Princess Marie-Therese von Hohenberg wants ex-Labour fundraiser jailed over £2m divorce settlement

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Princess Marie-Therese von Hohenberg claims that Anthony Bailey is enjoying the “life of Riley” at his mansion in Sintra, Portugal

By David Brown

LONDON, England, (The Times) – An Austrian princess is seeking to have a British diplomatic adviser jailed for allegedly failing to pay her a £2 million divorce settlement.

Her Serene Highness Princess Marie-Therese von Hohenberg claims that Anthony Bailey, a former fundraiser for Tony Blair and PR consultant, is enjoying the “life of Riley” at his Portuguese mansion despite being barred from travelling abroad.

The allegations are deeply embarrassing for Bailey, 51, who once had two knighthoods and counts Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Commonwealth secretary-general, among his international backers. He denies any wrongdoing.

This week Bailey remained behind the locked gates and security cameras that guard the mansion — complete with a large outdoor swimming pool — in the heart of the historic town of Sintra on the outskirts of Lisbon.

The couple married in 2007 in a £1 million ceremony described by the celebrity magazine Hello as “one of the most glittering society weddings of the year”. Six hundred guests attended the event at St Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg followed by a reception at the city’s Festival Hall.

The bride, then 35, is a great-granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination led to the First World War. The groom, two years her senior, from Ruislip, northwest London, is the son of a retired engineer and a foster carer.

The wedding was followed by a civil ceremony at the National Palace of Pena in Sintra before the couple settled in Twickenham, southwest London. They became local celebrities while Bailey toured the world as an ambassador and adviser to Middle Eastern and eastern European royalty, companies and governments.

Bailey’s influence was enhanced by his revival of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, which brought together influential members of the Catholic clergy, vestiges of obscure European monarchies, and politicians.

Baroness Scotland was a member of the order and attended a ceremony in 2014 at which the government of Antigua and Barbuda presented Bailey with a knighthood in recognition of its charitable work.

Jorge Sampaio, who was then Portuguese president, appointed Bailey as Commander with Star of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique in 2005 for furthering the country’s relations with Saudi Arabia.

The Antiguan knighthood was rescinded in 2017 after the islands’ governor-general, Sir Rodney Williams, reported that there had been “irregularities”. Grenada had already evoked another knighthood.

Bailey said at the time he had been assured by the governor-general that the decision “was due to an administrative and legal error on the part of the Antiguan government”.

The collapse of Bailey’s marriage has mirrored the downfall of his career as an envoy and consultant.

He has resigned from the Order of St George saying he is “suffering with significant health concerns and the continued impact of five years of personal familial tragedies”. His eponymous international consulting company has been dissolved after its final set of accounts showed debts of £220,000.

Mr Justice Holman, sitting in the family division of the High Court in London this week, said he was “very sympathetic” to the situation Princess Marie-Therese found herself in, having spent £800,000 on legal fees. The judge has been asked to jail Bailey for contempt of court and a further hearing will take place next month.

Princess Marie-Therese’s lawyer, Julian Ribet, said after the hearing: “Having been involved in litigation with Mr Bailey for over five years and given the approach that he has chosen to adopt [Mrs Bailey] has no option but to ask the court to intervene to compel Mr Bailey to do that which he has already been ordered to do by the court. She has not taken this step lightly.”

Bailey has declined to comment. The High Court was told he disputes the allegations against him.

This article written by David Brown originally appeared in The Times on Friday, October 01, 2021.

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