Thursday 8 December 2016

Royal couple reconcile after planning son's wedding having spent five years living in separate castle wings

Published 22/08/2016 | 07:33

At their own wedding, which took place in Arundel Cathedral in June 1987, the couple had 800 guests, including the Princess of Wales, Lady Diana. 
At their own wedding, which took place in Arundel Cathedral in June 1987, the couple had 800 guests, including the Princess of Wales, Lady Diana. 

It may not be a solution open to every warring couple, but the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk have saved their marriage by spending five years living in separate wings of their 11th century castle.

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Edward and Georgina Fitzalan-Howard announced in 2011 that they had decided on a “trial separation” having grown apart after 24 years of marriage.

But while that would normally mean one party moving out of the marital home, the couple’s huge family seat of Arundel Castle in West Sussex enabled them to live separately under the same roof by having one wing each, with neutral territory in between.

They appear to have discovered that absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they have reportedly rediscovered their love for each other while planning the wedding of their eldest son Henry, which took place last month.

By April they had started attending events together again, including a book launch in London’s Regent Street, and they are now said to living together once again.

Their relationship became so bitter that they were said to have turned down an invitation to the Royal wedding in 2011 in order to avoid being in the same room together.

The Duke released a statement at the time saying: “Edward and Georgina Norfolk have decided to have a trial separation. They wish to make it clear there is nobody else involved.”

At their own wedding, which took place in Arundel Cathedral in June 1987, the couple had 800 guests, including the Princess of Wales, Lady Diana. 

Following the ceremony, the Oxford-educated Duke said: “I believe in marriage. When you stand up in front of 800 people and take vows, they’re not lightly broken.”

The Queen is said to be thrilled that the couple have reunited.

A source close to the couple told the Mail on Sunday: “It was totally unexpected.  No one could have predicted they would get back together, least of all the Queen, who is absolutely thrilled.”

The Duchess is involved in numerous charitable efforts, including as Patron of Depaul International, a Catholic charity supporting the homeless and vulnerable. 

Her husband, a descendant of King Edward I, is the most senior lay member of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain, a crossbench peer in the House of Lords and the president of the Arundel and Littlehampton District Scouts Group.

The couple have five children together - Henry, Rachel, Thomas, Isabel and Philip.

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