MAILONLINE
Tags: Prince William, Kate Middleton, Carole Middleton, Gary, Maidenhead, Goldsmith, Kensington Palace, Carole Middleton, Kate Uncle