Shyama Perera: Of course the poor woman couldn't survive on £20 million

A second home in London is a must-have. Next, is a new body


Insurance magnate John Charman's claim that his wife should have accepted a paltry £20m divorce settlement is enough to bring any right-thinking woman out in hives.

He pronounces that the sum "should be impossible for any reasonable person to spend in their lifetime". So, what does it matter that she has actually been awarded £48m? He still has £80m, or four lifetimes, to himself.

But the feminist take on division of spoils is not the issue here. What is interesting is the cost of living for the über-rich.

Mrs Charman is a woman scorned. She has been ignominiously dumped at the moment when the menopause is playing mean tricks with midriff bulge, low sex drive and hot flushes.

Reinvention is necessary, not just to rebuild her self-esteem, but to help her embrace life positively. Trapped, as she is, in the stockbroker belt - Sevenoaks, a hamlet filled with comfortable, self-serving, very English, very married, well-to-do middle-classes - escape is inevitable.

A second home in London is a must-have. How much will that set her back? Well, Mick Jagger, a man not celebrated for largesse, recently forked out £6m on a Chelsea house. Big bucks, then.

With the move comes the make-over. Restoring Mrs Charman's body to its former glory at a time when all points will be moving determinedly south, will be difficult and costly.

Private health clubs in the area will charge up to £5,000 a year, and she will need a personal trainer three times a week. Vanessa Feltz fell for hers, and that may have eased the bills, but it is the default scenario.

Then there is the tan. Mrs C will surely achieve hers by booking suites in the sun at £4,000 a night, and enjoying the white sands of Barbados and Phuket.

She will trade the black work suits and the floaty skirts and pretty cardigans of the countrified rich, for designer frocks that nip and tuck and, hopefully, make her ex-husband review his departure with some regret.

Does she need couture? Of course not. But why should any woman who can afford £2,000 dresses and £800 shoes compromise? The whole point of having money, is that you do not have to? And there is the rub.

By 2007, then, Mrs C will be svelte and glamorous and living a double life - part city socialite, part country mother. Her hair, at present in need of colour, style and condition control, will be in the sort of hands for which our Prime Minister's wife happily pays £250 a day when the schedule is tight.

Ready to take on the world, the next wise investment is a youthful trophy lover. He may not have her ex-husband's skills at risk-management, but he'll be well-endowed elsewhere.

Simple candlelit dinners for two, costing up to £500 a time at Gordon Ramsay or Sketch, will be the prelude to energetic nights of bliss that she has long forgotten are possible.

It is small bananas for the pay-off, as a number of old men with young models on their arms, will testify. Let us wait and see what Mr Charman turns up with, before judging his wife, should she take this route.

Now for the final touch. The latest demographic is that women over 50 are increasingly investing in convertible sports cars. Mrs C can afford the sublime: an Aston Martin DB9 for £120,000. For more serious stuff, such as attending her duties as a magistrate, she'd be wise to find something a bit less flashy: a Bentley Azure, perhaps, at £260,000.

So here we are, less than a year into the divorce a good £8m has already been accounted for. That is not including day-to-day expenses. As Mrs Charman's lifestyle changes, she will need more not less. £20m? It's a joke.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

Read Next

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage

If I were Prime Minister: I would create a government that actually reflects its people

Kaliya Franklin
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower