When Julie Fisher, a hard-working single parent originally from Illinois, met her future husband at a London drinks party in 2003, she had no idea he was an aristocrat or that she was destined to become Viscountess Hinchingbrooke. All she knew was that Luke Montagu ran a film school and lived near her. They shared a passion for movies and, appropriately enough, went to their local cinema for their first date.
A deep bond gradually developed between the pair. Imagine Julie’s shock, then, when she glanced at her partner’s credit card after they’d been together for a few months and discovered it said Viscount Hinchingbrooke. Modest Luke hadn’t mentioned to her that he was the bearer of a noble title.
Steep Learning Curve for the Future Viscountess
Perhaps Julie’s partner was worried that she might be overwhelmed by the idea of being in a relationship with a member of the British aristocracy. After all, there’s no peerage system in the US; and although many Americans are fascinated by elite English titles (a significant number of the individuals who purchase our aristocratic-style titles live in the States), Julie herself was not familiar with them.
On her hugely popular YouTube channel, American Viscountess, Julie Montagu (as she’s now known) freely admits that back in 2003 she didn’t know how to pronounce ‘Viscount’. She assumed the word rhymed with ‘discount’ until her future husband gently explained that his prestigious title is in fact pronounced ‘Vie-count’. This marked the beginning of a steep learning curve for the soon-to-be Viscountess.
Heir to the 11th Earl of Sandwich
There was another shock in store for Julie when Luke told her about the Montagus’ noble heritage. He revealed that his father is the 11th Earl of Sandwich and that he himself will ultimately become the 12th Earl. In other words, he’ll adopt a title even more prestigious than that of Viscount Hinchingbrooke. (In England, Viscount titles have been created by the monarch since the 15th century. Viscounts occupy the fourth rank of the peerage, with Earls directly above them; hence the latter are regarded as superior in terms of status.)
You’ve almost certainly heard of the Earls of Sandwich. In 1762, the 4th Earl dreamt up the idea of placing a tasty filling between two slices of bread, thereby revolutionising mealtimes. In recent years, the 11th Earl, alongside Viscount Hinchingbrooke’s younger brother, has established the Earl of Sandwich restaurant chain, which is primarily based in the US. No prizes for guessing what’s on the menu!
When Julie married into the Montagu family in 2004, becoming Viscountess Hinchingbrooke in the process, the wedding venue was Mapperton House, Dorset. It’s been the country seat associated with the Sandwich earldom since the mid-1950s (the Earls previously resided at Hinchingbrooke House, Cambridgeshire).
Named England’s finest manor house by Country Life magazine, Mapperton is a Grade I listed Jacobean residence set on a 2,000-acre estate with stunning views of the South West. You’ll have seen the award-winning Mapperton gardens and parts of the house itself if you’ve watched the 2020 Netflix film Rebecca, based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel.
Adapting to Life as an American Aristocrat
How well has Julie Montagu, a self-proclaimed ‘all-American girl’, adapted to life as Viscountess Hinchingbrooke? Exceptionally well, we think, and high-society magazine Tatler agrees. The Viscountess, it emphasises, ‘is a very impressive woman’ who’s deeply committed to looking after Mapperton. (She reminds us of the Countess of Carnarvon, who does such an amazing job as a custodian of Highclere Castle in Hampshire, known to millions as Downton Abbey.)
Resourceful and pragmatic, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke is preserving Mapperton’s heritage, raising its profile and helping to secure its future. She and her husband ‘share the joys and challenges of life on a 21st-century English country estate’ in their series Mapperton Live, which is enjoyed by elite lifestyle enthusiasts. Viewers’ donations support the estate (which costs around £200,000 per year to maintain).
The Viscountess has helped Mapperton to become an elite wedding venue and yoga retreat. Plus, she’s on hand to run guided tours and virtual tours.
Viscountess Hinchingbrooke may not be from an aristocratic background, but she’s enhanced Mapperton and the Montagu family in numerous ways.
Order Your Very Own Elite Title
Of course, this isn’t the same as joining the aristocracy. But it’s affordable, great fun and potentially life enhancing, as our clients around the world know.
Don’t delay – order your Non-Seated title from Elite Titles today!