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How chain-smoking, tattooed Lady Venetia Baring – who claims her grandmother ‘didn’t really like’ Princess Diana – says she lives ‘paycheque to paycheque’

A chain smoking 25-year-old socialite who is covered in tattoos and says she lives ‘paycheque to paycheque’ is hoping to be the new ‘unladylike’ face of aristocracy.

Lady Venetia Baring wants to show people that it doesn’t have to be ‘some stuffy, outdated and possibly ignorant existence’.

Speaking to Tatler, the daughter of the 4th Earl of Cromer and his second wife Shelley Hu Cheng-Yu, opened up about carving out her own identity despite a strict, stately upbringing.

She has featured in campaigns for Nike and Dr Martens – even snagging a small cameo in Disney’s 2023 superhero film The Marvels. 

However, despite her being related to two opulent families, the Barings and the Rothermeres, Venetia says her life is that of a regular person.

Speaking to Tatler , Lady Venetia Baring – the daughter of the 4th Earl of Cromer – opened up about carving out her own identity despite her strict, stately upbringing

‘Some people automatically think I have a stately home and a butler. And that’s not my life,’ she told the outlet.

The social media savvy model, who has 19,500 followers on Instagram, insisted that none of her friends even know that she has a title.

Venetia – who recently spent her time enjoying the company of some of society’s best and brightest, including Princess Vittoria of Savoy, Freddie Knatchbull and Tara DuRoss – at the Tatler’s Little Black Book party explained how her aesthetics have served as her form of rebellion.

The aristocrat’s public display of brightly coloured hair, piercings and ‘tomboy’ fashion are a way to ‘celebrate her body’ and ‘feel empowered’.

Her childhood saw Venetia growing up between houses in Sloane Square, Somerset – at a now-sold Garde-II listed former rectory – and Thailand.

Aged 10, Venetia was sent off to a boarding school, St Mary’s Calne in Wiltshire, where she enjoyed seven fond years of memories and made lifelong friends.

But her rebellious nature shined even then – she was caught smoking, sneaking out of school and even making clandestine trips to London for ‘squat raves’.

After graduating, she enrolled at Manchester University to study history of art but found it surprisingly difficult to mesh with people who were of a similar educational background to her.

Venetia said: ‘They were all on my course. I mean, only boarding-school people do history of art. But they just weren’t, like, welcoming to me. It was a bit confusing. So I went out and made my own friends.’ 

The aristocrat's public display of her brightly coloured hair, piercings and 'tomboy' fashion are a way to 'celebrate her body' and 'feel empowered'

The aristocrat’s public display of her brightly coloured hair, piercings and ‘tomboy’ fashion are a way to ‘celebrate her body’ and ‘feel empowered’

Venetia - who is also close with her brother Alexander - has also reconnected with her mother Shelley, who also lives in London and has a jewellery business, admitting she wants the pair to take a bonding trip to China together

Venetia – who is also close with her brother Alexander – has also reconnected with her mother Shelley, who also lives in London and has a jewellery business, admitting she wants the pair to take a bonding trip to China together

With uni came her parents’ divorce – which pulled Venetia into a depression, and affected her studies – as her mother and father ‘really heavily dragged her into it’.

She moved back to the capital in 2018, where her mental health bettered after she began working as a bartender in Brixton’s Canova Hall. There, she met her boyfriend Sasha, who was working as a chef. The couple recently celebrated their four year anniversary.

Venetia – who is also close with her brother Alexander – has also since reconnected with her mother Shelley, who also lives in London and has a jewellery business, admitting she wants the pair to take a bonding trip to China together.

However, she has drifted away from her father – Evelyn, 77. 

‘He got remarried to a very beautiful, young Thai girl… that’s a bit complicated,’ she admitted. ‘As I get older, I realise that she [Shelley] was really hurt and he [Evelyn] was panicking. And, like, they’re human, they’re always gonna mess up, like we do. So I shouldn’t expect too much.’ 

In her online portfolio, Venetia says she runs a workshop called Divurgent for creatives – ‘where models, photographers and creatives can come together, to learn and grow hone their skills, and build a community here in London’.

She moved back to the capital in 2018, where her mental health bettered after she began working as a bartender in Brixton's Canova Hall. There, she met her boyfriend Sasha (both pictured), who was working as a chef

She moved back to the capital in 2018, where her mental health bettered after she began working as a bartender in Brixton’s Canova Hall. There, she met her boyfriend Sasha (both pictured), who was working as a chef

In her online portfolio, Venetia says she runs a workshop called Divurgent for creatives. Pictured with her guinea pig

In her online portfolio, Venetia says she runs a workshop called Divurgent for creatives. Pictured with her guinea pig

A chain smoking 25-year-old socialite who is covered in tattoos and says she lives 'paycheque to paycheque' is hoping to be the new 'unladylike' face of artistocracy and wants to show people that it doesn't have to be 'some stuffy, outdated and possibly ignorant existence'

A chain smoking 25-year-old socialite who is covered in tattoos and says she lives ‘paycheque to paycheque’ is hoping to be the new ‘unladylike’ face of artistocracy and wants to show people that it doesn’t have to be ‘some stuffy, outdated and possibly ignorant existence’

It comes as, in a withering letter to The Times, Lord Cromer responded to claims from his daughter’s Tatler interview that his mother wasn’t a fan of the late Princess Diana.

‘Lady Venetia Baring alleges that my late mother, the Dowager Countess of Cromer, said “She really didn’t like Diana” and that “Diana should get a grip”,’ he said.

The Old Etonian peer then made it plain that it is, in his opinion, inconceivable that his mother would ever have uttered such words, noting that she ‘served the late Queen for 17 years and was rewarded for her loyalty, work and affection by a CVO’.

‘Throughout her long service my mother was the soul of discretion,’ he added, pointing out that his mother would ‘no doubt’ have learnt the necessity for such discretion while married to his father, who was successively Governor of the Bank of England and then British ambassador to Washington. 

‘It would be totally alien to my mother to make a comment on a member of the Royal Family to anybody, least of all to one of her grandchildren,’ concludes Lord Cromer, ‘and especially to Lady Venetia Baring, my daughter, who was born after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.’

Evelyn is now divorced from Venetia’s mother Shelley, and living in Thailand with his third wife, Jiraporn Buengman.

See the full feature in the February issue of Tatler available via digital download and on newsstands from Thursday 1 February.

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