- Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild will marry in unlikely dynastic alliance
- Both come from scandal-soaked families with stupendous fortunes
- The ceremony will be held in Diana’s former home Kensington Palace
Alison Boshoff for the Daily Mail
17:17 EST, 9 July 2015
19:15 EST, 9 July 2015
Today in the exquisite surroundings of the Orangery in Kensington Palace, famous, infamous and merely monied guests will come together to celebrate the wedding of blonde socialite Nicky Hilton, youngest heiress of the great American tribe of hoteliers, and James Rothschild, scion of Europe’s greatest banking family.
It is a somewhat unlikely dynastic alliance — a collision of two scandal-soaked families who have, until now, had little in common beyond a stupendous fortune on each side.
The bride, who is 31, will be wearing a couture Valentino gown worth at least £50,000 and a smile which says that, for once, she has trumped her attention-seeking big sister Paris. Nicky will also be wearing her enormous eight-carat diamond engagement ring. It is estimated to be worth a cool £1 million.
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Their early courtship was complicated, as Nicky lived in Los Angeles while James was based in London
The nuptial celebrations, with a dress code that follows the American style of black tie rather than morning suits, have been overseen by Nicky’s mother Kathy, reputedly the most pushy of matriarchs. If the engagement party she threw is any guide — it was attended by the Princess Aga Khan — the wedding party will be anything but low-key.
We can expect at least one Ecclestone daughter, a clutch of Guinnesses — the groom’s mother is a Guinness by birth — and, awkwardly, a handful of Goldsmiths, caught up in the fall-out from the messy end of the groom’s sister Kate Rothschild’s marriage to Ben Goldsmith.
Just don’t mention the bride’s first lurch up the aisle, which was one of those late-night-in-Vegas mistakes, and ended in an annulment. ALISON BOSHOFF goes behind the scenes…
RIVALS IN WEALTH
Fashion faux pas: Nicky in that revealing dress at a Paris show this week
The Hilton hotel dynasty was founded by Nicky’s great-grandfather Conrad Hilton, who married the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Nicky’s uncle, Conrad Nicholson Hilton, was disastrously and briefly married to another actress, Elizabeth Taylor, and when drunk punched her in the stomach, causing her to miscarry. Her grandfather Barron Hilton has said he intends to leave most of his £1.5 billion fortune to charity. Nicky’s dad, Rick, is a property tycoon.
The house of Rothschild was founded by Mayer Amschel in a Jewish ghetto in Frankfurt 250 years ago.
Amschel began as a coin dealer and rose to become the court banker, building his fortune during the instability of the French Revolution. His five sons joined the business.
From the second half of the 19th century, competition eroded their power, although they remained one of Britain’s wealthiest families.
James’s father Amschel was the youngest child of Victor Rothschild. Born into prodigious wealth, he seemed set for a life of effortless ease and success, but committed suicide when James was still a teenager.
Amschel had joined the family firm, N M Rothschild & Sons, and was being groomed to take over the family bank from his cousin Sir Evelyn de Rothschild — even though he was more interested in farming and car racing.
His suicide in 1996 came six weeks after the death of his mother, Teresa, Lady Rothschild. At the inquest, his family said he had suffered from depressive tendencies, possibly exacerbated by the recent loss of his mother. He was found by a chambermaid, hanged in the chandeliered luxury of room 402 at the Hotel Bristol in Paris.
Slender, pretty and relatively shy, Nicky Hilton was propelled into the celebrity sphere as the more charming, but less fascinating, adjunct to her sister Paris.
Born in New York in 1983, she is the second of four children of Rick Hilton and his wife Kathy, and was raised between mansions in Beverly Hills and The Hamptons and a suite at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. She attended the exclusive Dwight School, New York, from which she graduated wearing a dress made for her by family friend Vera Wang.
In her mid-teens, she and Paris were launched on the New York social scene by their mother, who went with them to benefits and balls. She would also fly them to Europe to attend the couture fashion shows.
The sisters were soon part of a wild crowd, with friends including actresses Lindsay Lohan and Tara Reid, and Rod Stewart’s daughter Kimberly.
Two years later, in 2003, a sex tape featuring Paris and former boyfriend Rick Salomon began to circulate. Unabashed, Paris, Nicky and Kathy continued to work the party circuit.
The hoo-ha about the tape boosted Paris’s media profile ahead of her debut on U.S. reality TV show The Simple Life, which documented the antics of Paris and her friend Nicole Ritchie. Paris went on to release a book, Confessions Of An Heiress, appeared in films and TV shows and released perfumes and records. Now, despite having no discernible talent, she is a globally successful DJ.
Nicky, meanwhile, turned down the chance to follow in her sister’s footsteps on The Simple Life. She said: ‘For anyone at that age, being told we’re going to pay you a ton of money to be famous and be on a TV show would be a no-brainer, but I had to say no. That’s not me.’
Instead, Nicky pursued a career in fashion, designing lines and collaborating with other brands. She published a book, 365 Style, in September 2014, and launched a jewellery collection with Denovo Diamonds, a bag collection for Linea Pelle and, last month, a make-up range.
Nicky and Paris were launched on the New York social scene by their mother. The sisters were soon part of a wild crowd, with friends including actresses Lindsay Lohan and Tara Reid, and Rod Stewart’s daughter Kimberly
Look ethereal in Nicky’s white lacy Valentino dress
Nicky and Paris Hilton strolling around London is a sight to behold. Not for them the standard jeans and a T-shirt look, oh no! The heiresses really amped up the style factor with these gorgeous ensembles.
While we’re big fans of Paris’ floral number, if we had to choose, we’ d pick Nicky’s dress every time.
The romance of this dress struck us first – trimmed with delicate lace and with a breezy linen feel this creation could only ever be by Valentino. Hailing from the SS15 collection, this thigh-skimming beauty will be the perfect staple for those warm days in the sun. We’re getting all nostalgic as we picture it with gladiator sandals and a floppy hat…
Being Valentino it does come with a slightly (!) hefty price tag, but if you’re willing to invest, this is the piece to do it with! Click (right) to get it over at STYLEBOP.com, or head to our edit below for more affordable alternatives from the likes of Free People, AQAQ and more.
* PRICES MAY NOT BE AS ADVERTISED
Famous, infamous and merely monied guests begin arriving at the pre-wedding party of Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild in London today
Her love life to date includes a liaison with male model Marcus Shenkenberg and a long romance with David Katzenberg, the son of the Dreamworks film executive Jeffrey. She is said to be worth £12 million. Her mum describes her as: ‘an adorable little bunny rabbit.’
Now 31, James has been a banker for some years.
He recently put the family house in Suffolk on the market for £24 million, signalling a permanent move to New York to be with his new bride. Friends say he is fun-loving but shy of the spotlight. Before meeting Nicky he had a long relationship with socialite Astrid Harbord, who is in Prince Harry’s inner circle and a confidante of the Duchess of Cambridge.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
HEN AGAIN! NICKY HAD DOUBLE THE FUN WITH TWO PARTIES
If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing twice. Nicky had a do for family and friends at the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles in May.
It was a fairytale themes lunch, attended by her mother’s friends Brenda Richie, Lionel’s ex-wife, and Nancy Reagan, former US President Ronald’s widow. No sign of Paris – she was DJing in Ibiza.
Nicky’s second hen-do where she is pictured wearing the bride-to-be tiara while her friends and sister are dressed in sashes
Nicky then had a proper hen-do in Miami complete with bride-to-be tiara.
Her friends wore tops, emblazoned with ‘Hilton Bridesmaids’ and sashes. Festivities were later enlivened by naught card games.
Nicky met James at the 2011 Rome wedding of Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone to businessman James Stunt. Nicky said it was love at first sight and that the setting — in 15th-century Odescalchi Castle, by an Italian lake — could not have been more romantic. ‘It goes back to tradition,’ she has said. ‘That’s where you met your husband, at a wedding.’
Their early courtship was complicated, as Nicky lived in Los Angeles while James was based in London. At first they considered living in the UK, but decided to settle in New York. They have an apartment in Manhattan and spend weekends at the Hilton home in The Hamptons, staying aloof from the Big Apple social scene.
Nicky said in an interview this year: ‘We’re very similar. Very shy, very quiet. We’re homebodies. Just to cook, relax, watch movies, read books, it’s what we like to do.’
Fashion designer Stacey Bendet, of the label Alice + Olivia (favoured by Michelle Obama and her daughters) said: ‘When I first met James at an event Nicky was doing, I remember seeing him look at her and thinking, “Now, that is a good guy who loves her.” I think they’ll be really happy.’
Besotted: James Rothschild and Nicky Hitlon in a romantic snap posted this week by her brother
James asked her father, Rick, for permission to marry his daughter during a lunch after a round of golf. He proposed soon afterwards, during a holiday last summer in Italy. A source said: ‘He took her out on a boat on Lake Como and got down on one knee and everything. It was incredibly romantic.’
RICH AND ROYAL
The ring is a massive Asscher cut diamond. Nicky said: ‘He didn’t ask anyone for help with the ring. He has very good taste.’
It would, of course, be churlish to point out that even this rock pales into insignificance compared with the £3 million engagement ring given to Paris by her one-time fiance Paris Latsis, a shipping heir. The ring was so big that Paris complained it hurt her hand, and after they split she auctioned it off in aid of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Social dynamo Kathy hosted an engagement party at the family home. Among the guests were novelist Jay McInery, heiress Anne Hearst and the Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, daugher of actress Rita Hayworth and Prince Aly Khan. The billionaire businessman David Koch and Forbes magazine style writer Bettina Zilkha were also there.
DIANA’S BACK YARD
The Orangery was built in 1704 so Queen Anne’s citrus trees could be protected from frost. It is a beautiful space with soaring ceilings in the grounds of Kensington Palace, where Diana, Princess of Wales, once lived. Only 300 can be accommodated for a sit-down lunch. The room is to be filled with cream roses, at the bride’s request.
James’s sister Kate Rothschild will be there. She was married to Ben Goldsmith, son of the late billionaire Sir James, but that marriage collapsed after nine years in 2012.
Also present — perhaps awkwardly — will be Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith, Ben’s brother, who is married to James’s other sister Alice.
Bridesmaid Paris, 34, will be joined by her boyfriend, Swiss businessman Thomas Gross. They have been dating since this spring and there is talk that Paris is about to announce that she, too, is to wed. Gross, said to be worth £120 million, joined her for dinner in LA last week, when he met her family.
Who else? Ben Elliott and Tom Parker Bowles are apparently friends of the groom, and you can count on Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One boss Bernie, not to miss the party.
Today in the exquisite surroundings of the Orangery in Kensington Palace, famous, infamous and merely monied guests will come together to celebrate the wedding
DRESS… AND DIET
Even though she stepped out this week in a bottom-revealing dress, Nicky insists her wedding outfit will be traditional. ‘So many brides want avant garde, over-the-top fashion,’ she said. ‘I like sticking to what works.’
Nicky has chosen a Valentino dress. She said: ‘I’ve wanted this designer to do my wedding dress since I was a girl.’ The finished article is said to be a work of art, involving yards of dreamy lace.
She has been dieting in advance of the big reveal. She said: ‘I’m so tired of chicken! Anything that tastes remotely good is unhealthy, I’ve found.’
In Jerry Oppenheimer’s warts-and-all book, The House Of Hilton, Kathy is portrayed as a woman feared and loathed by the family staff.
The daughter of a chain-store magnate, she met husband Rick Hilton when they were both teenagers.
Peggy Cusack Yakovlev, a former assistant to Rick’s uncle Eric, said: ‘Kathy was pushy, arrogant, presumptuous. The spotlight always had to be on her.’
In Jerry Oppenheimer’s warts-and-all book, The House Of Hilton, Kathy is portrayed as a woman feared and loathed by the family staff (left). James’s mother, born Anita Guinness, married Amschel Rothschild in 1981. She was only 38 when her husband killed himself. She and her three children inherited his £18.5 million estate
Kathy’s social ambitions are legendary. She told an interviewer: ‘I like the Kennedys. They are very down to earth. I have met the Royal Family in London, too, and I thought they were lovely.’
James’s mother, born Anita Guinness, married Amschel Rothschild in 1981. She was only 38 when her husband killed himself. She and her three children inherited his £18.5 million estate.
She later remarried, to bloodstock agent James Wigan. Her sister Sabrina, once linked to the Prince of Wales, is now married to playwright Sir Tom Stoppard.
DON’T MENTION . . .
Nicky’s first wedding, to banker Todd Meister in August 2004. The only guests were Paris and actress Bijou Phillips. Within eight weeks they had split up and the marriage was later annulled.