Marriage of Telegraph owner Sir Frederick Barclay’s to his wife Lady Hiroko ends

The marriage of Telegraph owner Sir Frederick Barclay to his wife Lady Hiroko has ended after a high-stakes divorce court battle.

Last week Mr Justice Cohen heard arguments over how much Lady Hiroko, 78, should be paid, as part of proceedings. 

Today the High Court judge issued a divorce decree, ending their marriage, which began in May 1987.

The couple met in the 1970s when Lady Hiroko was a well-known member of Japanese society in London

The court heard Lady Hiroko had petitioned for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. 

Sir Frederick Barclay, 86, is one of the UK’s most high-profile businessman, and was one half of the famous Barclay brothers, together with David, who died in January.

Sir Frederick Barclay (right) was estimated to be worth £7bn alongside his brother David (left) who died in January. Today a High Court judge formally pronounced the divorce of Sir Frederick and his wife of 34 years, Lady Hiroko

Sir Frederick Barclay (right) was estimated to be worth £7bn alongside his brother David (left) who died in January. Today a High Court judge formally pronounced the divorce of Sir Frederick and his wife of 34 years, Lady Hiroko

Sir Frederick Barclay (right) was estimated to be worth £7bn alongside his brother David (left) who died in January. Today a High Court judge formally pronounced the divorce of Sir Frederick and his wife of 34 years, Lady Hiroko

Last year The Sunday Times Rich List put their worth at £7bn. 

Their interests included the Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London. The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco. 

At previous hearings, Lady Hiroko has been seen with noted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton. 

Known as the ‘Steel Magnolia’, Shackleton has represented everyone from Prince Andrew to rock star Liam Gallagher — and, most memorably, Sir Paul McCartney, whose second wife, Heather Mills, emptied a jug of water over her head. 

Lady Hiroko has been seen with noted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton. Last week Mr Justice Cohen heard arguments on how much money Lady Hiroko, who petitioned for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, should receive as a result of their separation

Lady Hiroko has been seen with noted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton. Last week Mr Justice Cohen heard arguments on how much money Lady Hiroko, who petitioned for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, should receive as a result of their separation

 Lady Hiroko has been seen with noted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton. Last week Mr Justice Cohen heard arguments on how much money Lady Hiroko, who petitioned for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, should receive as a result of their separation 

Mr Justice Cohen had considered arguments over how big a payout Lady Hiroko should get, following the breakdown of the relationship, at a separate, private hearing last week.

He is expected to publish a ruling soon.  

In 1995 the Barclay brothers bought The Ritz and sold it last year, leading to a family row which resulted in court proceedings.

The case revolved around claims made by Sir Frederick that his nephews bugged the Ritz conservatory over fears the businessman posed ‘a significant risk of harm’ to the family business, according to High Court documents.

The nephews – all sons of his twin brother David – allegedly made over 94 hours of secret recordings as part of what his lawyers have described as ‘commercial espionage on a vast scale’.

But Aidan and Howard Barclay hit back at that allegation in a public statement last year, accusing Sir Frederick of ‘consistent, misleading and damaging briefing to the media against us and our family businesses’. 

Sir Frederick's (left) interests include Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London. The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco

Sir Frederick's (left) interests include Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London. The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco

Sir Frederick’s (left) interests include Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London. The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco

The Barclay brothers, who were knighted in 2000, turned to media ownership in 1992 by buying weekly newspaper The European, which closed in 1998, while they also owned The Scotsman from 1995 to 2005.

They acquired The Daily Telegraph for £665 million more than 15 years ago. 

Mr Justice Cohen pronounced a decree nisi, a formal term for a divorce order, at Monday’s hearing.

The hearing lasted less than a minute.

A marriage does not formally end until a decree absolute is pronounced.

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