A member of one of Britain’s most elite aristocratic families is due to appear in court tomorrow accused of repeatedly beating up his wife.
Lord Edward Alexander Somerset, son of the Duke of Beaufort, faces five counts of assault dating back more than 25 years.
It is reported that in one recent alleged attack his wife Caroline, 54, had to be hospitalised which then led to police becoming involved.
The first assault is alleged to have happened at a London address over 25 years ago.
The other attacks – the most recent last October – are alleged to have taken place at the couple’s home on the 52,000-acre Badminton estate in Gloucestershire.
Court documents reveal that Lord Somerset, who has two grown-up daughters with his wife, is accused of causing her actual bodily harm on six occassions.
The peer, a nephew of the eccentric Lord Bath, is set to appear at a preliminary hearing at Bristol Crown Court.
His family’s 17th century estate is home to the world-famous Badminton Horse Trials and this year’s event starts the same day that he is due in court.
Millfield-educated Lord Somerset, who has been married for 30 years, attended North Avon magistrates’ court earlier in April in connection with the charges.
If the case goes to trial it is understood the prosecution will call several witnesses from the aristocracy as well as staff from Badminton.
Lord Somerset and his wife live in Grade II-listed Essex House, dating from the early 18th Century, which stands at the village entrance to the Badminton estate.
He is the third of four children of the 11th Duke of Beaufort, 85 year-old David Somerset, who is estimated to be worth #135million.
His eldest brother Henry John Fitzroy, Marquess of Worcester, 60, is heir to the estate and title.
His father remarried in 2000 after the death of his first wife and has been described by Tatler as one of ‘the people who really matter’.
They said the duke was an ‘incredibly dashing’ man who ‘utterly worships his children’.
The duke is listed 590th in the latest Sunday Times Rich List, which notes he stands to make #180,000 a year from a planned wind farm near Swansea.