The socialite daughter of the Duke of Rutland was fined just £50 for speeding – half the normal minimum – after she claimed paying a penalty would cause her “cashflow issues”.
Eliza Manners was caught doing 47mph in a 40mph zone on the M4 in an Audi in Brentford, west London, in March. When faced with prosecution, the 24-year-old, who runs her own interior design business, Eliza Manners London, wrote to Lavender Hill magistrates to attempt to avoid a heavy penalty, according to the Evening Standard.
In a question about financial hardship, she responded “yes”, and, asked if paying a fine would pose financial difficulties, reportedly wrote: “It would cause me cashflow issues.”
She was ordered to pay a £50 fine and £84 in court costs and fees, as well as being given three penalty points.
The contact centre for London magistrates courts confirmed the fine to the Guardian and said there was a matter in the court records on or around 4 October for speeding.
The youngest daughter of David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, Lady Manners reportedly lives in a £700,000 apartment in Notting Hill. Manners and her siblings, Violet and Alice, have been compared to Downton Abbey’s Crawley sisters and were nicknamed the “bad Manners girls” when they were regulars on London’s social scene.
Her family home is Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, which has featured in The Crown and The Da Vinci Code. The family spent the first Covid lockdown there together.
Her company website cites her upbringing, describing the castle as “one of the UK’s most famous and unspoilt Regency buildings”. It says: “They say that children absorb their surroundings, and for Eliza, that is exactly the case.”
Her circus-themed 18th birthday party featured live camels and was covered by Tatler magazine, which described it as “a night of surprises”.
On Wednesday night she was pictured wearing a £1,600 Balmain dress at Harry’s Bar in Mayfair and last week she posted pictures on Instagram from Annabel’s, another Mayfair luxury establishment. Her Instagram account also features pictures from a recent holiday to Italy.
She entered her guilty plea for the offence online in April through the single justice procedure and was sentenced on 4 October without an open court hearing. She reportedly did not declare any living expenses.
Government guidelines say that the “minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine” but magistrates are able to lower penalties in exceptional cases.
Manners did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.