In a loosely colorful book, Restoration Heart, William Cash reveals the unprecedented story of how our prime minister agreed to have him raise his secret daughter – before it all ended in tears.
William had a relationship with Helen Macintyre and the couple discussed their planned future together when she told him that Boris was the daughter of her daughter Stephanie.
The bomb had to be kept a secret, so William agreed to help Stephanie raise and was even willing to raise her as his own daughter.
It was a plan Boris agreed to, but everything went wrong when Helen & # 39; s former boyfriend leaked the secret to the media, causing William & # 39; s wedding plans to go up in smoke.
I still have the receipt for lunch at Mark's Club in Mayfair.
I can see it was long and that we were finished on the empty roof terrace with two glasses of Courvoisier when Helen smoked her Silk Cut.
I remember the electric heaters that glowed above us in the air of the metal when we talked about my divorces and its failed relationships.
We talked about our future together – and how I hoped Helen would trust me as the stepfather of her beautiful daughter.
I still have the receipt for lunch at Mark's Club in Mayfair. I can see it was long and that we were finished on the empty roof terrace with two glasses of Courvoisier when Helen smoked her Silk Cut, writes WILLIAM CASH. Above: Mr Cash celebrates with Helen Macintyre on her birthday in 2010
But above all, I remember the explosive impact of what followed:
& # 39; William, & # 39; she said. "I think there is something you need to know. About Stephanie's father.
"Nobody else knows except my family. This must absolutely stay between us and you can't tell anyone. & # 39;
& # 39; No secrets then, & # 39; I said.
"I've known him for years," she went on. "I am an art advisor for the London mayor's office. He is smart and funny. One day he may even be prime minister.
& # 39; I'm so torn apart, William. He sends me a text all the time, but I never know what's coming. & # 39;
I swallowed hard.
"What is he really nice about?" I asked. & # 39; Did you love him? & # 39;
I did not want to use the present tense. This should not change anything between Helen and me, I told myself when I handed out my cognac.
But I was wrong. Spectacularly wrong. The B-Bombshell would ruin everything.
Why did I bring Helen Macintyre to Mark's club, the private club where I had my wedding lunch after each of my two failed marriages?
Was it a conscious choice, an attempt to erase the past? There was certainly enough to forget.
The beginning of that year had been gloomy. Still injured by my second divorce, at the age of 43 I had no children yet.
And to make matters worse, the old mansion that was the other passion of my life was again in serious decline.
Even today, Upton Cressett's diamond-shaped windows and stacks of turned chimneys look like they had done 450 years earlier.
It is an authentic Elizabethan building if you will find it in England.
It became my home in the early 1970s when my & # 39; repair-a-wreck & & # 39; parents left Islington in North London for a ruined ruin in Shropshire.
It had always been my dream to live there with my own family, although this seemed to be an ever-increasing prospect.
My first whirlwind wedding had been with Ilaria Bulgari from the famous Italian jewelry family and lasted just over three years.
Mrs. Macintyre and Mr. Cash spoke together about our future – how he hoped Helen would trust him as her beautiful daughter's stepfather. She then told him that her daughter Stephanie & # 39; s father was Boris Johnson (pictured above in 2010, during his time as mayor)
I got divorce papers on the eve of my 40th birthday after my wife organized a dinner for me, but then didn't appear.
Then Dr. Vanessa Neumann, a beauty with green eyes known in the diary page & # 39; s as the "Cracker from Caracas" due to her Venezuelan descent and because she had dated Mick Jagger before.
I suggested a ring produced from a sock in the middle of a tropical storm.
This time we have lasted less than 12 months.
Now that I felt past my prime, I was faced with the double task of finding a chatelaine for Upton Cressett and renovating the oldest brick mansion in the county. Solo.
To paraphrase Jane Austen, I was a single man in possession of a good home – and very much in need of a woman.
For five intense months in 2010, I thought I found the answer in the form of an art dealer as beautiful as it was mysterious.
Helen Macintyre had her own gallery in St James & # 39; s with a cozy office on the top floor with a chartreuse-green velvet sofa.
She radiated Parisian glamor from the 50s, spoke different languages and often sat at a table outside Franco & # 39; s restaurant on Jermyn Street with a cigarette in her hand and her two dachshunds – Monty and Carlo – nestled on her lap in a dark fur coat.
Helen was far from my competition as a potential girlfriend and already had a very rich Canadian boyfriend named Pierre Rolin, a project developer who flew her around the world with a private jet.
We had met for the first time two years earlier, in the lobby of the Grosvenor House hotel.
I already knew a little about Helen. I heard she was friends with people like TV interviewer Andrew Neil, that she was close to the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, for whom she was an unpaid & # 39; art advisor & # 39; and that she lived in a large mansion in Belgravia with a chef, a butler and a driver.
At the time I was a journalist who was instructed to interview a Qatari prince who organized an exhibition of his photos – hawks, sunsets in the desert and so on – in a Mayfair gallery.
It was the official Monday just before my wedding in June with Vanessa, but I dutifully showed up to meet the organizer of the show, who happened to be Helen.
She entered the hotel lobby at 9 am in a cream-colored Chanel suit and introduced herself.
& # 39; Hello, & # 39; she said in a disarmingly open way. Her Delft blue eyes flashed. She smelled like Dior and Silk Cut.
At the time I was deeply in love with Vanessa, excited about the prospect of becoming her husband in a few days.
But the first moment I met Helen & # 39; s eyes, a wick blew into me.
I heard myself ask banal questions about the Qatari photos while another dialogue was going on in my mind: "If I didn't marry Vanessa, I would marry Helen, or at least try."
Absurd but true.
Helen Macintyre posed for a glamorous magazine in 2010. She and Boris Johnson had a child together
We became friends and – with my marriage to Vanessa who collapsed after a few months – trusted confidants. Helen, I realized, belonged in a novel by Thackeray, an enigma wrapped in mink.
When she invited me to her home, the butler was wearing white gloves and a rare vintage Château d'Yquem was served with foie gras.
Pierre, the boyfriend, was nowhere in sight.
We sat at opposite ends of a huge polished mahogany dining table. Before dinner she asked me to choose some wine.
& # 39; Help yourself to a few from the rack, & # 39; she said. "I don't drink." This was unusual.
There was none of the usual things about Waitrose or Tesco. Instead, the kitchen rack was piled with dusty £ 500 bottles of Latour, Pétrus, and the like.
Not long after that I received a phone call. Helen wanted to meet me at The Wolseley restaurant in Piccadilly for a drink.
& # 39; I am pregnant, & # 39; she announced, disarming frankly as always. This was the summer of 2008 – the baby was due to arrive in November.
I congratulated her, but felt that there was more going on.
"Pierre is like a nomad," she explained. & # 39; No matter how glamorous the planes, yachts and holidays sounded, I was pretty lonely because he was hardly around.
"He rented a yacht for two weeks in the south of France last summer and I was usually on deck with only the captain and the crew.
"Something was wrong. I could not figure out how my life had ended this way. And then I became pregnant. "
I went to see her at Portland Hospital in London when she had a daughter, Stephanie, named after Helen's sister, who died young.
We shared a glass of champagne while she showed her baby, a beautiful bundle with a shock of blond hair.
Yet there was no sign from Pierre. And Stephanie didn't look like him at all.
The year 2010 marked the 40th anniversary of my family who lived in Upton Cressett, which seemed like a good time to start the major restoration of a building that I already called "Money Pit Manor."
For the English, our houses are often so much more than just bricks. In my case, Upton Cressett had always been the most reliable of my relationships, more than a love affair or marriage.
The truth is that I was to blame for his terrible state, because I employed a cowboy builder whose idea of "renovation" was to demolish the place. It looked like an architectural storage room.
As the foundations of my life fell away beneath me, I also needed a serious makeover as my Elizabethan house.
In February I was at traffic lights in South Kensington when a car caught my attention, just like the woman behind the wheel.
I recognized the mint green Mini Cooper from my art dealer Helen Macintyre. She had won it in a lottery of all things.
I knocked on the window and said something like: & # 39; Are you free to have lunch? & # 39;
Helen parked and we went to a small restaurant on Walton Street nearby. I ordered a bottle of Provence rosé and another.
Now divorced from Vanessa, I told Helen about another romantic failure – this time a short entanglement with a 26-year-old interior designer.
But Helen had something interesting to say: "Pierre and I are apart. I even moved and took a house in Chelsea where I live with Stephanie. & # 39;
& # 39; I'm sorry to hear that. & # 39;
"Pierre is in trouble. He has not been there. He always travels. Things have been falling apart for months.
& # 39; He is being investigated. Administrators knocked on the door. I don't know exactly what's going on, but Stephanie has to come first. & # 39;
Helen had the right to be scared. The assets of Pierre & # 39; s real estate company were frozen by lawyers who were trading for a client from the Middle East and wanted to know what had happened to tens of millions of pounds.
Pierre denied any misconduct, but, with his company in the administration, he would eventually move to Canada and, as he put it, & # 39; start from less than zero & # 39 ;.
I felt terrible for Helen: she had no choice but to leave her house less than a month after the birth.
My first whirlwind wedding had been with Ilaria Bulgari from the famous Italian jewelry family and lasted just over three years, writes WILLIAM CASH. Above: Mr Cash with Helen Macintyre on vacation in 2010
"Pierre was always on a plane to close deals or to go to another charity," she went on. & # 39; One moment he was in New York, the next he flew to the World Economic Forum in Davos. & # 39;
At the mention of Davos, Helen took a sip of wine and looked away. & # 39; You know that Pierre may not be the father, & # 39; she said.
I nodded and said, "Pierre is dark like you."
"The identity of Stephanie & # 39; s father cannot come true. The father called me in the hospital. & # 39;
& # 39; Does Pierre know who it is? & # 39;
& # 39; He has an idea, & # 39; she answered.
"How did he take it?"
"He has a paternity test. We both knew our relationship didn't work. It was actually over. & # 39;
Helen was used to dealing with whatever life gave her. She had had a triple family tragedy: her sisters, Enid and Stephanie, and her father had all died within a few years of each other as she grew up in Kent.
She had shown steel resilience everywhere and had never lost her self-confident good humor. You could tell her everything.
She also had an almost complete lack of reserve or guard when it came to talking about men, love, politics and sex.
She loved bold lyrics and loved Parisian clubs and casinos. I had never met anyone with such untouched candor.
After lunch I brought her to the Mini. While she was standing by the car, I kissed her next to a parking meter. (Yes, she had a ticket). There was nothing surprising about this.
When she picked up the ticket, she laughed and walked to her new house. When she waved back, I knew that another chapter would start in my life.
It wasn't long before I spent much of my time at her home on Kings Road. I was happy again, even when she finally told me the name of Stephanie's real father.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was probably the last person you could want as a rival d & amour.
Two years older than me, he was a heavyweight champion when it came to conquests, an experienced swordsman and super-hack paid £ 250,000 a year for one newspaper column (which he described as & # 39; chicken feed & # 39;).
I felt as if I had been pushed into the hot sparkle of the Circus Maximus to fight a seasoned gladiator.
I had only met him a few times, but knew enough to know that he was craving attention. I had been to a party in the Spectator magazine where he, as the then editor, had jumped to his mahogany desk to give a speech.
It judged under its weight. I could not imagine that his predecessors would play the "editor-showman" in such a way.
I was relatively old, in my mid-thirties, when I became engaged to my first wife. Boris, on the other hand, was engaged to the aristocratic model Allegra Mostyn-Owen during his stay in Oxford.
She left him later when he started an affair with lawyer Marina Wheeler, a childhood friend who became his second wife.
I didn't have a personal problem with Boris. He had known my family for years when my father, Eurosceptic MP Bill Cash, had been with Boris & father, Stanley, in Oxford.
I had known for a long time that Helen was a fan; she had the entire Johnson oeuvre of books on a shelf next to her bed, from his comical political novel Seventy-Two Virgins to collected journalism.
Yes, I was jealous of Boris' attitude towards the woman I loved, but his political ambitions were so great that I thought the chances of him leaving Marina were small.
At the moment I just wanted to be with Helen, and if that meant that I had to raise Stephanie as my own daughter – preferably as her stepfather – I would be 100 percent good with that.
It was now crucial that everyone in the close family circle who knew the truth of Stephen's father be bound by a code from omertà. No one could talk about it, not so much as a hint.
For myself, I was afraid of being burned alive by the fire storm that would destroy everything, or anyone else, within its reach if the news came.
Within a month or so, I had almost moved to Helen's cottage-like home on Markham Street.
From the beginning I have never made any secret of the fact that I wanted to start a family with her.
If we had our own children, nobody would know (or worry) that the elder had a different biological father. Helen did not seem fond of this idea and she was a brilliant mother.
The other good news was that while the work at Upton Cressett continued, Helen began to get involved.
I brought her to Shropshire within weeks of seeing each other. She had the eye of a natural decorator and soon helped source items for the house.
She seemed to love Upton Cressett, even though it was still primarily a construction site. Soon followed instructions for buying a complete set of Fissler pans (in the sale of Harrods). I only had to consider Miele dishwashers and washing machines, and so on. But I was happy to do everything that made us live together.
Yet rumors about the identity of the father refused to stop humming. After about two months, it was decided between me, Helen, her mother, and stepfather, that we needed a "Boris Summit" to tell him about our intentions.
& # 39; You will have to meet him, & # 39; I said, & # 39; and tell him about us. & # 39;
& # 39; Tell him what? & # 39;
& # 39; That I'm going to raise his daughter, whether people know her father's identity or not. & # 39;
& # 39; Don't you think you should come too? & # 39; Helen asked.
& # 39; No I said. "This is between you and Boris. Tell Boris that I am in love with you and that I love Stephanie very much and that I want to raise her in Shropshire.
And that within a few years, if we are married and have our own children, nobody will know that they are not all our own children. He can come and stay when he wants to see Steph. & # 39;
So Helen only visited Boris at Brown & # 39; s Hotel in Mayfair. While I waited at her home, I had a surreal vision that he became part of the extended Cash family, with long Sunday lunches washed down with rosé while he discussed politics with my father.
Perhaps Boris would arrive in a bulletproof Jaguar with a police detail.
The "Boris Summit" at Brown was a long meeting – so disturbing. Helen was away for at least two hours.
After the second hour started, I started thinking that I was crazy because I had suggested a chic hotel.
Fortunately, when Helen finally came back, she looked completely normal. "Boris is fine with our plan," she said. & # 39; He thinks it's good that you educate Stephanie. & # 39;
Boris told her that he knew about Upton Cressett because he was there in the fall of 1995 for a political house party at the invitation of my father and my mother, Biddy, who used to work on Downing Street. "Biddy, I love Biddy. Will Biddy be there? ‟Had Boris called out to Helen.
He thought Upton Cressett would be a perfect home for Stephanie, easily out of the public glare of London.
I was already thinking of buying an engagement ring. We would all become one glorious, extended happy family.
The only problem was this: if the identity of the father became known, our plan would probably blow up.
Meanwhile, Helen and Pierre had the results of the paternity test, which showed that Pierre was not the father, and against this background our lives began to feel as if a slow-burning fuse had been ignited.
The Boris factor was inevitable at the end of June. Helen and I had been at a Swiss art fair when she stepped into the exhibition room to take a call from him.
The Boris factor was inevitable at the end of June. Helen and I had been at a Swiss art fair when she stepped into the exhibition space to take a call from him, writes WILLIAM CASH. Above: Boris as mayor of London, shortly after the news became known that he was the father of Helen & # 39; s baby
It was the start of many.
The texting and calls continued for two days and whatever he said upset her.
Helen could not sleep and would not talk.
Eventually I couldn't handle the pressure cooking atmosphere anymore, so I grabbed some clothes and went to the bar.
I remember watching football on a TV screen while sinking two whiskeys. I felt that I lost her.
When I got back to the room, Helen hugged me, crying, saying that she & # 39; tore & # 39; and loved me. It was one of the few times I saw her vulnerable side.
Boris' unspoken presence – even just his blond mop that appeared on the BBC news – was like a boil, buried for months under the ground, now popping up. It was only a matter of time before it burst. Or was lanced.
I felt that Helen, despite her steel core, was deeply upset at the start of the events and was scared.
We were all, including Boris, who was about to announce that he was running for a second term as mayor of London.
What would the exploding powder keg do with its marriage and political career?
Helen held wildly hesitant views about his behavior.
A part of her wanted Stephanie to have a real father in the form of someone like me, and another part was angry not to be with her daughter's father.
Occasionally she lashed out at those closest to her.
I wanted to be with Helen and live for us between London and Shropshire once the house was ready.
After the blows of my two divorces, which had left me half broken, I found Helen & # 39; s energy and bright, fun, refreshing, optimism.
I remember driving her past a red brick flat near Sloane Square in a Mini, and she pointed to a building. "I lived in an apartment there when I first moved to London. My rent was more than my salary. & # 39;
Helen pictured with her daughter Stephanie, whose father is Prime Minister Boris Johnson
She often sat under her blankets on her BlackBerry in the middle of the night and contacted Dubai, Qatar, New York, Sydney.
Helen lived before turning the wheel. Her philosophy was simple: you had to know when to reduce your losses and walk away. It was easy enough to see why men – many men – found her so attractive.
By July I felt that I lost control. My phone was constantly ringing unknown numbers and we had strange callers in Helen's Chelsea home.
It became clear that Pierre had started talking and said he knew Boris was having an affair with Helen.
He met the mayor & # 39; late in an elevator at the Morosani Posthotel in Davos, Switzerland, where he was staying with Helen.
When the elevator doors opened, Boris stood there looking nervously, & # 39; his eyes shifted all over the place & # 39 ;.
Pierre started telling friends and journalists that he had seen CCTV van Boris enter his Belgravia house when he was away for business.
Back in London I felt that we too were being observed. Helen and I drank a croissant and coffee in a cafe just 100 meters from her Chelsea house.
When we read the newspapers, a man in a leather bomber jacket came to us and said: "What a sweet baby you both have. Would you mind if I took a photo? & # 39;
He did not wait for an answer. After he took Stephanie's photo in her pram and left, I turned to Helen.
& # 39; No one who is not a paparazzo would ask to take a photo at 9 am, & # 39; I said. "I think we're being set up."
I felt something was wrong. Was there an informant?
Our last lunch together was at Motcombs wine bar in Belgravia. We drank two bottles of rosé in the sun and talked about a marriage.
"Upton Cressett will be ready in a few months," I had said. "We have children ourselves and we look like any other family. Nobody will ask questions. & # 39;
We even ordered curtains for the bedroom. They had to be covered with dark plum silk velvet, with tassels that could have been chosen by Madame de Pompadour.
A week later, newspapers and pictures of Helen and Boris splashed onto the front pages claiming he was her daughter's father.
A circus of photographers and TV cameramen camped in front of our door in London and she couldn't even get out with Stephanie in her pram. The house became a prison.
The murderous blow came from a text message as I drove through Putney Common the day the story broke out on my way to a therapist.
The B factor was so stressful that I needed counseling to deal with my romantic despair.
Helen sent me a text saying she didn't want me to return to Markham Street and insinuated that I was somehow responsible for leaking the identity of the father.
My wedding plans were dust. Again, I was in the cold – only this time it was not clear what my crime had been.
Desperately, I went to see my friend Elizabeth Hurley on her farm in Gloucestershire, where Helen and I had been a guest in much happier circumstances a month or so earlier.
Angry at BoJo? No, I am so & # 39; n fan that I bet he will be PM!
From William Cash
Plans can go astray when it comes to the sexual adventures of Boris.
When it comes to women, especially smart, attractive women, he tends to risk everything.
As someone who has been flattened, in Big Daddy style, because of the emotional massacre he often leaves behind him, I found myself questioning his moral character.
But my conclusion is that Boris is simply unique because of its winning election appearance.
Boris is simply unique because of his charisma that wins the election, says William Cash
When my hope to marry Helen & # 39; blew up overnight, it was hard not to feel angry, but as the weeks and months passed, I realized I couldn't judge him.
I also had a failed degree in human relationships. I knew what it felt like to be a & # 39; hack on the rack & # 39; to be homeless and face an expensive divorce. I felt for Boris, who had since been thrown out of his house by his wife Marina "like a hangover."
In the course of time I also realized that he was doing me a huge favor: my life would not have gone so well without our strange entanglement.
People often ask me about my thoughts about Boris. My answer? Trust the women, not the jealous rivals.
The women in his life – many of them smart, feisty and attractive, such as Helen – have usually remained stoically supportive.
That is an unusual form of loyalty and proof of its many qualities.
I personally thought that smart and intelligent women judge human character more reliably than most. Smart women can't stand pessimists.
While others were writing him off, I noticed that two years ago I placed a £ 150 bet on him as prime minister, at 6-1. I'm glad I did! I have become a true Boris believer.
I wrote to Helen for weeks and months afterwards, trying to make her drink "so that we can complete this unholy mess."
I insisted that I had nothing to do with the leak. I traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, hoping she would be there in her mink coat and knee-high sheepskin boots. I didn't see her.
However, I saw Boris deliver a lunch of British business executives at the Belvedere hotel. After lunch I kept him in a hallway.
& # 39; Boris, good speech. Well done, I said.
& # 39; Listen, it's about Helen. I know things have not been so easy for any of us, but can I make one thing absolutely clear?
'Ik wil dat je weet dat ik niets met de persverhalen te maken had. Wat had ik in hemelsnaam te winnen?
'Ik wilde met Helen trouwen en je dochter als de mijne opvoeden. Zo simpel was het. & # 39;
'Juist … eh … snap het. Bedankt voor het laten weten. & # 39;
En toen liepen we weg in verschillende richtingen.
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