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James cut his teeth in finance in the mid-Nineties, after leaving Uppingham, the £34,000-a-year Rutland public school, eschewing university to train as a trader at Spear Leeds & Kellog, a City firm now owned by Goldman Sachs.In 1994, aged 18, he won the British and European Formula Renault championship for Manor Motorsport, beating Formula 1 legend Alain Prost’s record of ten consecutive wins, and winning 17 out of 22 championship races that year.‘James was a fantastic driver and very, very talented,’ Manor Motorsport founder John Booth told me.Indeed, in the early 2000s, James bought a house opposite the U. Embassy in Mayfair, before selling it a few years later and moving to a huge Notting Hill mansion whose previous owners include Nick Jones, the Soho House founder, and Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young.He is applying to build a first-floor extension that will allow a ‘vanity basin’ complete with ‘his and hers sinks’ to be added to the bathroom, along with male and female dressing rooms off the master bedroom.In the context of such lurid episodes, Spencer’s small aside about his elder brother made little impact. For James just happens to have a new ‘incredible girlfriend’ on his arm — Britain’s most eligible young woman: Pippa Middleton.Rumours of a relationship first emerged in the public domain in October, when James Matthews, a 40-year-old hedge fund manager, was spotted arriving at his Chelsea home with Ms Middleton, 32, late one evening.Like Pippa, he is the grandchild of a coalminer from the north of England.Like Pippa, he boasts a parent of humble origin who has achieved great wealth: Carole Middleton is a former air hostess who grew up in a council flat, while James’s father David made millions in the car trade after starting out as a trainee mechanic in Rotherham. For while both families hobnob with either royalty or international celebrities (who stay at the Matthews’ Eden Rock hotel), they also feature black sheep.
In 1966, having built up a reputation on the Northern racing circuit, David married a pioneering female racing driver called Anita Taylor, who was known in gossip columns as ‘the most beautiful driver in the business’.
Often, he takes part to raise money for a charity set up in memory of his brother, Michael, who died in 1999, shortly after becoming the youngest-ever Briton to scale Mount Everest.
Perhaps more intriguing still is the colourful nature of the extended family from which Matthew hails — which has a number of uncanny similarities to that of his new girlfriend.
While Pippa might be delighted at the prospect of such domesticity, four neighbours have complained.
Yet if the life of James Matthews sounds glamorous, it’s nothing compared to that of his father David Matthews, a sun-tanned 72-year-old known by the nickname ‘The Band’ after an American rock group namesake.He had some absolutely incredible girlfriends.’ Pippa is looking as fit as ever in this red Vi X bikini.