How pop singer-songwriter became the third richest woman in Britain

A former songwriter is now the third richest woman in Britain and wealthier than the Queen , Adele and JK Rowling combined.

Kirsty Bertarelli’s net worth is £9.65 billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

She and her husband split their time between a clutch of mansions which include an £8 million estate in the ski resort of Gstaad, a £10 million house in Geneva and a Belgravia pad worth £10 million.

But their most luxurious home is a £100 million yacht, a 40th birthday present from her husband who also threw her a £2 million birthday party to celebrate.

The yacht is the largest ever built in the UK and includes a “fold-down beach club” so she can do yoga on deck, a helicopter pad and a swimming pool, Wales Online reports.

It’s a life of staggering riches for the woman who once went to school in Wales, wrote songs for former pop band All Saints and won a beauty pageant.

She comes behind Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, the richest woman on the list and Kirsten Rausing who is the second richest.

Mrs Bertarelli was a pupil at the Howells boarding school in Denbigh.

The school was established in 1859 with funding from Thomas Howell’s trustees who later established Howell’s School in Cardiff. The school closed in 2013 and is now Myddelton College .

Speaking about her Welsh school days, she said: "I was quite a popular girl.

"I was never short of a card on Valentine’s Day. I was in the school choir and quite sporty.

"I played hockey and lacrosse. I always had quite a small frame so if I got the ball, I used to get rid of it quickly before I was stampeded by the rest of the girls."

She got seven O-levels then left school at 16 and joined the Manchester Model Agency, though she was hoping for a stepping stone to a career in music.

"My real passion at the time was to sing," she told the Daily Mail in 2008 .

"It was a dream from when I was very young. My mother had sung and there was always music around the house. It had always been part of my life."

But in 1988 she was struck by bacterial meningitis which nearly killed her and she collapsed at home.

"At first my parents thought I had flu. I had terrible pains in my head and my spine," she said.

"I remember feeling that I was lapsing into a deep sleep and I couldn’t wake up. It was all very bewildering. I was on a drip for a week."

She recovered and entered the Miss Manchester beauty pageant, which she won. She went on to win Miss UK and come third in Miss World.

But, having decided that being a beauty queen "wasn’t something I wanted to do" she moved to London, took a secretarial and grooming course and joined another model agency.

She is an accomplished songwriter and wrote Black Coffee, which ended up being a number one hit for All Saints.

She wrote it shortly after meeting her husband, Ernesto, in Sardinia.

"The inspiration for the song was Ernesto," she said.

"I had just met him and wrote the lyrics ‘I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else but here’. It really was young love.

"The All Saints particularly loved that song. Although I had a deal with Warner, I decided to give it to them, which was fantastic because it went to No1.

"It didn’t make me a fortune but it was a real accolade to hear my song on the radio."

Already from a relatively wealthy background (her family owns a successful pottery company) Kirsty married Ernesto in July 2000 in a marquee in Geneva and sang at her own wedding.

Ernesto was running his father’s biotechnology firm, Serano, which he developed into a global leader in pharmaceuticals and sold in 2007 for £9 billion.

The wealthiest people in the UK, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2018

These are the people on the Sunday Times Rich List 2018 and how they made their money:

1. Jim Ratcliffe £21.05billion – gained from his chemical firm Ineos

2. Sri and Gopi Hinduja £20.64billion – industry and finance

3. Leonard Bavatnik £15.259billion – he owns Warner Music Group

4. David and Simon Reuben £15.096billion – made from property and internet businesses

5. Lakshmi Mittal and family £14.667billion – steel

6. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho £11.1billion – brewing and banking alongside inherited wealth

7. Kirsten Rausing and Jörn Rausing £10.848billion- inheritance and investments

8. Alisher Usmanov £10.556billion – mining and investments

9. Galen Weston and George G. Weston and family £10.05billion – food and retail

10. The Duke of Westminster £9.964billion – property

11. Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli £9.659billion – pharmaceuticals

12. Sir James Dyson and family £9.5billion – technology

The sale catapulted the couple to the upper echelons of Britain’s super-rich.

The 2017 Sunday Times Rich List put the couple’s wealth at £11.5 billion. However, it said this in this year’s list that their wealth had fallen by around £2 billion.

The couple have three children, Chiara, Falco and Alceo.

Mrs Bertarelli is again concentrating on her music, signing with Universal Music, releasing her own records and collaborating with other artists including Ronan Keating and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason.

She has also supported Simply Red on their farewell tour, Jools Holland during his UK tour and Robbie Williams at the Cannes Film Festival.

She is also actively involved in charity work for her family’s charity, the Bertarelli Foundation.

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