Faced with a prosecution, the business management graduate who has launched her own interior design business — Eliza Manners London — wrote to Lavender Hill magistrates in a bid to avoid a hefty penalty.
She replied “yes” to the financial hardship question, and when asked if paying a fine would cause her difficulties wrote: “It would cause me cash flow issues.”
Lady Eliza is the youngest daughter of David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, and lives in a £700,000 apartment in Notting Hill.
Lady Eliza and her elder siblings, Lady Violet and Lady Alice, have been likened to the Crawley sisters in Downton Abbey, and were once dubbed the “bad Manners girls” when they were regulars on the London social scene, mixing with royals and celebrities.
They all spent the first Covid-19 lockdown together at their family home, Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, which has been used as a filming location for The Crown and The Da Vinci Code. Lady Eliza, whose circus-themed 18th birthday party featured in Tatler magazine, was pictured on Instagram posing in Yves Saint Laurent clothes during a trip to Milan in the fortnight before her speeding conviction.
She was prosecuted after being caught driving at 47mph in a 40mph zone near the Grand Union Canal in Brentford on March 28 this year.
She entered her guilty plea online — indicating her links to Belvoir Castle — through the Single Justice Procedure, and was sentenced on October 4 without the need for an open court hearing. Lady Eliza was ordered to pay £84 in court costs and fees, on top of her £50 fine, and was also handed three penalty points. She has been told to settle the legal debt by the start of next month.
Government guidelines say the “minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine”, although magistrates have the power to impose lower penalties in exceptional cases. Lady Eliza, who entered her guilty plea in April, did not declare any living expenses to the court, and was fined less than half of her stated weekly income. The socialite has been contacted for comment.
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