Staffordshire model becomes Britain's richest divorcee after '£350 million settlement'

A former Staffordshire model has become Britain’s richest divorcee after splitting from her billionaire husband.

Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli
Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli

Kirsty Bertarelli, a former Miss UK, who had been married to Italian-born bio-tech tycoon Ernesto, 56, for 21 years, is reported to have accepted a settlement of £350 million and a house on Lake Geneva in Switzerland worth £52 million.

The couple, who have three children together and were believed to have a pre-nuptial agreement, were placed 14th in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List with a £9.2 billion fortune.

The settlement means Mrs Bertarelli’s wealth eclipses HM The Queen whose personal fortune is estimated at £350m.

Kirsty Bertarelli, nee Roper, grew up in Stone and her family owned Churchill China, one of the world’s major manufacturers of ceramic products.

The 50-year-old won the title of Miss UK in 1988 and competed in the 1988 Miss World pageant where she came second runner-up.

After becoming a professional songwriter she was signed to Warner Records and later co-wrote the All Saints single Black Coffee, a Number 1 international hit in 2000.

A sailing enthusiast and twice winner of the America’s Cup, Mr Bertarelli is said to have bought his wife a £100m super yacht for her 40th birthday.

Mrs Bertarelli and her husband are understood to have separated earlier this year and agreed the divorce settlement in the summer.

She was represented by Baroness Fiona Shackleton who acted on behalf of Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney.

A spokesman for the couple said: “It is with sadness that Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli confirm they have divorced.”

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