The Viscountess is married to Ceawlin Thynn, Viscount Weymouth, the heir to the Longleat estate.
Emma McQuiston is the mixed-race daughter of a Nigerian oil tycoon that married into the aristocracy’s most eccentric family.
Emma, a former actress, told Tatler magazine: “There has been some snobbishness,particularly among the older generation. There’s class and then there’s the racial thing.
“It’s a jungle and I’m going through it and discovering things as I grow up. I’m not super-easily offended but it’s a problem when someone’s making you feel different or separate because of your race, or forming an opinion about you before they even know you.”
All Change at Longleat
Lord Bath has handed control of the £190 million estate to his son, Ceawlin, but the handover isn’t going smoothly. Ceawlin upset his father when he moved back in, and the pair are no longer on speaking terms. In the village on the estate, there’s further unrest after Ceawlin puts up the villagers’ rents.
Meanwhile, Ceawlin’s wife Emma is settling into life as Lady Weymouth. She now has her own servants and the run of the 130-room historic house – but she must get used to sharing her home with a daily stream of visitors.
Ceawlin Thynn began his business career as an emerging markets specialist at the London investment bank Caspian Securities, before becoming a partner in Sabre Projects – a real estate development firm.
At Sabre he put together a project with Group Menatep, the holding company of Russia’s then-largest oil company, Yukos, to develop an internationally branded mid-market hotel in every major city in Russia.
In 2008, he formed The Lion Trust, a private equity vehicle of which he is the principal. The Lion Trust invests in a range of mature and emerging markets.
Since June 2010, Ceawlin Thynn has been a director at Finmetron AB, a Swedish listed firm offering factoring services in Russia.
In 2010, Ceawlin Thynn became Executive Chairman of Wombat’s Holdings GmbH – a chain of hostels in Germany and Austria – having acquired a majority stake in the company. Wombat’s hostels were voted the best in the world by customers of Hostelworld in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. In 2010, the Wombat’s City Hostel in Vienna won a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of ‘twelve years of unparalleled service’. The existing offering includes three units in Vienna comprising a total of nearly 1,000 beds, one unit in Berlin with 350 beds, one unit in Munich with 300 beds and one unit in Budapest with over 400 beds. The company is now preparing to expand into other major European cities, including London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague and Rome.
Oil painting of her image below
Emma’s racial heritage offers no help to critics of hereditary principles. Such aristocratic excursions are hardly unique. How could we expect them to be, given our colonial history? “A lot of aristocratic families have stories of African or Indian ancestors in the family,” says Eade.
The author William Dalrymple, for example, is the fourth son of Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, 10th Baronet, whose family are kinsmen of the Earls of Stair and Scottish aristocrats. While researching his book, White Mughals, Dalrymple discovered that his ancestors had taken Indian brides during the Raj.
After he found “the story of a Muslim princess with the somewhat unexpected name of Mooti Begum Dalrymple”, he unearthed a direct Indian ancestor. And of our blue-bloods, he is certainly not alone. The wills of East India Company officials show that in the 1780s, one third were leaving their goods to Indian wives and their Anglo-Indian children.
The truth is that this country has been multicultural not for decades, but for centuries. What is most remarkable about the fuss caused by the marriage of Emma McQuiston is that it should cause a fuss at all.
The Viscountess – who is married to Ceawlin Thynn, Viscount Weymouth, the heir to the Longleat estate – gave birth to The Hon. John Thynn in October 2014.
Emma Weymouth baby picture with her mother below