Duke of Northumberland’s daughter granted quickie divorce

Lady Melissa and Thomas van Straubenzee leave the church after their wedding in June, 2013. Picture by Jane Coltman
Lady Melissa and Thomas van Straubenzee leave the church after their wedding in June, 2013. Picture by Jane Coltman

The marriage of the Duke of Northumberland’s youngest daughter and one of Princess Charlotte’s godparents has ended after less than three years.

Lady Melissa Percy was granted a quickie divorce from Thomas van Straubenzee on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour.

It took just a few minutes at the Central Family Court in London on Wednesday. The couple were not present when they were granted the decree nisi by District Judge Anne Aitken.

Among the court papers made public was a sworn statement signed by 28-year-old Lady Melissa – known as Missy – in December which said that they had separated two months earlier, in early October.

The paperwork stated that a judge found that she was ‘entitled to a decree of divorce, the marriage having irretrievably broken down, the facts found proved being the respondent’s unreasonable behaviour’.

The couple were married at St Michael’s Church, Alnwick, in June, 2013, followed by a reception at Alnwick Castle.

Crowds lined Bailiffgate to cheer on the couple and their wedding guests, who included Princes William and Prince Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. Prince William was one of two joint best men. The Duke and Duchess’s eldest daughter Lady Katie and Chelsy Davy were bridesmaids.

Among the other high-profile guests were Pippa Middleton, Prince Harry’s then girlfriend Cressida Bonas, Sir Richard Branson’s daughter Holly and actress Rose Leslie

Property consultant Mr van Straubenzee, 33, has been one of William’s closest friends for many years after they met as youngsters at Ludgrove Prep School. He as one of five godparents at Princess Charlotte’s christening in the church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, Norfolk, last July.

Known simply as Van to his friends, he is a key figure in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s inner circle.

He accompanied William on his first official overseas tour to New Zealand. William and Prince Harry are also patrons of a memorial fund dedicated to Tom’s brother Henry, who was killed in a car crash in 2002.

He was once mugged while talking on the phone to Harry, who rushed to try and help him with a police bodyguard.

Both William and Harry are close to Tom’s parents, Alex and Claire van Straubenzee.