He and his wife have amassed a fortune of more than £450 million, but entrepreneur Nick Wheeler, who founded his Charles Tyrwhitt shirt business 33 years ago, admits to an unlikely habit — he remains a bit of a hoarder.
Indeed, in a startling confession, he even confesses that, for more than 30 years, he’s kept a beard in a jam jar. ‘I had a beard when I was about 22,’ says Wheeler, now 54.
‘I’ve still got it. I can’t bring myself to chuck it out.’
Claiming the worst is now behind him, Wheeler, whose company today has 1,300 employees, says that he ‘used to be a bit of a hoarder’, explaining: ‘I used to get terribly sentimental, I used to keep everything. For the first 20 years of my life I didn’t throw away a single tube of toothpaste. I’ve still got those as well. I need to chuck them away.’
Entrepreneur Nick Wheeler (right), who founded his Charles Tyrwhitt shirt business 33 years ago, admits to an unlikely habit — he’s a bit of a hoarder
Quite what his wife and fellow OBE Chrissie Rucker — creator of the White Company, temple to all things pristine and immaculate in homewares — makes of his peculiar peccadillo can only be guessed at.
Old Etonian Wheeler, who owns a Grade I manor house on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border and a £33.5 million pad in Notting Hill, has some way to go to emulate the obsessive behaviour of legendary American tycoon Howard Hughes.
Hughes became a famous recluse and was surrounded by dozens of Kleenex boxes that he continuously stacked and re-arranged.
Wheeler was brought up singlehandedly by his father after his mother died when he was just five. He makes his confession on a podcast for the Gentleman’s Journal but declines to elaborate further.
After Eton, he was turned down by Cambridge University and instead went to Bristol, where contemporaries remember early evidence of his entrepreneurial spirit.
‘He used to sell boxer shorts,’ one of them tells me.
Let’s hope that Chrissie doesn’t stray across a vintage pair of those.
Bodyguard star’s ex Ellie looks a little miserable
Belle of the ball: Les Mis actress Ellie Bamber, 22-year-old ex of The Bodyguard star Richard Madden, teetered around the Royal Academy Summer Party in black stilettos and an eye-popping nude Chanel crop top with a matching mini skirt.
Pregnant pause: Poldark actress and mother-of-two Gabriella Wilde revealed she is pregnant again with her singer husband Alan Pownall. ‘It’s true, I’m expecting,’ she tells me.
Back to school: Jude Law’s model daughter Iris was overheard telling friends: ‘I’m training to be a chef, but like, I’m not planning to work in a kitchen or anything.’ God forbid.
Les Mis actress Ellie Bamber (left) teetered around the Royal Academy Summer Party, Poldark actress Gabriella Wilde (centre) has revealed she is pregnant again, and Iris Law (right) has told friends she is ‘training to be a chef’
Naked ambition: Bake Off presenter Sandy Toksvig has agreed to sit for a portrait by Royal Academy artist David Remfry. ‘He’s going to draw me,’ she beamed. ‘Naked, obviously.’
Royal rumpus: Crown actor Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles in the Netflix series, tells me he’s never met his alter ego. ‘I sincerely doubt he’ll ever want to meet me. He might prefer to chop off my head instead.’
It’s Hannah Hughwunit
Mistaken identity is an occupational hazard for Four Weddings And A Funeral star John Hannah (left).
‘Just met a guy in the elevator at Toronto airport who asked if I was Hugh Laurie [right]. I said no. He said: “I think you are!”
‘So I bet him $10 I wasn’t,’ the actor discloses. ‘And he accepted. Passport out.
‘He looked a bit surprised when I said he owed me ten bucks. Fair’s fair, the dude paid up.’
Makes a change from Hannah’s regular doppelganger, James Nesbitt.
John Hannah (left) had his identity mistaken for being Hugh Laurie (right). See the resemblance?
Smashing Johanna is a hot property off court
Tennis star Johanna Konta, 28
Currently wowing tennis fans at the French Open, Johanna Konta has also turned her hand to another enterprise — as a property developer.
I can disclose that Jo, left, set up a business for ‘buying and selling of real estate’ in April.
There’s no indication of any investments made as yet, but like her other company it is based at her waterside flat in Eastbourne, East Sussex.
That firm, Johanna Konta Ltd, has reflected the 28-year-old’s progress through the world tour to the French semis, and now shows reserves of £750,000 compared with £300,000 last year.
I’d never say never to surgery says supermodel Yasmin Le Bon
Supermodel Yasmin Le Bon has never had cosmetic surgery. But she admits she’s concerned about fledgling mannequins who increasingly rely on fillers and Botox to enhance their natural looks.
‘I think they have to be a little careful and if they’re going to do any work, they should go to somebody with very good taste and who’s going to make them just look like a better version of themselves,’ the 54-year-old wife of Duran Duran singer Simon tells me.
‘It should just be to freshen up. I’m not here to judge — everyone to their own — and if it makes people feel good then fine.
‘But young models — or anyone — should be wary of fillers. I’ve heard they can slip around. I’ve never done it. That’s not something that would work on my face but I would never say never to anything else.’
Some think Cherie Blair has never received the appreciation she deserves, but that may all be about to change.
A new comedy about Tony Blair’s much maligned wife called Cherie — My Struggle, an imagined account of her life, is to have its premiere at the Edinburgh Festival.
‘I’m keen to invite Cherie to the show because it’s extremely positive about her and about her global mission for women,’ the playwright Lloyd Evans tells me.
‘She would genuinely enjoy the show, not least because of the sideswipes it takes at Gordon Brown.’
Known for his ‘black spider’ memos to Government ministers about his pet subjects, penned in his impenetrable scrawl, Prince Charles is now seeking a general correspondence secretary to help him fire off more missives.
HRH is advertising on his website for someone with ‘the ability to maintain confidentiality and exercise tact and discretion at all times’.
The job will also involve supporting the Duchess of Cornwall and logging all gifts.
The advert does not specify a salary, but adds: ‘The role also involves researching, preparing and producing replies to letters for private secretaries.’