string(4) "home"
Emerald Fennell Saltburn director parents private school net worth life

Private school and a diamond empire: Inside Emerald Fennell’s very Saltburn life

There are a LOT of similarities between her and Felix Catton


Yes, Saltburn was released in November. But it’s still a major talking point amongst those who’ve watched it – and if you haven’t seen it you’re really missing out – this film has it all. From slightly creepy butlers, weirdo Norman-no-mates mathematicians, and posh people playing tennis in black tie with fizz, to suspiciously cloudy bathwater and dads who are a bit too into karaoke and suits of armour.

How did Emerald Fennell nail the upper class attitudes, fashion, unspoken rules, and predilections for snorting more powder than is on the slopes of Courchevel and chinning the finest bottles of Dom Perignon? Well, it might have something to do with her background, upbringing and private life, which bears a startling resemblance to some key aspects (and costume choices) of the film:

Director? I don’t even know her…

In case you’re not familiar, Emerald Fennell  is a 38-year-old actress and director, known for her roles in the Crown, Call the Midwife and the Barbie movie, as well as directing A Promising Young Woman. More recently, Fennel burst to the fore of the pop culture scene with Saltburn – a film which quickly established a serious cult following.

And looking at her private life and upbringing, the director’s childhood summers seem not to be very far removed from the Cattons.

Daddy’s diamond mines

Born in Hammersmith, Emerald Fennell is the daughter of the “King of Bling”, Theo Fennell – a jewellery designer with a net worth of over £5 million. He is known to have catered to such names as Madonna, Naomi Campbell, the Beckhams and the Rolling Stones, amongst others.

In an interview given to the Observer, Fennell said that “we’ve never tailored our business to suit new money”, which seems mildly hypocritical given that he hails from a military background and has said himself that he fell into the jewellery business by chance after having attended the ever-famous, ever-illustrious Eton College. Theo Fennell almost passes for one of the old money crowd- much like Oliver in his rented suit.

Obviously, the diamond industry is notoriously bloodstained given the innumerable conflicts sparked over precious gems in Africa. Theo has said in an interview with the Independent in 2006 his diamonds adhere to the Kimberley Process – an initiative put in place to staunch the flow of blood-diamonds into the jewellery markets – but hasn’t distinguished whether the Fennell empire uses “fair trade” diamonds in all its jewellery.

Private Education and private parties

Educated at Marlborough College, with annual school fees set at an eye-watering £15,665 per term, Emerald Fennell was at the same institution as Princess Eugenie, Pippa Middleton and the Princess of Wales, within years of each other.

On top of that, Emerald’s 18th was documented by Tatler (the notorious high society magazine) and was attended by Poppy Delevingne, as well as other members of the aristocracy. Tatler reports a father of one of Emerald’s friends “arrived with angel wings attached to the back of his suit”. I’m starting to see some inspiration for Saltburn ‘s Midsummer Night’s Dream soiree already, I don’t know about you guys…

K.J Yossman, an international correspondent at Variety who went to Oxford with Fennell, said in an article released earlier this month that her peer was “part of a rarefied…social set whose family names I recognised from gossip columns and history books… Balfour, Frost, von Bismarck, Guinness, Shaffer.”

Clearly, Emerald is comfortable moving in similar circles to Felix Catton. So much so that in 2006, when Emerald and KJ were on the board for a charity fashion show at Oxford, a select group of students received silver embossed invitations to the event in their college pigeon holes. But the rest of the student populace? Just like Oliver, they were NFI— not fucking invited.

So, to some degree, Emerald Fennell is definitely speaking from experience in her direction of Saltburn – although I am quite sure that Barry Keoghan hasn’t bare-bum-boogied his way through her family home.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Right, was Barry Keoghan wearing a prosthetic in THAT Saltburn final scene

• Okay, this is why everyone’s accusing Jacob Elordi of ‘queerbaiting’ right now

• A-list stars and nepo babies: Inside Jacob Elordi’s long and winding relationship history