His crowning achievement! After Dominic West’s royally unified red carpet appearance with aristocratic wife Catherine FitzGerald – how DID our fictional King Charles pull their marriage back from the brink after THAT Roman holiday with Lily James?
- The undeniably talented actor was back in the spotlight – for the right reasons – while celebrating the season five launch of controversial Netflix drama The Crown with his wife and children
- It was an opportunity for West to irrevocably confirm his 12-year marriage to Fitzgerald, an Irish landscape designer and gardener of prosperous aristocratic stock, is finally back on track
- The actor’s notorious Roman holiday with attractive young actress Lily James, their brazenly public displays of affection in the Italian capital and his sheepish return to the family home appeared to be forgotten
- But how did he pull his marriage back from the brink? Here, MailOnline charts Dominic West’s sometimes dramatic, sometimes awkward, sometimes embarrassing journey to redemption
Ordinarily it would be a case of look away please, nothing to see here as Dominic West made the latest in an infrequent series of public appearances with wife Catherine FitzGerald and their young children on Tuesday evening.
The undeniably talented actor was back in the spotlight – for the right reasons – while celebrating the season five launch of controversial Netflix drama The Crown with his co-stars, and he had genially chosen to let his loved ones share in the moment as they greeted a bank of photographers outside London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Better yet, it was an opportunity for West to irrevocably confirm his 12-year marriage to Fitzgerald, an Irish landscape designer and gardener of prosperous aristocratic stock, is finally back on track after two years of drama and uncertainty, largely of his own making and entirely worthy of its own ten-part Netflix adaptation.
Leaning in for a prolonged red carpet kiss with his wife, the actor’s notorious Roman holiday with attractive young actress Lily James, their brazenly public displays of affection in the Italian capital and his sheepish return to the family home appeared to be forgotten.
But how did he pull his marriage back from the brink? Here, MailOnline charts Dominic West’s sometimes dramatic, sometimes awkward, sometimes embarrassing journey from royal jester to caring Crown Prince of husbands.
Nothing to see here: Dominic West and his wife Catherine Fitzgerald put on a united front at Wednesday’s star-studded season five premiere of The Crown outside London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Tuesday evening
Romance, Rome… and electric scooters: The Lily James affair
The actor surprised onlookers when he was pictured passionately kissing actress Lily James while dining al fresco during a romantic, mid-pandemic break in Rome back in 2020, shortly after international travel restrictions were lifted.
West and James didn’t seem to mind who saw them as they cuddled up to one another and shared a ride on an electric scooter while taking in the sights, tenderly touching throughout the day.
In an ironic twist , West had recently earned rave reviews for his role as cheating husband Noah Solloway in Showtime drama The Affair, which explores the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between his character and a younger woman who catches his eye.
Back in the real world, the actor was still Catherine FitzGerald – and no split had been publicly announced – but he was not wearing his wedding ring.
Unexpected: The actor surprised onlookers when he was pictured passionately kissing actress Lily James while dining al fresco during a romantic, mid-pandemic break in Rome back in 2020, shortly after international travel restrictions were lifted
A source told MailOnline that West and James spent two nights in a suite at the top Hotel De La Ville with a panoramic view over the whole city and just at two minutes walk from the Spanish steps.
They only left the hotel for a few hours riding an electric scooter around the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Pietra, before joining their friend and mutual manager Angharad Wood at a downtown restaurant.
As paparazzi photographers lurked, James sat next to West and he couldn’t resist kissing her neck and stroking her. with the young Downton Abbey star looking incredible in a pretty floral summery dress and Yves Saint Laurent espadrilles.
The pair were set to star in Emily Mortimer’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s celebrated novel The Pursuit Of Love for the BBC and filming began that July – three months before their surprise holiday.
But the pair go way back and starred in Othello together at Sheffield’s Crucible back in 2011. Lily played Desdemona when she was aged 22 and Dominic played Iago aged 41.
Plot twist: West and James didn’t seem to mind who saw them as they cuddled up to one another and shared a ride on an electric scooter while taking in the sights, tenderly touching throughout the day
A flight to Ireland, a pre-written statement and a very awkward public display of unity
After pictures of West and James finally emerged, the versatile actor gave waiting reporters a surprisingly wooden performance as they gathered outside the sprawling Cotswolds home he shares with Fitzgerald and their children.
The shell-shocked mother-of-four had clutched a tissue in her hand as she gingerly stepped out of the marital home in Chippenham, Wiltshire with her husband by her side, hiding her ring finger in her jeans pocket.
The awkward tableau wasn’t helped by the couple’s bizarre decision to display a piece of paper bearing the handwritten message: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much still together. Thank you.’
Catherine later broke her silence to assure MailOnline that her marriage is safe.
She told reporters: ‘We’re fine, thank you very much, yes we are. Things are OK between us. We don’t need any advice from anyone, thank you.’
However, sources close to Fitzgerald claimed she ‘wouldn’t take any crap’ over the pictures and insisted the couple , who married in 2010 at Glin Castle, her ancestral home, would have some difficult decisions to make regarding the future of their marriage.
Fitzgerald later flew to Ireland alone ‘for a work trip’, during which she stayed with her mother Olga Fitzgerald at the family’s ancestral seat in County Limerick, where they run as a £6,000-a-night events venue.
Out of the doghouse: After pictures of West and James finally emerged, the versatile actor gave waiting media a surprisingly wooden display as they gathered outside the sprawling Cotswolds home he shares with Fitzgerald and their children
Awkward: The aristocrat looked slightly uncomfortable as she clutched a tattered tissue and a piece of paper bearing the message: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much still together. Thank you’
Although she wasn’t seen in the nearby village, a local source confirmed she was ‘holed up’ at the castle while attempting to escape the unwanted attention on her private life.
A source told MailOnline: ‘She’s here. She’s just trying to get some rest, totally understandably after what she’s been through.
‘We had photographers here last week but there’s strictly no admittance to the castle grounds and she’s not coming out anyway. The Gardai [police] moved them on.
‘This is her home, her favourite place in the world and she feels safe here. It’s natural that she’d come home to her mother. It must be hell what she’s going through. She is absolutely devastated at those pictures and their story will inevitably have a sad ending’.
Side by side: Despite his talents as an actor, West’s performance was decidedly wooden as he posed with Fitzgerald outside the family home
A separate source claimed the designer was holding crisis talks with her two sisters, Nesta, an illustrator, and Honor, an actress, as she contemplated the future of her marriage.
‘She’s holed up in her family’s ancestral home, Glin Castle in County Limerick, thinking everything over, a friend told The Sun. ‘Catherine has called on Nesta and Honor to help her as she’s been struggling to come to a decision about whether she and Dominic can go back to how they were.
‘Nesta has told friends that it felt like a family crisis meeting. Both she and Honor are fiercely protective of their older sister and want only what’s best for her, even if that means Catherine walking away.’
West also confirmed that his wife had gone to Ireland alone, telling reporters: ‘She’s on a work trip. She’s gone by herself.’
When asked if they are still together, the actor laughed and said: ‘Of course we are, very much together. Our relationship is fine.’
Asked about his trip to Rome, he added: ‘It’s nobody’s business.’
Home: Fitzgerald later flew to Ireland alone ‘for a work trip’, during which she stayed with her mother Olga Fitzgerald at the family’s ancestral seat of Glin Castle, Co. Limerick, where they run as a £6,000-a-night events venue
The (social) distance between us: Season’s cheatings from County Limerick
West and his wife later shared a socially-distanced festive snap from her family home, Glin Castle, as they celebrated the first Christmas since his transgressions in Rome.
The actor and the landscape gardener, posed alongside children Dora, Senan, Francis, and Christabel in a shot taken in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines within the grounds of Fitzgerald’s sprawling family estate.
Irish aristocrat Fitzgerald, who tends to the castle gardens, simply wrote on Instagram: ‘Happy Christmas from Glin Castle.’
Not awkward at all: West and his wife later shared a socially-distanced festive snap from her family home, Glin Castle, as they celebrated the first Christmas since his transgressions in Rome.
‘Women should be more indulgent of affairs!’ Dominic digs a deeper hole
The timing couldn’t have been worse after historic claims made by West regarding infidelity emerged within days of his sheepish return to the family home.
Speaking in 2016, the actor claimed it was ‘daft to kick someone out over a fling’ and suggested ‘women should be more indulgent of affairs.’
West also branded monogamy ‘not the necessarily natural way to be’ during a sit-down chat last year, which resurfaced just hours after he was publicly forgiven by his wife over his passionate clinch with Lily James.
The father-of-five made the comments while promoting his hit drama series The Affair, in which he portrayed the role of Noah Solloway, who engaged in a fiery extramarital relationship with a younger woman.
Nightmare: The timing couldn’t have been worse after historic claims made by West regarding infidelity emerged within days of his sheepish return to the family home. The comments were made as he promoted TV series The Affair, in which he plays a cheating husband (pictured)
Speaking to the Evening Standard, he mused: ‘I mean, I think women should be more indulgent of affairs. I really do. It’s daft to kick someone out over a fling. Isn’t it? Everyone should turn a blind eye to men’s behaviour between the ages of 40 and 50. Let it all blow over.’
The father-of-five, who also shares daughter Martha, 24, with his ex Polly Astor, also told Harper’s Bazaar in 2019: ‘It’s one of those subjects that people have very strong opinions about because everybody is open to it and can experience it. It affects kings as much as it does snails.
‘A lot of people have experienced it and a lot of people fear it. I suppose people suspect that the conventions that we have agreed upon in society, that a man and women can stay together for life or a certain amount of time without cheating, that they’re not really staying together based on anything other than how society thinks they should behave.
‘It’s not the necessarily natural way to be, therefore there will always be adultery and intrigue about it.’
Ireland calling – from the Cotswold’s to Country’s Limerick and the Fitzgerald family estate?
Months after the Rome scandal, Fitzgerald revealed she was trying to convince the beleaguered actor to move to her family seat in Ireland.
Speaking in the March 2021 issue of Tatler, Catherine said she would like to live full-time at Glin Castle, which sits on a 400-acre estate. The castle has been in Catherine’s family for 700 years and has famously played host to Taylor Swift, Sir Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull.
‘I can’t persuade Dominic to move their altogether yet, but I’m working on it,’ she told the magazine.
The landscape gardener is the eldest child of Desmond FitzGerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, who died in 2011 with no son to inherit his title.
‘The title can skip a generation and my son [Senan] could be the next Knight of Glin,’ Fitzgerald explained. ‘But he’s just mad into football.’
Moving to Ireland? Months after the Rome scandal, Fitzgerald revealed she was trying to convince the beleaguered actor to move to her family seat in Ireland
Family seat: The designer told Tatler she would like to live full-time at Glin Castle, which sits on a 400-acre estate on the banks of the River Shannon in Co Limerick
Faith, forgiveness, potential remarriage and the rocky road to redemption
While the relocation to Ireland never happened, FitzGerald reportedly banned West from speaking to James as part of a peace deal struck between the couple during a lockdown escape to trendy island destination Lamu in Kenya.
The couple were joined on Lamu – described by Conde Nast Traveller magazine as loved by ‘wastrels, writers and royals’ – by a group of friends who included beauty entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury and Alan Yentob, the BBC’s former creative director.
‘The idea of remarrying was talked about,’ said a friend of the couple.
‘Nothing was decided, or has been yet, but Catherine brought up the idea and it was much discussed. It shows how far things have come since those photographs.’
All together bow: Dominic West and Catherine Fitzgerald with their children at the season five premiere of The Crown in London on Tuesday evening
Having dealt with the biting hurt caused by her husband’s frolicking with Downton Abbey star James, it seems Fitzgerald concluded that life was better with him than without.
However, Mail On Sunday was told there were some strict new rules to guide West’s future behaviour.
‘He has promised never to see, speak or work with Lily again,’ said a friend. Also, there are to be no joint promotional interviews for the forthcoming TV adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit Of Love, in which they both star.
This, apparently, caused surprise among BBC bosses who hoped the series would be a ratings triumph, having scheduled it to be screened in the primetime Sunday 9pm slot.
It is thought that despite initial protestations, the BBC agreed to the Wests’ request.
Escape: The Wests even discussed renewing their wedding vows to rebuild their ten-year marriage during a lockdown escape to trendy island destination Lamu in Kenya (pictured)
The daughter of Desmond FitzGerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, Fitzgerald met West when he was studying at Trinity College, Dublin, in the early 1990s.
After a decade together and having three of their four children, they wed at the family’s Glin Castle in County Limerick in 2010 in front of a host of celebrity friends.
When the castle fell into disrepair and Fitzgerald’s family could no longer afford to run it, West bought it in 2015, meaning it remained in the Glin family. As its saviour, he won hero status among her sisters and wider family.
One said: ‘Dom is woven so tightly into Catherine’s life – through marriage, their children and her family’s historic Irish home – that it would be a huge amount to give up if their marriage dissolved.
‘Splitting up was never really an option. But Catherine needed to know she could trust Dominic and that what happened with Lily James in Rome was a totally isolated incident and that nothing like it would ever happen again.’
The couple met while studying at Trinity College, Dublin, in the early 1990s and wed at the family’s Glin Castle (pictured) in County Limerick in 2010
While the couple appear to be back on an even keel, she might wish to make a return trip to Lamu to avoid the publicity machine that is bound to surround the launch of The Pursuit Of Love – a reminder of her errant husband’s joint venture with Lily.
Indeed, she should heed something that Nancy Mitford wrote in the novel on which the series is based: ‘No woman really minds hearing of the past affairs of her lover.
‘It is the future alone that has the power to terrify.’
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