Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli are officially the richest couple in the UK

Alys Key
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Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli top the couples rich list (Source: Getty)

Pharmaceuticals heir Ernesto Bertarelli and his wife Kirsty have been crowned the richest husband and wife in the UK, with a fortune of £11.5bn.

The businessman and the former Miss UK saw their joint wealth increase by more than £1bn this year, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, which comes out this Sunday.

The Bertarelli fortune is largely derived from the sale of the family biotech business Serono and a stake in another pharmaceutical business Santhera.

This year’s top ten richest couples are worth £39.9bn between them, but Sir Philip and Lady Green were the only pair to see their wealth decline. A decrease of £433m, partly due to the £363m payout agreed by Sir Philip to plug the BHS pensions gap, put their fortune at £2.787bn.

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, the daughter of late Heineken boss Freddy Heineken, and her husband Michel de Carvalho are the second wealthiest couple in the UK with a fortune of £9.3bn.

The only new entry to the list is Alejandro Santo Domingo and Lady Charlotte Wellesley, who married in May last year.

Lady Wellesley is a descendant of both the first Duke of Wellington and the German emperor Wilhelm II. Her new husband is the public face of the Santo Domingo Group. Founded by his late father, the company’s portfolio includes a 14 per cent stake in brewery SABMiller. The couple are currently expecting their first child, an heir to their £3.862bn fortune.

Aside from the Bertarellis, the only other couple on the list to see their fortune increase by more than £1bn in the past year were Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek and her husband Francois-Henri Pinault, whose Kering luxury goods empire owns fashion houses including Alexander McQueen, Gucci, and Balenciaga.

Other couples included Douglas and Dame Mary Perkins, co-founders of Specsavers, whose wealth currently stands at £1.6bn, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz, with his American novelist wife Harriet Heyman, worth £2.6bn.

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