Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bourne Ultimatum: Mother-in-Law's Withering Lesson in Manners for Bride

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bourne Ultimatum: Mother-in-Law's Withering Lesson in Manners for Bride

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Roberts

THE last thing any bride-to-be wants is to fall foul of her future mother-inlaw -- particularly when her damning criticism of your behaviour goes viral on the internet.

But that is what has happened to Heidi Withers, a PA working in the West End.

She received an email last month from Carolyn Bourne, the stepmother of her fiance Freddie Bourne.

The 29-year-old forwarded the message to a select group of friends who were so surprised by its tone that they too forwarded it on to others ... and then on to thousands.

Mrs Bourne, 60, who is married to Freddie's father Edward, wrote: "It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you."

She went on: "Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you. It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so. Your behaviour on your visit to Devon during April was staggering in its uncouthness and lack of grace.

"Unfortunately, this was not the first example of bad manners I have experienced from you. If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste."

She even described her future daughter-in-law as "an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series".

Mrs Bourne, who lives near Dawlish in Devon and is a renowned breeder of pinks and dianthus flowers, went on to list numerous examples of Miss Withers's "lack of manners" -- as detailed in the panel to the right.

She concluded by saying: "I pity Freddie."

Her stepson, who runs online bike shop Capital Cycles and lives in Putney, declined to comment. His father Edward Bourne, 63, said: "We have nothing to say."

Miss Withers and Mr Bourne are not the first to suffer acute embarrassment because of out-of-control email round robins. A derogatory email exchange between Harry Fildes, 25, and Sebastian Marsh, 24, about the latter's ex-girlfriend "went viral" in March after Mr Fildes accidentally copied her in. …

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