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

Share

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

Recruitment Genius: Software Tester

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Tester is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Developer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have a vacancy within our ra...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpdesk - West London - £25,000

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpde...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

A smear test could, quite literally, save your life. It saved mine

Emma Duke
Children who fled the violence in the Syrian city of Aleppo play at a refugee camp in Jabaa, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley  

A population bigger than London's has been displaced in Syria, so why has the Government only accepted 90 refugees?

David Hanson
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project