Emma Weymouth has admitted that she doesn’t want her skin colour to be a ‘defining characteristic’ and is a reluctant role model after becoming Britain’s first black marchioness.
The socialite, 34, is married to Ceawlin Thynn, the newly titled 8th Marquess of Bath following the passing of his father Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, who died unexpectedly of coronavirus aged 87 on April 6.
Emma – the Marchioness of Bath and a former Strictly Come Dancing contestant – stars on the cover of Tatler’s January 2021 issue and has opened up about her family’s wildly ambitious plans for Longleat, their Wiltshire estate.
Dressed in a glamorous pink Dolce & Gabbana frock, the mother-of-two admitted she’d had thoughts on adding a fashion show at the Elizabethan manor house and safari park.
Emma also sported a green plunging Prabal Gurung gown with a dramatic £1,650 Alison Tod feather headpiece in the accompanying spread.
Emma – the Marchioness of Bath (pictured) – stars on the cover of Tatler’s January 2021 issue and has opened up about her family’s wildly ambitious plans for Longleat, their Wiltshire estate
The socialite (pictured at Longleat), 34, is married to Ceawlin Thynn, the newly titled 8th Marquess of Bath following the passing of his father Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath
While Emma, the daughter of a Nigerian oil tycoon, is deeply respectful of her new title, she is a reluctant role model, according to the society magazine.
‘Where I have been discussed in a positive light, as positive change, I’m grateful for being included in the conversation,’ she said.
‘I see my role as a practical thing: as a wife, mother and someone with a responsibility to maintain this incredible estate. I aspire to a future where [my skin colour] is not a defining characteristic.’
Emma also revealed to the publication her big plans for her home – which she shares with her husband and their two sons John, five, and Henry, three.
‘I have my list,’ she said, clapping animatedly. ‘Dolce & Gabbana launched a jungle collection recently. Could you imagine a fashion show at Longleat?’
Dressed in a glamorous pink Dolce & Gabbana frock (pictured), the mother-of-two admitted she’d had thoughts on adding a fashion show at the Elizabethan manor house and safari park
Another project keeping her upbeat is Emma’s Kitchen, a café and shop on the estate that draws on its historic recipes, which she hopes to reopen soon.
‘I want to bring everything back to Longleat: the Capability Brown-designed kitchen garden; I’d love a floristry. And pineapples. They used to grow them in huge quantities because they were such a status symbol.’
She added: ‘I want to do this majestic estate justice because I think it deserves it. It was built in 1580 and it is our job to leave it in better shape for the next generation. It deserves to be loved.’
Speaking about what she wants her legacy to be, she admitted: ‘The boys. All of what I do is for my children really. They are my everything.’
The past year hasn’t been easy for Emma’s estate, with the pandemic and the UK’s lockdown meaning Longleat was forced to close its gates to visitors.
Emma pictured with her husband Ceawlin Thynn in 2019. While Emma, the daughter of a Nigerian oil tycoon, is deeply respectful of her new title, she is a reluctant role model, according to the society magazine
Emma confessed: ‘I look at myself a year ago when I was wearing pink and sequins every week on Strictly and see such a different person. I don’t recognise myself. I miss so much of how life was. So much has gone.
‘I am happy to be here and healthy. I feel shivery just thinking about all that has happened… 2020 – it’s not been a good year for anyone.’
But Emma’s former Strictly Come Dancing partner Aljaž Škorjanec has been a ‘real rock through lockdown’, with the socialite revealing: ‘We all had Strictly Zoom quizzes to keep our spirits up.’
In August, Emma recalled the ‘sharp personal sadness’ she endured after losing her father-in-law Lord Bath to coronavirus in April.
The socialite described it as a moment ‘unlike any other’ she experienced during the difficult lockdown period.
Lord Bath, pictured with wife Anna Thynn, Marchioness of Bath, passed away aged 87 on April 6, three weeks after he was admitted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath where it was confirmed he had Covid-19
Emma shared a heartfelt on her Instagram account after losing her father-in-law, in which the socialite, 34, thanked the NHS for their help
Writing in British Vogue, Emma said the ‘humbling responsibility of being at the helm’ of the estate and navigating it through the pandemic has kept her going during the difficult time.
Speaking about their family bereavement, Emma explained: ‘It was a moment unlike any other I have experienced in the past six months – one of sharp personal sadness.
‘We tried to show solidarity in ways that we could. We lit the house in blue, and clapped for our carers on Thursday nights, even though we have no neighbours within earshot.
‘But each time we did it, it was incredibly and increasingly moving because of the way the NHS had taken care of my husband’s late father.’
Lord Bath was known for his flamboyant dress sense and affairs with as many as 70 women, which he referred to as his ‘wifelets’.
Last month Ceawlin, pictured with Emma at Longleat, spoke of his ‘shock’ over his father’s death, admitting they were expecting him to come home after he appeared to be recovering from the virus
He and his wife Anna Thynn, Marchioness of Bath, who lives in France but still visits Longleat where she stays in a flat upstairs, boycotted Emma and Ceawlin’s wedding in 2013 because his son removed several of his lurid self-painted murals from the walls of Longleat House.
In 2015, Ceawlin claimed his mother said to him: ‘Are you sure about what you’re doing to 400 years of bloodline?’ in reference to the colour of Emma’s skin.
Anna has denied making the comment and has said she has ‘absolutely nothing against her daughter-in-law’ but has never met her grandchildren – something Emma has previously acknowledged is an ongoing sadness for her and her husband.
Last month Ceawlin spoke of his ‘shock’ over his father’s death, admitting they were expecting him to come home after he appeared to be recovering from the virus.
The pair were patching up their relationship when Alexander began to suffer with symptoms, and Ceawlin was speaking to his doctors on a daily basis, having not been given the option to speak directly to his father.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he admitted: ‘It would be disingenuous of me not to say we had a complicated relationship so there were conflicting and confusing emotions made all the stranger by the environment we were in.’
Ceawlin went on: ‘Because he was on the Covid ward there were no visitors allowed. The day before we got the call [saying he’d died] we were told he was perking up so I think we did expect he would return from hospital. I’m still processing not having had the opportunity to be there [when he died].
‘I think there are things one would have said. But that opportunity wasn’t there.’ He confessed he has shed tears since his father’s death.
See the full feature in the January 2021 issue of Tatler available via digital download and newsstands on Thursday 3rd December.