The widow of a millionaire author faces being ‘thrown out on the streets’ in a bitter legal battle with her stepchildren and daughter over their £3.5million house.
Rana Seale was married to Patrick Seale for 29 years and lived with him in their three-storey, six-bedroom property in fashionable Holland Park, west London.
She says their daughter Yasmine Seale and two of her stepchildren – one of them the child of Martin Amis and the other a former understudy to Sir Kenneth Branagh – are now ‘suing her to take away her house’.
The couple had a ‘stormy’ relationship and Mr Seale, who was respected for his works as a historian of the Middle East, spoke to lawyers about divorcing his wife before he died, aged 83, from brain cancer in April 2014.
Rana Seale (right) the widow of a millionaire author Patrick Seale (left) says she faces being ‘thrown out on the streets’ in a bitter legal battle with her stepchildren and daughter over their £3.5million house
Oxford-educated Mr Seale severed the joint tenancy on their home, resulting in his half going into his estate instead of to Mrs Seale.
Now Yasmine Seale and stepchildren Delilah Jeary and Orlando Seale and are suing her to have the house where she lives sold and the proceeds split.
But Mrs Seale, 63, backed by the couple’s son Alexander with whom she lives, is fighting to get her late husband’s half signed back over to her.
She told the High Court that she and her son are living in fear of being ‘thrown out on the streets’ if she loses.
The couple lived at their six-bedroom property in Holland Park, west London, but their 'stormy' relationship led Mr Seale to speak to lawyers about divorcing his wife before he died, aged 83, from brain cancer in April 2014
In the latest twist in a long-running legal battle, she pleaded to judge Master Iain Pester: ‘Can you imagine what is it like for a mother finding her daughter suing her to take away her house?’
The court heard the couple bought their home for £1.75million in 2009.
It is now worth about £3.5million, according to the Nationwide house price calculator.
Mr Seale had son Orlando, 48, an actor and former understudy to Branagh, from his first marriage to writer Lamorna Heath. He also brought up ITN producer Delilah, 45, who was the product of an affair Amis had with Miss Heath.
Now their daughter Yasmine and stepchildren Delilah Jeary (pictured) and Orlando Seale and are suing her to have the house where she lives sold and the proceeds split
Mr Seale looked after Delilah and told her before she started university that Amis was her father. Mr and Mrs Seale had two children together, poet and writer Yasmine, 31, and journalist Alexander Seale, 33.
Mr Seale split his wealth equally in his will between Mrs Seale and the four children.
Mrs Seale and Alexander have launched court proceedings to block the sale of the house, arguing that the property should go to Mrs Seale.
Mother and son say terminally ill Mr Seale was under ‘undue influence’ in the weeks before he died, when he began divorce proceedings and severed the joint tenancy.
Representing herself, Mrs Seale – a British-Syrian historian – said threats of divorce featured in their ‘stormy’ relationship, but never happened.
Mr Seale brought up ITN producer Delilah, 45, who was the product of an affair his first wife Lamorna Heath had with British novelist Martin Amis. Pictured: Delilah with Amis and her son Isaac
In January 2014, Mr Seale told his solicitor he intended to separate from Mrs Seale.
Barrister Richard Fowler, representing Orlando, Delilah and Yasmine, said Mr Seale had been advised to consider severing the joint tenancy and went ahead with it. But the decision only resulted in a long legal battle over who owns the house.
The case reached court again last week when Orlando, Delilah and Yasmine asked the judge to strike out Alexander’s challenge to the severance of the joint tenancy. Mr Fowler said there was nothing to suggest any of the children had influenced Mr Seale into doing what he did.
He added that Mrs Seale had previously threatened to divorce Mr Seale, which would have resulted in all his assets being split between them.
Mrs Seale told the judge new evidence cast doubt on whether Mr Seale had the ‘mental capacity’ to make important decisions at that time. Videos showed Orlando and Yasmine ‘prompting’ him, she said.
The judge, who heard the case via video link, will give his decision on the applications at a later date.