From socialite to scandal
In 1885 scandal broke and hit the front pages. Beatie appeared in court with a man twice her age; he was married with five children. She and Charles Hoare, a banking heir, were accused of breaking a court ruling forbidding them to have contact. They’d been living together for two years but had first met years before.
As the scandal unfolded it emerged that Beatie had been banished to live with relatives at remote Berkeley Castle. Her father, Arthur Sumner, discovered that Charles had been found in Beatie's bedroom ‘in circumstances which he could not satisfactorily explain’. Undeterred, the couple continued to exchange letters. It was even rumoured that Beatie had staged a riding accident leading her to be bedridden, and therefore closer to Charles.
At the end of his tether, Arthur shockingly had Beatie declared a ward of court, the couple now legally bound against communicating. Arthur’s troubles continued in other areas of life as his debts mounted. Astonishingly, as a solution to the family's financial worries, Mrs Sumner demanded £3,000 from Charles Hoare and left the country for Germany with Beatie and her Uncle Fitz in tow. In yet another twist, unknown to Mrs Sumner, Fitz already owed money to Charles Hoare and ended up passing letters between the forbidden couple.
In 1883 Beatie turned 21 and, no longer under court protection, moved in with Charles instantly. It was not to be happily ever after, the relationship crumbling when Charles heard about the contempt of court case being built against him. Fitz confessed his involvement alongside testimonies from servants who had been party to their secret meetings.