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November 16, 2010

Before the Royal Wedding, the Royal Pre-Nup

By Spear's

As soon as the wedding was announced, London’s family lawyers started drawing up their fantasy pre-nups

by Josh Spero

Romance clearly isn’t dead, otherwise the entire country wouldn’t be swooning at the news of Wills and Kate’s engagement (aw, he gave her Diana’s ring), but we live in a more realistic world, and as soon as the wedding was announced, London’s family lawyers started drawing up their fantasy pre-nups.

Spear’s spoke to James Stewart, one of Manches’ leading lights, who said that – given the Royal Family’s, um, chequered history with marriage – the couple would be well-advised to talk to their lawyers:

‘Well-drafted privacy and confidentiality clauses are key. The last thing the family would actually want is another Martin Bashir interview. Given the divorce history in the royal family they will want to ensure that a pre-nup provides for certainty but also that the pre-nup provides for privacy and breach of confidence. They would want to avoid the fiascos which have occurred in the past with regard to royal divorces.

‘A pre-nup could regulate an agreed approach to the press,’ continues Stewart. ‘I would have thought that any pre-nup should anticipate the mistakes of the past in terms of speaking to the press, in terms of giving interviews and perhaps contain some sort of financial penalty if there is a breach of privacy. You’d often get this sort of provision in a pre-nup involving any public figures.

‘Most employees of the Royal Family sign very restrictive confidentiality undertakings when they sign up – why shouldn’t somebody in Kate Middleton’s position be subject to similar requirements?’

Thanks to the Radmacher judgment, pre-nups are now being given much greater force in dividing up the assets, though they are still subject to a test of fairness.

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‘Cases like Radmacher have shown us that the stigma previously attached to pre-nups has all but disappeared. Almost every divorce lawyer in central London will tell you that most pre-nups among the professional classes and sons and daughters of the wealthy are becoming the rule rather than the exception.’

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