Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Meet Britain's first black lady of the manor

2013-04-03 15:21:50

Emma McQuiston

Landed gentry living up and down Britain in their spacious country estates will soon welcome a new member into their fold - the nation's first black marchioness.

The title, given to the wife of a marquess, will belong to Emma McQuiston, a 26-year-old with a passion for cookery.

Daughter of a Nigerian businessman operating in the oil industry, McQuiston "grew up between London and Wiltshire", according to her own website, which contains her personal recipes, beauty and fitness tips.

Hoping to emulate the footsteps of the likes of Delia Smith and Ainsley Harriott, she wants to become a television chef, a career move that may materialise after she has wed her 38-year-old man of hereditary privilege, Ceawlin Thynn, who is also known as Viscount Weymouth.

The couple have been in an 18-month relationship and will marry in June at Thynn's Longleat estate. McQuiston will firstly gain the title of viscountess, and, if their marriage lasts, she will become marchioness once Thynn inherits the marquess title from his eccentric father, Alexander Thynn, the seventh Marquess of Bath.

Although it may appear the aspiring chef has enjoyed a smooth climb up the social ladder, she said her rise has been made problematic because of her skin colour, snobbery and inherent racism.

"There has been some snobbishness, particularly among the much older generation," McQuiston told Tatler, a glossy magazine for those who prefer to gawp at a classier type of person than those found in the pages of something like Heat magazine.

"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. I have never had anything horrible said or happen, but it is something you sense.

"You can just tell with some people", she added.

Talking about how her fiance proposed, McQuiston said: "We'd been to a party at [nightclub] Annabel's and in the middle of the night he woke me up to ask me and I made him do it again and again until it sunk in."

The soon-to-be-married pair have known each other for more than two decades; she first met Thynn when she was four-years-old because her Oxford educated father, Ladi Jadesimi, took her for family Christmas and Easter visits to the Longleat home of the Thynns.

On the topic of her imminent father-in-law - the 80-year-old marquess is known for his appetite for women having had around 75 mistresses he calls "wifelets" - she said: "He wanted a happy, harmonious life with lots of women and lots of babies.

"That's what he set out for in the Sixties and that's what he's stuck to."

It remains to be seen if the lady destined to be Britain's first black marchioness would tolerate sharing her husband with as many other women.

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