Rich List 2012: No.1 - Kirsty Bertarelli (£6.5bn)
Kirsty Bertarelli is not only this year’s richest Midlander for the fourth year in succession; she is the richest woman in the UK and one of the richest in the world.
Ms Bertarelli – formerly Kirsty Roper from Stone in Staffordshire who was crowned Miss UK in 1988 –married the biotechnology tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli in 2000 after meeting him three years earlier at a party in Sardinia.
Since then she has become closely involved in her husband’s yachting syndicate – he won the Americas Cup in 2003 and 2007 – and indulging her love of music, combining that with raising money for the UK-Swiss Smiling Children charity and other charities supported by the Bertarelli Foundation.
Kirsty’s ambition was to make a career in music. She wrote her own songs and secured a record deal with Warner Records. In 2000 she co-wrote the All Saints hit Black Coffee which made No.1.
Described by Le Matin as having ‘a golden voice’ she released her debut album Elusive in 2010. It quickly climbed to number 20 in the Swiss charts and was followed by two single releases. She has also made several live appearances including the Montreux Jazz Festival, and supporting Mick Hucknall’s Simply Red in concerts in Zurich and Edinburgh.
Her husband, and their three children, Chiara, Falco and Alceo, now live on the shores of Lake Geneva. They also own a house in Knightsbridge, where the couple can often be seen drinking in the local pub – Mr Bertarelli is a confirmed anglophile – and a chalet in the Alpine resort of Gstaad, where the family own the legendary winter sports hotel Grand Hotel Park.