If we didn’t know they were from Warwickshire, we might think the troubled Seymour family were a theatrical collaboration by two Williams—Shakespeare and Tennessee. The cold father, the controlling mother, the hapless son, the blameless bride, and the wicked aunt all hit their marks in a drama over a fabulous inheritance and an ancient title.
The inheritance is Ragley Hall, a 5,000-acre estate anchored by a Palladian manor with more than 100 rooms. It is valued at $106 million. The title is Marquess of Hertford, its present iteration created in 1793 but with medieval roots. Ragley Hall is home to the ninth marquess, Henry Seymour, and his Brazilian marchioness, Beatriz. Their eldest son, William, currently styled the Earl of Yarmouth, claims to have been promised since childhood that the title and the estate would be handed off to him on his 30th birthday. The evidence backs him up. In 1998, when William was just five, his father told the Birmingham Post about the 30-year plan. At 25, it seemed Lord William’s wait would be brief, his future secure.