UK - His father might be famous for his harem of 'wifelets', but Ceawlin Thynne, Viscount Weymouth and son of the notorious Marquess of Bath, is taking a more conventional approach to marriage. However, his wife-to-be is anything but the typical aristocratic bride. Not only is artist Emma McQuiston the daughter of a Nigerian oil tycoon, she's a former actress and celebrity chef. Despite the 26-year-old's impressive CV, the soon-to-be marchioness admits that her presence at Longleat has raised eyebrows among some elements of the aristocracy.
'There has been some snobbishness, particularly among the older generation,' she reveals. 'There's class and then there's the racial thing. It's a jungle and I'm going through it and discovering things as I grow up.
'I'm not super-easily offended, but it's a problem when someone's making you feel different or separate because of your race, or forming an opinion about you before they even know you.'
Her mother Suzanna also admits to being worried on her daughter's behalf -- but hopes she'll be accepted. 'I always felt there might be this slightly snobbish thing about anyone that's black but it seems that everybody has taken Emma into their hearts and they love her.'
The snobbish comments are all the more ironic because McQuiston isn't exactly a stranger to high society.
The daughter of Oxford graduate, Ladi Jadesimi, McQuiston grew up in the rolling Wiltshire countryside and has long been part of her future husband's circle, first meeting him when she was just four years old. She was also a regular guest at Longleat celebrations, regularly spending Christmas and Easter with the Bath family. So familiar with Longleat is she, McQuiston even made the state rooms the subject of a dissertation she wrote at 18. 'I've always loved it here,' she says of the house. 'I would see Ceawlin at Christmas, Easter and family get-togethers.'
Nevertheless, McQuiston admits that she's always felt herself to be something of an outsider.
'I have never had anything horrible said or happen to me,' she says. 'But it is something you sense. You can just tell with some people when they meet you, particularly in America when you are acting and you speak with a British accent. You just become a little more aware of how you look.'
One person who clearly isn't worried is McQuiston's 38-year-old husband-to-be, who proposed after just 18 months. 'We'd been to a party and in the middle of the night he woke me up to ask me,' McQuiston revealed in an interview with Tatler magazine. 'I made him do it again and again until it sunk in.'