ARGUABLY the most famous royal rift of recent times is between the Sussexes and the Firm, but there’s been another bitter dispute further down the blue bloodline.
William Seymour, the Earl of Yarmouth and 10th Marquess of Hertford, 29, was kicked out of the £85m Ragley Hall Estate – which he’s due to inherit – with his Countess wife Kelsey in 2019, while she was pregnant with their first child.
It followed a bitter letter written by a scathing aunt, who blasted their wedding invitations and heaped criticism on Kelsey for making so-called social 'faux pas'.
The spat escalated and the couple, who count Henry VIII's wife Jane Seymour among their ancestors, have been living in a small cottage on the estate’s fringes ever since.
William jokes you could fit the entire square footage of their quaint home "into the Great Hall at Ragley” – the magnificent mansion in 5,000 acres of Warwickshire land, where he grew up.
In an exclusive chat with The Sun, William reveals he's tried to heal the rift, which began when he and former Goldman Sachs banker Kelsey, 37, got engaged.
After inviting his aunt Lady Carolyn Seymour to their wedding, she wrote a public letter berating her nephew for the way he penned his invitation.
According to Lady Carolyn, Kelsey also broke social etiquette rules, including calling the butler by his first name and using her mother-in-law Lady Hertford's bathroom without permission.
Lady Carolyn called it "so embarrassingly awful… it’s almost laughable, if it weren’t so tragic".
She wrote in the letter: “Since when do you start with the groom’s coronet on top of the page? Moreover, you haven’t even used the Ragley blue nor the correct font… And since when does your name come before the bride?"
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Her concerns included the fact there was a dress code on the invite, continuing: "Good God, what are you? Little Lord Fauntleroy?"
She signed off: "I am The Lady Carolyn Seymour. You pompous ass/tt/p*** – take your pick… Your ever-so-loving aunt."
At the time William told Tatler the contempt apparent from Lady Seymour’s letter was echoed by his immediate family.
He claimed his parents, the Marquess and Marchioness, threw a series of obstacles in his way when he first started dating Kelsey, while his three siblings barely spoke to him for months and rumours of disinheritance swirled.
A year after they married, the couple were booted out of Ragley Hall while Kelsey was pregnant with their first child — a son, Clement Andrew Seymour, the Viscount Beauchamp, now three.
William admitted he “regrets” the bitter feud because of how it impacted his relationship with his siblings.
While their wedding at Ragley Hall was bittersweet given the family fall-out, it was also where William and Kelsey came up with the idea for their family business – elderflower liqueur brand St Maur.
They wanted something “really special and unique” to serve as a drink to guests at their wedding.
William tells us: “My wife and I were walking through ancient woodlands that have been in our family for the last 600 years, when we were talking about what to serve – and it clicked.”
They created the drink – based on an old family recipe – using hand-picked elderflowers from their land, and it was so loved by guests they asked where they could get it.
They saw an opportunity and called the drink after the surname used by William’s family in medieval times, when their ancestors rode with William the Conqueror.
"We spent the next two years refining the product – all from our kitchen,” William recalls. “We made the website, we got the branding, we did the bottles, we got the licensing and we experimented.
“Love and romance has become our secret ingredient."
He adds: "[Rival brand] St Germain spent £40million creating a story. I don't have that money – I would like it – but we have our real story anyway."
Unfortunately the couple launched their business in March 2020 – as the pandemic hit.
But as they began to enter blind tasting competitions at local farms they won three awards, including The World Liqueur Awards' Best English Floral.
William says he is determined to make a go of the business to teach his sons "a good work ethic" and leave them a legacy that isn't just reliant on his family's ancestry.
By the time Kelsey gave birth to their second child, in 2021, the cracks between them and William's family were starting to mend.
In an apparent olive branch, their son Jocelyn, now one, was named after William's father, who bears the same middle name.
A friend of the family told the Mail: “Both sides want to move on. This touching tribute is an olive branch and the first step in bringing the family back together.
“There have been years of bad blood, so it won't be smooth, but there is hope at long last.”
William says he has a lot to thank Kelsey's parents for, who has been an "amazing support" and "there for him at every turn, in business and in his personal life".
He adds: “I owe them the world, but really they're the ones who push me."
And William insists he’s not looking forward to the day he inherits his father’s wealth.
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“When he dies, I will become the 10th Marquess of Hertford, which I'm not looking forward to and I hope doesn't happen for a very, very long time,” he says.
“I'm also due to inherit Ragley Hall one day – again, hopefully not for a very long time."
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