A DIVORCEE’S second wedding is often a more low-key affair.
Not for heiress Petra Ecclestone. She is again channelling her inner princess with plans to throw millions more at her second trip down the aisle.
The pampered daughter of former F1 kingpin Bernie Ecclestone, 88, spent £12MILLION tying the knot first time round with City boy James Stunt.
That one didn’t work out — but Petra, 30, plans to throw an even more outrageous bash when she marries ex-car salesman Sam Palmer next month.
Even billionaire Bernie was shocked by the bill for her first wedding.
He said: “I thought I should pay for it. When it was suggested how much they would be spending on drinks, I thought it was absurd.
“Only later did I learn the wedding cost in excess of £12million.”
Yet friends insist nuptials No2 will be “no expense spared”, costing as much as £15million.
A pal said: “Petra wants this to be the last time she gets married so even though it is her second, she still wants to push the boat out.”
Petra made it down the aisle before older sister Tamara, 35, marrying Stunt in 2011 at the medieval Orsini-Odescalchi castle, on the shore of Lake Bracciano, near Rome.
The venue cost £310,000 while guests — among them socialite Paris Hilton and Princess Beatrice — drank Chateau Petrus wine at £4,000 a bottle. Petra’s Vera Wang gown cost £80,000.
Entertainment included an 18-piece string section from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, opera singer Andrea Bocelli and sets by pop royalty the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys and DJ David Guetta. That lot cost around £2.6million as the extravaganza went on for three days.
Petra has three children with James — Lavinia, six, and twins Andrew and James, four. They split in 2017, the divorce unfolding like a particularly angry episode of EastEnders.
Stunt was accused of making a gun gesture towards Bernie. There were allegations in the divorce court of abuse, violence and drug use, all of which were denied.
Stunt later caused a stir by branding his 5ft 3in father-in-law a “dwarf”, Petra a “C-list celebrity’s daughter” and her mother, the 6ft 1in Croatian former model Slavica Radic, 61, “Lady Macbeth”.
Petra won sole custody of their kids and credits them with getting her through the turmoil, saying: “I didn’t have the option of lying in bed feeling sorry for myself.”
Stunt, who once boasted of owning 200 luxury cars and a £10,000 bottle in his wine cellar, had his assets frozen this year under a proceeds-of-crime order. That barred him from selling them, though he was not charged with any offence.
On August 10, Petra will gaze out across the aqua-blue Sea of Cortez, Mexico, as Mrs Sam Palmer.
She will wed her Essex boy at the five-star Four Seasons resort, Los Cabos, at Costa Palmas. To ensure their privacy, she is hiring the entire venue, at around £10million.
They announced their engagement on New Year’s Eve, 14 months after Petra’s divorce.
Palmer, 34, comes from Harlow, Essex, where his mum runs a beauty parlour and his dad was a used-car salesman. He hung out with the Towie bunch and Chigwell charmer Jay Rutland — Tamara’s husband.
It was Jay who first introduced Sam to Petra.
Petra said: “I randomly bumped into him when he came to LA to visit Jay. I honestly thought I was going to be celibate or turn into a lesbian. You meet someone when you least expect it or want it.” The four holidayed together in late 2017. Then, in January of this year, they were pictured wearing colourful ponchos at the Mexican resort where Petra and Sam will get hitched.
The blokes posted a picture of themselves captioned “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, an odd reference to the 1988 Steve Martin comedy in which a pair of conmen try to swindle cash from an American woman.
Sam is director of the Maddox art gallery in LA, where Petra is creative director. Until recently they lived in her 123-room mansion, said to be the biggest property in LA.
But Petra sold the Holmby Hills chateau for a record £95million. It is thought she, Sam and her three children will live in a more modest eight-bed home in nearby Brentwood, which cost her £18million.
Tamara was briefly engaged in 2002, when she was 17. Years later, after she had starred in her own reality-TV show, Billion Dollar Girl, her ex Derek Rose tried to blackmail her for £200,000, threatening to reveal personal stories. Rose was jailed over it in 2013.
Another relationship, with businessman Omar Khyami, ended when she saw a film of him romping with another woman. Khyami claimed the video was filmed before he met Tamara — then she spotted he was wearing two £30,000 Cartier wristbands SHE had bought him.
Tamara topped Petra’s first wedding for sheer spectacle, though some branded her three-day bash tacky. She got engaged to Jay — a 38-year-old banker turned property developer from Chigwell, Essex — just a MONTH after meeting him. “When you know, you just know,” she said.
For the do, in the summer of 2013, they took over the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera. Hiring all 73 rooms for their 150 guests cost £600,000.
Tamara was said to be disappointed princesses Beatrice and Eugenie didn’t turn up. But she introduced her own brand of royalty one-upmanship, wearing a Vera Wang gown with a train longer than Princess Diana’s when she wed.
She also sported dresses by Versace and Alexander McQueen over the course of the lavish event.
Entertainment included Elton John, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and Mark Ronson, at a cost of £3.5million. Guests must have smiled when Jay said of his wife: “I admire her enormously. She does not show her wealth.
“Money is not important. It’s not what attracted me to her.”
A beach party came the day after the ceremony, with guests told to wear white. Shots were downed and backsides reportedly exposed, while some revellers were sick. It was “partying, Essex style”, according to one guest.
A year earlier, Tamara had said: “Petra’s wedding was the best I’ve been to. I’d like to have one abroad like hers. I wouldn’t know how to make it as glamorous! It’ll have to be really bling. My dream is to have Lionel Richie and All Night Long as the first song. I’m so corny.”
The pair were not officially married in France but at a register office in London a couple of weeks later. For that, Tamara wore a simple cream dress. The previous night they enjoyed a date at the cinema, with dinner at Nando’s.
They live in a £70million mansion in London’s Kensington with their daughter Sophia, four.
For his third marriage, their dad Bernie, 88, had a sedate affair.
Despite proposing with a £100,000 engagement ring, he married Brazilian marketing director Fabiana Flosi — 45 YEARS his junior — in a small ceremony in Gstaad, Switzerland, in 2012. The family owned the chalet where the wedding took place.
Neither of Bernie’s daughters were there. His divorce from their mum Slavica, who he was married to for 24 years, cost him an estimated £1billion.
Really big day
- KIM KARDASHIAN’S second marriage, to basketball star Kris Humphries, in 2011, cost £8million. The cake alone was £16,000. Kim filed for divorce 72 days later. Her third wedding, to rapper Kanye West, featured dinner at the Palace of Versailles in Paris for 600 guests, jets to Florence and Andrea Bocelli singing.
- Indian mining mogul Gali Janardhan Reddy paid £59million as his daughter Brahmani got hitched at Bangalore Palace in 2016. The 50,000 guests got gold-plated invites with LCD screens showing video of the bride and groom. Her sari cost £2million.
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan built a 20,000-seater stadium in the UAE for his seven-day, £80million wedding in 1981.
- Vanisha Mittal, daughter of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, spent £48million marrying Amit Bhatia in Paris. Kylie Minogue sang at the week-long do.
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