Alexander McQueen’s best friend Annabelle Neilson dead at 49

Alexander McQueen’s best friend Annabelle Neilson dead at 49

The party-loving ex-wife of millionaire banker Nat Rothschild, Annabelle Neilson, has died at the age of 49.

The onetime model turned Ladies Of London reality star died on Thursday, with police confirming an ambulance had been called to her £3.1million ($4.1million) home in Chelsea, London. The death is not being treated as suspicious, police told DailyMail.com.

Annabelle was a great friend of cover girl Kate Moss and also close to the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, after becoming his muse aged just 22.

The last person to see McQueen alive, she was left devastated by his death.

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Tragic friends: Alexander McQueen’s best friend Annabelle Neilson has passed away aged 49; the two are seen in 2009

‘He was my brother, my boyfriend, my soulmate. Most of the time people called me Mrs McQueen. Quite often we were sharing a bed,’ she told the Daily Mail in 2015.

‘The truth is I was happier with Lee than with anyone else. He asked me to marry him towards the end and I said no. I wish now that I had said yes.’    

A British aristocrat, Annabelle shocked high society when she eloped to Las Vegas with Nat Rothschild in 1994.

Rothschild is the only son and heir of banker Jacob Rothschild, and is in line to become the fifth Baron Rothschild and inherit around £500million on his father’s death. 

The last picture: Annabelle is seen with Alice Temperley, Kimi Hammerstroem and Kate Mossat the wedding of her ex-boyfriend, Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire last week 

Exes: Annabelle divorced Nat Rothschild (right) in 1997 and she reportedly received a generous financial settlement in return for rescinding the dynastic name and signing a confidentiality agreement. She later dated Edward Spencer Churchill, the Duke Of Marlborough’s half-brother; the two are pictured right in 2008

The former couple met on a beach in India, and a close family friend told the Daily Mail at the time of their divorce that Rothschild’s parents had been ‘appalled’ by their then 23-year-old son’s ‘vulgar’ choice of wife.

After just three years of marriage, marked by hard-partying and cataclysmic rows, the couple split and Annabelle reportedly received a generous financial settlement in return for rescinding the dynastic name and signing a confidentiality agreement.

Rothschild reportedly went on to date Natalie Portman and Ivanka Trump, before marrying a topless model, Loretta Basey, two years ago.

Annabelle went on to date Edward Spencer Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough’s half-brother, with the exes remaining close after their break-up. 

Indeed the last picture of Annabelle was taken at his marriage last week, held at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. She posed happily alongside her friend Kate Moss in the image.  

Reality star: The late model is pictured in Spain on June 17, in a picture from her Instagram

On the small screen: She starred in two seasons of Bravo’s Ladies of London from 2014 to 2015

While her ex-husband’s parents were not pleased by their son’s choice of wife, Annabelle was in fact very well connected – her paternal grandmother was a second cousin of the late Queen Mother.

The brunette beauty was the daughter of Elizabeth, the Marquesa Campus di Santinelli, while her first cousin was the Earl of Warwick. As a young girl Annabelle enjoyed play dates at Warwick Castle. 

Growing up, she divided her time between the family’s country estate – Chiltern House in The Chilterns – and a home in West London. 

However despite her gilded upbringing, Annabelle’s childhood was far from easy. Severely dyslexic, she was badly bullied at her exclusive private school and left at 16 without any qualifications.

She headed to Australia to stay with family friends, but while there was the victim of a horrific assault. Her attacker, later convicted of killing three women, tied her to a tree and beat her for two hours, leaving her in need of reconstructive surgery.

Left depressed, she was a heroin addict by the time she turned 16. She managed to get herself off hard drugs, but said they helped her survive the brutal experience.

‘In a way, heroin saved me because otherwise I would have killed myself,’ she told the Daily Mail. 

Famous friends: The former model is pictured with Sadie Frost and Kate Moss back in 2015

Model royalty: With Kate and Naomi Campbell in 2010 at the Relief Haiti London show

Tall, beautiful and well connected, the young brunette turned to modelling – a decision which changed the course of her life.

It was her work as a muse for McQueen that put Annabelle on the fashion map, after they met when she was just 22.

They were introduced by the late Tatler fashion editor Isabella Blow, who was then the muse of celebrated milliner Philip Treacy.

‘Issie brought me to Lee as a model. She presented me to him as his new girl. Lee loved me immediately and it felt like we knew each other straight away,’ Annabelle told the Daily Mail in 2015.

‘We were so alike. He was also dyslexic; he mirrored me in so many ways.’

High society: Annabelle with Meg Mathews, John Galliano and Vanessa Perander in 2000 at a Vogue party in Monte Carlo

Party life: With designer friends Galliano and McQueen in 2000

Brit pack: With Sophie Dahl and Orlando Bloom in 1998 in Mayfair, Lo

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