Lady Alice Douglas

Lady Alice Douglas at the former St Curig's Church,
which she is converting into a guest house.

Lady Alice Douglas, born 1965, is the daughter of the Marquess of Queensberry. She went to 13 schools and was expelled from the last before she was 16. She got a job as an assistant stage manager, and has since worked as an actress, producer and director. Much of her work has been in prisons. Simon Melia, is from Prestatyn, North Wales. He joined the army at 16, and bought himself out at 21. In 1991 he was sentenced to nine years in prison for holding up a North Wales post office with an imitation gun. He was released from prison in 1995 and has started a new career as an actor.

Lady Alice Douglas married 1stly 1989 (div) Ali Ugan; md 2ndly 1995 Simon Melia, and has surviving issue, a daughter and a son, Hero (b.c.2000) and Tybalt (b.c. 1999).

Fling that nearly wrecked my marriage'

Jul 25 2004

Rachel Mainwaring, Wales on Sunday


WELSH ex-con Simon Melia has spoken for the first time about the fling with an au pair that nearly wrecked his marriage to aristocrat Lady Alice Douglas.

And Simon, who had an affair with his children's Polish au pair, Magda, has revealed he considered killing himself with a drug binge when devastated Alice threw him out of their Snowdonia home.

Simon, 33, and Lady Alice, who met at a drama workshop while he was serving a nine-year prison stretch for armed robbery, hired 20-year-old Magda to help look after their two children Hero, five, and three-year-old Tybalt.

Alice, a successful writer and theatre director and the daughter of the 12th Marquis of Queensbury, was the main breadwinner in the household and keen climber Simon admits he embarked on the affair to wrest back some of the power he felt he lacked in their marriage.

Speaking frankly about the fling on Channel 4's Cutting Edge programme, to be shown next week, Alice admits she saw all the warning signs - and chose to ignore them.

She said: "One of my friends had said to me, 'You don't have to worry about Simon going off with her, she's like a pitbull'. She was quite a morose, grumpy girl. I knew she had a crush on Simon and I just thought it was really sweet.

"She couldn't cook, not anything. Even if you asked her to cook some toast she was incapable. But suddenly she was cooking meals for Simon and I thought that was odd.

"When we were in the hot-tub one night she was watching from her bedroom window and came down to us. She started to stop us spending private time together."

During the day, however, when Alice was at work, Simon and Magda were growing closer and closer, and Simon was feeling increasingly isolated from his wife.

He said: "As I spent more time with Magda, it was an easier relationship than I had with Alice at the time.

"We didn't have the worries, the history, we didn't have any arguments.

"More and more it was Magda I had the fun with, who wanted the same things as me, who joked about the same things as me and Alice became more alienated.

"I was aware that Magda was using the situation but it was impossible to ignore it when she was walking round in a towel or just a dressing gown. After three months it was obvious if there was an opportunity something would occur."

Simon, also a former lance-corporal with the Royal Welch Fusiliers, says he felt more and more neglected by Alice, who spent much of her time with the children.

He said: "There are two double beds and the children and Alice were in one and I was in the other. We were quite hostile towards each other and I felt angry.

"One day while Alice was at work, I started to have a drink and the obvious happened. It was very much hidden away, very clandestine.

"I thought it was necessary because I was regaining some of my power. I was moving myself back to the man I wanted to be. If I couldn't have control financially, professionally or socially, I thought I could have control in the bedroom. It was a way of making myself feel useful, needed and wanted."

Lady Alice admits she was aware there was some kind of attraction between the two - but didn't worry because she thought Simon would never reciprocate Magda's lust.

But she was devastated when she discovered Simon had indeed been sleeping with Magda.

She said: "I thought I heard a noise in Magda's room so I went up to check. I hadn't been up there for ages and it was an absolute mess. I saw a climbing magazine with Simon's writing on it and realised what had happened.

"I was in complete shock. I absolutely couldn't believe it. I just thought in that moment that my marriage had gone."

Alice confronted Simon and, after he eventually admitted an affair, asked him to leave.

Simon, a former drug addict, said the old familiar feelings of failure came flooding back.

He said: "I had the same feeling as when I'd made all the other stupid mistakes in my life. A feeling of wanting to be in control and strong overwhelmed me and I went to get Magda and took her with me. We stayed in a B&B."

Alice admitted: "It never occurred to me that he would pick her up too and he was incredibly spiteful when he rang me, saying he had a beautiful 20-year-old girlfriend and she was going to be a huge part in his life and his children's lives.

"I felt devastated and the most incredible rage.

"He humiliated me in front of her, around the kids, and that's all really hard."

But the fling was doomed to failure. Simon was ashamed of walking out on his wife and kids - just as his own father had done - and he still loved Alice desperately.

He said: "I'd done the one thing that I swore I would never do. I did what my father did and I was going to find it hard to live with myself. I was still desperately in love with Alice. I'd lost my children, my wife, my home. I bartered with myself that I would give it some time and if it didn't work. I was going to do what I always planned for the end - which was drugs and oblivion."

The affair had lasted barely 21 days.

Six weeks later, after much soul-searching, Lady Alice allowed the man who had betrayed her back into their home, a converted chapel in Capel Curig.

The children missed him and, as a way of earning money, she paid him a salary to look after the kids.

She said: "There are parts of every day when things are just as they've always been.

"When I look at the children at home I think I can't take that away.

"He loves them unconditionally and you can't replace that.

"We've been through so much together and we know each other inside out."



  • Marriage: Simon Melia, divorce pending July 2005

Hero Melia reached the finals of Sky talent contest Must Be the Music,

Currently (July 2009) living in her boarding house with photographer Steve Peake

See also: The Curse of the Queensberrys


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