Liam howletts dating natalie
It’s lovely.’What intrigues many is that while Damian appeared reluctant to marry Donna Air, despite having a daughter with her, he jumped at the opportunity to make Victoria the second Mrs Aspinall, proposing with a vintage Van Cleef & Arpels diamond ring in a ‘rustic windmill filled with 30,000 roses’ within 18 months of meeting.They tied the knot last summer at Villa Centinale in Tuscany in front of 26 friends and family.‘I am saddened that I never met Damian’s father,’ says Victoria, ‘and I would have loved to have met his friends from that era, like Jimmy Goldsmith [British financier and tycoon], because the stories would have been insane.’They also fell for each other over a shared love of music – she plays cello to near professional standard and he is known to be fond of a singalong with his guitar on the steps of Howletts.
Victoria admits to being upfront with Damian about wanting marriage and children of her own.
The first day that Victoria Aspinall visited Howletts, the sprawling wild animal park in Kent that she now calls home, the arm of her white Burberry blouse was pulled clean off by an overly amorous gorilla.
A salutary tale should follow about how designer labels and animals don’t mix but Victoria fell for the gorilla trick, which is lucky for the man who is now her husband, the conservationist Damian Aspinall – because if you fall for Damian you’ve got to fall for his gorillas, too.‘People joke it was some kind of test,’ Victoria tells me over bone-china cups of tea in the study at Howletts, the grand palladian mansion Damian inherited from his father John Aspinall and which sits in the middle of their family-owned wildlife park.
If it was a test, Victoria passed, unfazed, with flying colours.
And before long a ‘far-too-sensible, very-middle-class girl’ from Lancashire was enjoying the veritable cornucopia of delights that life as an Aspinall entails: playing croquet with orphaned anteaters on the lawn, enjoying free therapy with the lemurs (‘they are brilliant because they don’t answer back – I think that’s why everyone likes animals, isn’t it?