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The first Julie Montagu knew of her future husband Luke's distinguished family history was when he took out his credit card and she noticed his title.
She proceeded to pronounce 'Viscount' like 'discount'.
Drinks - Party - Years - Julie - Yoga
They had first met at a drinks party in 2002, and within a few years Julie, a blonde American yoga teacher, nutrition expert and author, and Luke, the heir to the Earl of Sandwich, were married – she proudly wearing the Montagu tiara – in the pretty croquet pavilion at Mapperton House, the family's magnificent Jacobean pile in Dorset.
Yet so engaged was Julie, the new Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, in growing her burgeoning wellbeing business that she felt like a chatelaine in name only.
Husband - Day - Estate - Father - Earl
She knew her husband would one day take over the estate from his father, the 11th Earl who's now 76, but she pushed what she then perceived might be a burden to the back of her mind.
'I wasn't focused on Mapperton back then,' she says. 'I was building my own career and taking care of my family.
View - Luke - Father
My view was, 'When it happens it happens, but right now I can't think about it.' Even when Luke did take over from his father in 2016, to begin with I wasn't very involved.'
Fast forward four years and Julie, 47, who grew up in Sugar Grove, Illinois, in the Midwestern USA may now know more about British stately homes than many of the owners themselves, thanks to her new TV series An American Aristocrat's Guide To Great Estates.
Interest - Houses - Job
'I now have a deep interest in these historic houses – so it's become much more than just a presenting job,' she says.
'Had it not been for the show I think my appreciation of Mapperton would have taken much longer because originally the passion just wasn't there.
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