Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Earl of Shaftesbury

Ashley-Cooper-Nicholas-2012-05-27-12th-Earl-of-Shaftesbury-DSC 1604 01.jpg
Tenure15 May 2005 – present
PredecessorAnthony Ashley-Cooper,
11th Earl of Shaftesbury
Other titlesBaron Ashley
of Wimborne St Giles,
Baron Cooper of Pawlett
Known forPhilanthropy; musician; endurance running
BornNicholas Edmund Anthony Ashley-Cooper
(1979-06-03) 3 June 1979 (age 41)
London, England
ResidenceLondon and Wimborne St Giles
Dinah Streifeneder
(m. 2010)
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley
Lady Viva Ashley-Cooper
Lady Zara Ashley-Cooper
ParentsAnthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury
Christina Eva Montan

Nicholas Edmund Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, DL (born 3 June 1979), also known as Nick Ashley-Cooper or Nick Shaftesbury, is an English peer, landowner and philanthropist. He succeeded his brother as Earl of Shaftesbury in 2005.

He also holds the subsidiary titles Baron Ashley and Baron Cooper.

Early life[edit]

The Earl and Countess of Shaftesbury, after their marriage in 2010

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper was born on 3 June 1979, in London, the younger son of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury (1938–2004), and his Swedish wife Christina Eva Montan (born c. 1940), the daughter of Nils Montan, a former Swedish Ambassador to Germany. His godfathers were Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, and Simon Elliot, later brother-in-law of Charles, Prince of Wales.

He had an elder brother, Anthony Nils Christian Ashley-Cooper (1977–2005), who in 2004 became 11th Earl of Shaftesbury, and also an older half brother and half sister from Lady Shaftesbury’s first marriage.[1]

His father, the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, was murdered in November 2004 by the brother of his third wife, Jamila, Countess of Shaftesbury, and was succeeded by his elder son. His widow, Jamila, is currently serving a twenty-year prison sentence as an accomplice to the murder. [2]

Six months later, on 15 May 2005, the 11th Earl died of a heart attack in Manhattan, New York, while visiting his younger brother, and Ashley-Cooper thus unexpectedly succeeded him in the earldom.[3] The Daily Telegraph described the new Earl as “a tattooed young raver”.[4] He then relocated to his family home from New York City and assumed the responsibilities of the earldom.


Before inheriting the family estates, Shaftesbury worked in television and music. He began as a strategic analyst with Discovery Networks Europe, a television network, then worked on Digital Strategy and Business Development for Terra Firma Capital Partners, after its acquisition of the music company EMI Group. He was then part of a team that raised over $5 million for Saatchi Online, an online forum and art gallery, and finally was the chief operating officer of GoMix, an interactive music software platform company.[5]

Marriage and children[edit]

On 11 September 2010, in Dorset, Shaftesbury, married Dinah Streifeneder (born 12 September 1980 in Munich), the daughter of Dr Fritz Streifeneder, a retired German orthopaedic surgeon, and Renata Leander-Streifeneder, an Argentinian physiotherapist.[6] She spent her early life in Rome, Italy.[7]

The Countess of Shaftesbury is a veterinary surgeon by profession and has taken the lead in the restoration of St Giles House.[8]

The couple have three children. Their son, Anthony Francis Wolfgang Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley, born on 24 January 2011, is his father's heir apparent and the only person in the line of succession to the earldom. A daughter, Lady Viva Constance Lillemor Ashley-Cooper, was born on 22 April 2012, and another daughter, Lady Zara Emily Tove Ashley-Cooper, on 17 October 2014.[4]

Shaftesbury Estates[edit]

17th century Riding House

Wimborne St Giles in East Dorset is the home base and centre of business of the Ashley-Coopers.[9]

St Giles House

The village of Wimborne St Giles rests within the family estate itself. The Ashley family arrived in Dorset, originally from Wiltshire, where they owned the manor of Ashley, since the 11th century. The first ancestor to reside in Wimborne St Giles was Robert Ashley (born c. 1415), fifth great grandfather of Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.[10][11]

Built in 1651, the family seat of St Giles House has fallen into disrepair and has been unoccupied for about 60 years. In 2001, St Giles House was recorded on the Register of Buildings at Risk, as a Grade I listed building, indicating neglect and decay. Buildings recorded on the Grade I list include those of "exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important".[12]

Discussions regarding future use of St Giles House and the estate have been resumed following inheritance by the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury.[13] Work on the house began in 2011 and since then the restoration has won several national awards including the 2014 Georgian Group Awards for the Restoration of a Georgian Country House, the 2015 Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Award for Building Conservation, the 2015 Historic Houses Association/Sotheby’s Restoration Award and the Historic England Angel Award, Best Rescue of a Historic Building or Site.[8] This has helped secure the future of the house as a family home and as a venue for a wide range of activities including weddings, concerts and corporate events.[14]

Mainsail Haul

During World War II, St Giles House was requisitioned and used as a girls school evacuated from London called, Miss Faunce's Parents' National Union School. At that time, the family took up residence at the dower house, known as Mainsail Haul.[15]

Lough Neagh

The earl owns the bed and soil of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland. It is the largest lake in the United Kingdom. The lough supplies 40 per cent of the region's drinking water and is also used as a sewage outfall (in a system only permissible through British Crown immunity). Discussions over the future management of the Lough have been ongoing with the Northern Ireland Assembly.[16]


Shaftesbury is an ambassador for the spinal cord injuries charity Wings For Life, a charity he began supporting following his own spinal injury. Shaftesbury has competed in several marathons and ultra-marathons to benefit charitable organisations.[17][18][19][20]


  1. ^ Baxter, Sarah (12 June 2005). "The murder, the curse and the DJ earl". London: Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  2. ^ "The murder the curse and the DJ earl". The Times. London. 12 June 2005.
  3. ^ "Bonding with charitable cause following fall". 11 May 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b Tyzack, Anna (7 August 2015). "How a tattooed young raver unexpectedly became 12th Earl of Shaftesbury". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  5. ^ "e10vk". 28 February 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Index". Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Wedding joy for 12th Earl (From Thisisdorset)". 10 September 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  8. ^ a b Owens, Mitchell (12 December 2018). "The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury Relays a Family's History Through Its House". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  9. ^ Mosley, Charles editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage [Genealogical Books] Ltd, 2003), volume 3, page 3576. ISBN 978-0-9711966-2-9
  10. ^ Timbs, John; and Alexander Gunn. Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales – Their Legendary Lore and Popular History, Read Books, 2006, pp. 444–446. ISBN 978-1-84664-342-2
  11. ^ Burke, John. A genealogical and heraldic History of the extinct and dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland and Scotland: By John and John Bern. Burke, John Russ Smith, p 18, 1844. ISBN 978-0-8063-0739-8
  12. ^ "Listed Buildings". English Heritage. 2012. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  13. ^ {{cite web |url= |title=English Heritage | English Heritage | |access-date=17 November 2010 |url-status=dead |archive-url= |archive-date=26 August 2011}
  14. ^ "St Giles House on 2001 Register of Buildings at Risk". 28 June 2001. Retrieved 4 July 2010.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ East Dorset District Council Policy Planning Division Supplementary Planning Guidance No. 16 April 2006, Wimborne St Giles, East Dorset District Council, 2006
  16. ^ Belfast, Telegraph (10 April 2012). "Lough Neagh's future still up in the air". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  17. ^ {{cite web |author=AbleChildAfrica |url= |title=Nick Ashley-Cooper is fundraising for AbleChildAfrica | |date=26 October 2008 |access-date=18 November 2010 |url-status=dead |archive-url= |archive-date=5 April 2012}
  18. ^ Child-Link (17 May 2009). "Nick Ashley-Cooper is fundraising for Child-Link". Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  19. ^ "Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2013 Official Website". 7 August 2012. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  20. ^ "The Great Shaftesbury Run". TGSR. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Anthony Ashley-Cooper
Earl of Shaftesbury