As the scion of one of the country’s oldest aristocratic families the Earl of Cardigan has an impeccable pedigree.
But his stewardship of his family’s extensive Wiltshire estate has for several years been fraught with feuds and difficulties.
It has now emerged that a senior lawyer appointed by the Earl, David Brudenell-Bruce, to oversee his affairs at Savernake Estate has resigned following a dispute over the way it was being run.
Simon Weil quit as a trustee as part of an agreed settlement with the Earl, three years after he was appointed to replace another of his trustees, John Moore, who left in acrimonious circumstances.
His resignation marks another chapter in the frequently turbulent affairs of the Earl, whose ancestors include the general who led the ill-fated charge of the Light Brigade.
At the same time as Mr Weil standing down, another trustee, Wilson Cotton, has also resigned from his role at the Savernake Estate.
Mr Weil remained circumspect last night over his resignation, saying only: “I do not want to say any more thank you very much. My resignation was part of an agreed settlement with Lord Cardigan. It was part of an agreed court order.”
However, it is understood that his resignation is linked to a bitter legal dispute between Mr Weil and Mr Cotton and Lord Cardigan over a property in his grounds rented by the pop star Pete Doherty.
Lord Cardigan last year sued Mr Cotton for thousands of pounds in lost rent on Sturmy House following repairs needed when Doherty left the £1 million property “uninhabitable”.
Damage caused by the Babyshambles and Libertines singer – whose drug problems and riotous lifestyle made him a cult figure on the British pop scene – included broken windows, graffiti on walls, cats running wild among its nine bedrooms and mounds of rotting rubbish around the property.
Further damage was caused when a burst pipe led to flooding after Doherty, who paid £2,950 a month in rent for Sturmy House, moved out in 2010 without informing the agent.
The damage cost Lord Cardigan’s insurers £65,000 to repair and almost as much in lost rent after it lay empty following Doherty’s departure.
Mr Cotton has now also stepped down as a trustee of the estate but, according to Mr Weil retains, some involvement in the Earl’s affairs.
“We both stepped down as Trustees of the estate but he remains a trustee of a remaining settlement,” said Mr Weil.
Lord Cardigan had also sued Mr Cotton over the £376,768 fees he charged, calling them excessive.
Relations between the two men became so strained that in 2011 Lord Cardigan was accused of sabotaging a commercial pheasant shoot on his estate by destroying stands and “running a dog through the cover so as to disperse the birds”.
This led to the shooting syndicate, which had paid £52,000 a year in fees, to turn its back on Savernake, robbing the estate of valuable revenue.
The refurbishment of Sturmy House overran by 18 months and the delay in renting the house cost the estate an estimated £50,000 in potential revenue.
The Earl – described as “abrasive” in court papers – had earlier succeeded in having Mr Moore, his former close friend, removed as a trustee after legal action in 2014.
A trial judge at the time said: “Mr Moore has had to put up with a great deal of unpleasantness despite the amount of time he has devoted to the estate.”
The judge thought Mr Moore should be removed due to the breakdown in relations between him and Lord Cardigan.
He wrote: "The lion’s share of responsibility for that breakdown ought, I think, to be laid at Lord Cardigan’s door (and that of Mr Bloom) [Lord Cardigan's legal adviser.]"
The Earl, whose title dates back to 1611, has repeatedly experienced financial problems.
He has run up legal costs of more than £600,000 in legal actions and paid his first wife more than £900,000 in a divorce settlement.
By 2013 the Savernake estate had run up debts of £1.8 million, with interest charges of £18,000 a month.
He has also fallen out with other family members, most spectacularly his daughter, Lady Catherine Brudenell-Bruce.
The Earl was accused of sending her abusive emails. She obtained a restraining order banning him from attending his first wife’s funeral in 2012.
Mr Weil is a senior partner with the London solicitors Bircham Dyson Bell. He specialises in charities, philanthropy, trusts and 'the resolution of potentially contentious issues arising out of wills, trusts and co-ownership of property'.
Among his 'career highlights' mentioned on the firm's website is "resolving a bitter family dispute arising out of the estate of a millionairess."