As Bernie Ecclestone proved this week, if money is no object then - along with a Rolex, Ferrari or luxury yacht - buying a luxurious home for your offspring is becoming the norm. Cheryl Markosky tracks down the world's luckiest sons and daughters.
With Father’s Day around the corner and most of us dithering over which aftershave to buy for our 'paters', Petra Ecclestone will have to come up with something extra special for her generous Formula 1 boss dad, Bernie.
Built by TV (Dallas and Charlie’s Angels) mogul Aaron Spelling, the French chateau-style property has parking for 100 cars, a bowling alley and double staircase inspired by the one in the film Gone With the Wind. Other features include a screening room, doll museum and a Prince Charles Suite, named after the heir to the throne who once stayed there.
Petra’s sibling Tamara hasn’t done badly either. She lives in a £45 million house in Kensington Palace Gardens. Bernie’s lavish purchase for Petra, dubbed ‘the most spoilt girl in Britain’, is part of a trend where the filthy rich fork out millions for homes for their lucky offspring.
James Bailey from Henry & James in London’s pricey Knightsbridge says it’s not unusual to find parents happy to hand over £5-10 million for somewhere magnificent for their child to live. “They see it as an investment for their son or daughter, as well as themselves,” he says. “If they buy something now they can see their offspring enjoy it and avoid paying inheritance tax.”
Depending on the intelligence of the youngster, some appreciate the gesture, while others are downright petulant, adds Bailey. “The problem is Mummy and Daddy want their baby to live on the Embankment, but someone young and groovy would rather hang out on the King’s Road.”
Yet, high-end agents can easily be caught off guard. Bailey recalls a 19-year-old demanding a flat in Eaton Square , where his neighbours would be Roman Abromovich, Asil Nadir, George Soros, Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi. A two-bedroom flat currently for sale on the square is nearly £1.7 million and three-bedrooms with a roof terrace costs £6.25 million.
“I thought he was a time waster, but no, his parents gave him the cash upfront,” Bailey admits. House finder Jonathan Harington from Haringtons UK also sees the other side, with the uber-wealthy not wanting to lumber their children with too many riches. “They think that they will go from clogs to clogs in two generations. A Yorkshire client of mine simply won’t hand his offspring anything on a plate.”
Harington finds the canny rich buying agricultural land or estates for their kids, and ring-fencing them in family trusts. “This way, they still have some control and because of legislation surround farmland, they can pass on the property tax-free.”
Luckily for his daughters, benevolent Bernie is prepared to hand over his gains immediately. But he isn’t the only dad to cough up to keep his nippers content. Here are 10 other fortunate young ‘uns in marvelous mansions funded by Daddy.
Other lucky offspring
It’s not unusual to find parents happy to hand over £5-10 million for somewhere magnificent for their child to live