Ruling his £14.5 billion empire with the same authority as Henry VIII, the parallels between Rupert Murdoch and the Coppernose king do not stop there.
For following the collapse of his fourth marriage to former supermodel Jerry Hall, the Australian media titan is quickly notching up a list of ex-wives only the Tudor monarch could attest to.
But whereas Henry hatched, matched and dispatched his spouses, doing away with the need for hefty settlements, the ‘Koala Kong’ is once again in line for a multi-million-pound payoff.
However, the billion-dollar question many, including veteran divorce lawyers, have asked is just what caused the collapse of a seemingly happy marriage.
“What is really going on here is the big question,” solicitor Vanessa Lloyd-Platt told the Mirror. “What happened that caused it to go from love to dissatisfaction and disillusionment.”
“It’s a huge mystery. There’s no commentary from anybody speaking on their behalf at the moment. Has their love just faded out or is there something else?”
She continued: “The other question is why now? The interesting thing is that if Jerry decided to bring the marriage to an end, why would she choose it now?
“She married an 84-year-old, you would think if you were marrying an 84-year-old, you’d stick in there. Because he’s 91, with the greatest of respects, he’s not going to be around much longer.
“So you’d have thought she would have waited. Does it mean there’s no point in her waiting because the prenup is so ironclad?”
Whatever the cause of the collapse, speculation is now rife over how the six-year union will be settled and how the couple’s £270 million property empire will be divided.
Previously his wives have all signed pre and post-nuptial agreements, and there is little doubt his marriage to Hall, 65, would be any different.
Experts believe that thoughts the Texan supermodel – worth a reported £10 million in March 2016 when they married – will have her VIP lifestyle bankrolled in perpetuity are premature.
Whereas all three of his previous marriages produced children, the ageing couple had none.
Ms Lloyd-Platt said: “One of the important aspects of this before people start getting very excited that she’s going to come out with billions is the fact it’s a six-year marriage with no children from it. That is crucial.”
“So that even if there isn’t a prenup, she is not going to be one of these people like his second wife Anna Mann, who he was married to for 32 years, that is going to come out with £1.3 billion. That is pie in the sky.”
The divorce lawyer, however, said she would be “beyond shocked” if Murdoch and Hall had not an “ironclad” agreement before saying ‘I do’.
“I think once you’ve been through three costly divorces, having a generous prenup is not something Rupert would do,” she told the Mirror.
“He would be very aware that when she came into the marriage, she had her own assets. But given he’s the shrewdest businessman that has ever been – maybe not so shrewd in his marriages – he will have tied up all his empire into a completely tight trust.
“There is no way that a man like this will not have a prenup. I may be wrong. Love may have conquered all, but I suspect he has. He’s a very savvy man.”
Legal experts suggested Murdoch’s children would have urged him to have an agreement that would have contained ‘prenups with the prenup’ to protect his worldwide assets.
Famously, the family’s shares in the companies he founded – The Sun and The Times newspapers in the UK, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal in the States and papers in his native Australia – reside in a tightly managed trust.
Murdoch splits voting rights with his four oldest children – Lachlan, Elisabeth, James and Prudence – and has arranged them so that he can never be outvoted.
Rather than see his multi-billionaire pound fortune put at risk, legal experts believe the severance will, at most, see only the £270 million property empire the couple built together in the UK and US fought over.
In 2019, they purchased an £11.25 million Georgian property near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. A year later, they had snapped up Great Tew Manor – a ‘doer-upper’ in the Cotswolds which was earmarked for a £30 million restoration project.
Only six months ago, the couple spent £228 million on a 340,000-acre cattle ranch near Yellowstone Park in the US begging more questions as to just what went on since Christmas.
Solicitors believe Murdoch would likely have put clauses in place “ring-fenced” any money he had made before marrying Hall and that he later ploughed into their homes.
However, despite his 91 years and albeit now hard of hearing, those who know the businessman say there has been no let-up in his legendary work ethic since tying the knot six years ago.
Although, at the time of his marriage, he took to Twitter vowing to stop posting on the platform while calling himself “the luckiest and happiest man in the world,” any hopes he’d be a stay-at-home husband were fanciful.
Hall’s marriage to Murdoch was her first after previously being in a long-term relationship with Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger.
Together she and the singer – who wed in Bali but which was later ruled not legally binding – share four children, however, the two never wed during their 22-year relationship.
Her other conquests are said to have included cricketer Shane Warne, Bryan Ferry and Andy Warhol.
The 6ft former model – who even without heels stands taller than her soon-to-be ex-husband – is said to have fallen for Murdoch after telling friends she likes a man with strong opinions.
They met in Australia in the summer of 2015 when Hall was touring with The Graduate, in which she played the predatory older love interest, Mrs Robinson.
They were introduced by Penny Fowler, niece of Murdoch’s sister Janet Calvert-Jones and “got on immediately”.
Following a whirlwind romance, they married at St Bride’s Church in central London, later having pictures taken surrounded by all their kids collected throughout their marriages.
The father-of-six is no stranger to the divorce courts.
Murdoch first married Patricia Booker in 1956. A former flight attendant from Melbourne, they had a daughter, Prudence, who was born two years after Hall, but the marriage was to fail, and they divorced in 1967.
Months later, he went on to wed Scottish-born journalist Mann, who used to work for his Sydney paper, The Daily Telegraph.
While Murdoch continued to build his global empire, they had three children – Elisabeth, Lachlan and James – before the marriage broke down.
The divorce was one of the most expensive separations in history, costing the tycoon £1.1billion.
However, not put off after his second divorce, he jumped straight back into marriage, tying the knot with Wendi Deng just 17 days after his settlement was agreed with ex-wife Anna.
But it would prove not to be third time lucky, and they too went their separate ways with Deng saying in court papers filed in New York in 2013, “the relationship has been irretrievably broken for the last six months”.
The allegations centred upon reports in the US that Murdoch found a note claimed to have been in Deng’s handwriting.
According to US magazine Vanity Fair, it read: “Whatever why I’m so so missing Tony. Because he is so so charming and his clothes are so good.
“He has such a good body and he has really really good legs butt… And he is slim tall and good skin.
“Pierce blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. Also I love his power on the stage… and what else and what else and what else…”
The note, discovered at Murdoch’s home in California, is believed to be in Deng’s handwriting.
Sources say the billionaire had grown suspicious before asking an employee if the former Labour leader had ever been to his house while he was not there.
He was told Mr Blair, who has been married to barrister Cherie since 1980, had spent time at his home.
According to American reports at the time, Ms Deng had told Murdoch, who owns the Sun and The Times, she was having her friends over to their Californian ranch.
At the time of their divorce, they too had an impressive property portfolio.
They had lived in a £30 million Fifth Avenue penthouse previously owned by Laurance S. Rockefeller but also had an impressive portfolio of homes in Los Angeles, London, Canberra, Australia, Carmel, California, and Centre Island, New York.
Representatives for Mr Murdoch and Ms Hall were unavailable for comment.
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