A Lady…or a liar? Marriage between ‘castle-owning Scottish aristocrat descendant’ bride and Welsh farmer collapsed after he accused her of being a ‘fantasist’ who lived in a bungalow and ‘wed him for a passport’
- Lady Kristyna Drummond-Hay, 37, married Welshman Michael Lloyd in February
- Now engineer Michael claims wife is ‘fantasist’ who is really a taxi firm secretary
- He believes the Australian used him to get a UK visa, which she strongly denied
- Claimed wife said was related to Scottish aristocrats and had met Prince William
- Kristyna said she’s ‘not a scammer’ and loved Michael, 35, ‘even after he cheated’
This was a romance that made headlines: a modern fairytale alliance between the descendant of one of Scotland’s most distinguished families and a man from humble Welsh farming stock. And it traversed not just class but countries.
The bride was Lady Kristyna Drummond-Hay, a 37-year-old Melbourne-dwelling brunette, and a granddaughter of William Huntly Drummond, the 15th Earl of Perth, whose family seat was once the austere, 23-bedroom Stobhall Castle, sitting amid almost 200 acres near the River Tay.
Her family had ruled parts of India during the British Raj before her father emigrated to Australia.
Lady Kristyna Drummond-Hay, 37, married Welshman Michael Lloyd, 35, pictured together in February but they are now filing for divorce with him calling his wife a ‘fraud and fantasist’
The groom, engineer Michael Lloyd, 35, was raised on the island of Anglesey in North Wales where his parents were dairy and beef farmers. He’d worked on the family farm before joining the Army and serving with the Royal Engineers in Afghanistan.
This unlikely couple were brought together by Muddy Matches, a dating website for people who love the countryside, and married in Australia in February this year following a whirlwind romance.
Their lives were said to be split between his home in Conwy, and Glencarse in Perth and Kinross, as well as Lady Kristyna’s home in Australia.
The charming tale was enhanced further when, last month, The Times reported that Lady Kristyna was advertising a ‘dream job’ for six aspiring young conservationists — at £3,000 a month — to work on Isla Drummond Hay, a remote island wildlife sanctuary on Chile’s South Pacific coast which belonged to the family.
In an interview with the North Wales Live website, Lady Kristyna declared: ‘My family and I pride ourselves on our philanthropic work.
‘We have poured millions into the upkeep of the island due to erosion, plastic pollution and other environmental hazards,’ she is reported as saying. ‘We have decided that this wonderful space could be better utilised so are opening our doors.’
Kristyna said she was a granddaughter of William Huntly Drummond, the 15th Earl of Perth, whose family seat was once 23-bedroom Stobhall Castle, pictured, in Perthshire, Scotland
Little wonder that the feel-good story was picked up by media outlets around the world, drawn to the beautiful aristocrat who, having met the man of her dreams, now wanted to share her good fortune.
Alas, that fairytale lies in tatters: today, Kristyna and Michael’s marriage has ended after less than six months, amid accusations by the latter that Kristyna is a fraud and a serial fantasist who only married him in order to obtain a UK visa, something he says he had helped fund to the tune of thousands of pounds.
He says he now believes that his wife’s real name was Kristyna Halyburton, that she was a secretary from Melbourne and she had no aristocratic links.
It was, therefore, highly unlikely that her father had been friends with Diana, Princess of Wales, that as a baby she had shared a cot with the young Prince William — just one of the lurid claims that Kristyna had, according to Michael, made during their courtship. ‘She has caused me nothing but trouble,’ he said bitterly.
James Strathallan, the current and 18th Earl of Perth, has cast further doubt on Kristyna’s illustrious lineage, declaring that she ‘certainly had nothing to do with my family’.
Kristyna refused to say where she was living but her last known address was at a bungalow in Melbourne. Michael claimed his wife had told him her father had been friends with Diana, Princess of Wales and that as a baby she had shared a cot with Prince William
‘She sounds like a naïve fantasist,’ he added.
They are devastating accusations in an increasingly tangled story and Kristyna robustly refutes them all.
Breaking her silence from her home in Melbourne yesterday — she refuses to disclose where, although her last known address was thought to be a one-bedroom rented bungalow — she insists that she is the real victim in this sequence of events, deceived by her new husband, and that she has ‘nothing to hide’.
‘I’ve not done anything wrong,’ she says. ‘I am a Drummond-Hay by birth and my family do have an amazing colourful history and that is undeniable.
‘I am adamant that I am descended from the 15th Earl of Perth, William Huntly — my Indian birth records do not lie. I have quite a lot of proof of that but I’m not prepared to release anything yet.
‘Michael and his family want to paint me as the bad guy, but they know what he has done and it has caused me a great deal of distress. ‘I’m not a scammer — I’ve got absolutely nothing to hide, I genuinely loved Michael and the really sad thing is that even after he cheated on me, I still loved him. And the idea that I married him for a visa is ludicrous — I don’t need him to get to the UK. I could apply for a work permit or my family connections would get me an ancestry visa.
At their wedding the couple, pictured centre, only had two builders as witnesses with the new bride saying: ‘Michael was here on his own so it felt wrong for my family to be there’
‘My only regret is compromising on my values and my standards by going ahead with the marriage when I knew in my heart of hearts that it wasn’t right. I gave him a chance and he promised me it [cheating] was all in the past.
She insists that the title of ‘Lady Kristyna’ was ‘given to me by the newspapers — I have never claimed it for myself.’
Kristyna sounds convincing, breaking down in tears during our phone conversation at what she calls the ‘terrible slanders’ she has endured. Yet she is also frustratingly vague about crucial details of her past, claiming she wants to protect her extended family.
What we do know is this: copies of Kristyna’s birth certificate and childhood passport seen by the Mail show her to have been born Kristyn (without the ‘a’) Drummond-Hay in June 1982 in Mount Lawley, Perth, Western Australia.
The youngest of four children, her parents are named as Harry Denzil Drummond-Hay and Frances Diana, both of whom were born in Bengal in India.
Kristyna maintains her relationship to the 15th Earl of Perth, William Huntly Drummond — the man she claims is her grandfather — has its roots there. William, along with his English wife, was sent to India in the early 20th century to work as an official in the Raj.
But while records show he died childless in 1937, Kristyna believes her father Harry was his secret son, the product of a possibly bigamous marriage to an unnamed woman. By the early Sixties, Harry and Frances had moved to Australia, and while reluctant to be drawn on the details of her childhood, Kristyna says it was ‘very comfortable’.
By the time she was in her teens, Harry, who died in February 2014, had left the family home. He went on to remarry and have three more children — a decision that prompted Kristyna to later change her name to her mother’s maiden name of Halyburton.
‘I hadn’t seen my Dad for a while at that stage — I didn’t see him during my teen years for a time. I was angry and stroppy,’ she says. ‘But recently I have wanted to go back to my birth name.’
When asked about her career she is vague: while Michael claims she told him she was, variously, a lawyer, a veterinary science expert and had done voiceovers for Netflix, this week Kristyna would say only that after university she had worked in human resources ‘for a number of years for a number of different companies’.
She is more forthcoming on the subject of the early months of her romance with Michael, a divorcee, the beginnings of which, at least, it seems both parties are agreed upon. The two met via the Muddy Matches dating site around the start of 2018, and corresponded online and by telephone for about a year.
‘We really connected,’ says Kristyna. ‘We both loved the countryside and just wanted a simple life together.’
In Michael’s version of events, Kristyna had told him that she was a member of a British aristocratic family and that if she came to the UK they could live at the family farm in Scotland.
In fact, there seems to be no ‘family farm’ in Scotland — or not one belonging to Kristyna anyway — and in one of his more eyebrow-raising allegations, Michael says he believes that Kristyna used computer software to fabricate a conversation with an alleged Scottish cousin called John from that ‘aristocratic’ side of the family.
Kristyna denies all of this vehemently. ‘I was very honest with him about my family background, there were no lies and no secrets,’ she insists. ‘I have told him things I have never told anyone else.
‘He spoke to my sister many times on the phone, and to one of my cousins, he was free to talk to my mum and stepdad. There is land owned by the family in Scotland but I never promised anything to Michael about living there.’
Nonetheless, Kristyna says the relationship nearly went awry even before they met for the first time after she heard stories about Michael’s time in the Army. (With regard to this, Michael tells the Daily Mail he’s done nothing wrong and doesn’t know what she’s talking about.)
‘I said I wasn’t sure I could trust him, but even his mother got in touch asking me to give him another chance. We agreed that if this was to work we needed complete trust. We agreed to exchange passwords for social media accounts and general accounts — which is the reason he later met his downfall,’ she says.
Finally, in December last year Kristyna came to the UK to meet Michael. Two days after she arrived, he proposed with a £5,000 engagement ring in a waterfront pub in Conwy in North Wales.
‘I met his family on Christmas Eve and they were welcoming enough. Then on Christmas Day Michael had to work so I travelled to London with him,’ she recalls. ‘I then spent Christmas Day on my own in a hotel room, but I didn’t mind as I knew he didn’t get much time off.’
Over the next six weeks, she travelled around the country with him as he worked, before returning to Australia. Michael arrived two weeks later.
The pair married at the Melbourne Welsh Church with two builders as witnesses — a deliberate decision, insists Kristyna. ‘I just wanted it to be our day. Michael was here on his own so it felt wrong for my family to be there.’
The couple booked into a nearby hotel, but their nuptial happiness was short-lived: according to Michael, he called time on the marriage even before he returned to the UK a week later due to work commitments. He said he realised his wife was ‘controlling’ and that he had made a mistake.
Following his departure, his new bride had immediately applied for a UK spouse visa, which is when Michael says that he became aware of inconsistencies in her story and he found out she was a secretary for a taxi firm.
Then, after asking questions about her background, he says Kristyna ‘trolled’ his extended family and sent hostile messages warning them not to damage her chances of getting to the UK.
Kristyna has a different recollection. She was, she says, left heartbroken by her discovery, through accessing his mobile phone records, that her husband of less than a few weeks had already cheated on her.
‘He had become distant very quickly, and as we had agreed to be open I looked at his phone records and realised he had been contacting other women,’ she says.
Breaking down in tears at the recollection, she claims Michael begged for forgiveness before becoming hostile.
‘It was a roller coaster — he begged for forgiveness, then got angry, then wanted forgiveness again. I have a copy of a text message in which he admitted his mistakes. Even his mum asked me to give him another chance.
‘But by mid-May it became clear the situation was untenable and I filed for divorce,’ she says. ‘It left me deeply upset and the situation has been made worse by Michael’s vile accusations.’
She refutes any notion that she married for a visa.
‘It’s laughable,’ she insists. ‘My documentation shows I applied for a visa under my current name Kristyna Halyburton — the name on my passport — and I paid for everything. With Brexit and the threat of terrorism and other issues the thought of an Australian using a Brit for a visa is ridiculous — it would be the other way around.’
None of this, of course, addresses the mystery of Isla Drummond Hay — an island that in an interview Kristyna said had been purchased by her Great-Uncle Maurice — and her grand ‘philanthropic’ offer to budding conservationists.
In fact, the current Earl of Perth has confirmed the family does not own the island, while both the Chilean Embassy and the Royal Geographical Society seemed unable to shed any further light on whom it actually does belong to.
Nor does Kristyna. ‘I never said that I owned it personally or that I was offering that or anything from my own pocket,’ she says now. ‘It can be considered a mystery and I’ll leave it at that. All I can say is that it’s named Isla Drummond Hay and it’s a no-brainer really.’
It seems the couple are agreed that Kristyna is filing for divorce.
‘I am divorcing him for his infidelity,’ she claims. ‘I am also considering legal action for some of the things he has said.’
Asked about her accusations that he was unfaithful, Michael for his part said: ‘I actually don’t know what she is talking about. I just want to get on with my life.’
In a final twist, Kristyna has also revealed she’s in a new relationship. ‘I’ve met someone else and though it is early days, I feel positive. Michael wants to paint me as being the bad guy, but I feel like I am the one who has dodged a bullet.’
Not everyone will agree. This week Michael told the Mail that while Kristyna had been ‘very convincing’ when he first met her he now believed he had been conned.
‘I believed everything she said at first,’ he says. ‘I did not realise there were people like her in the world — she even created a false family tree online to convince me about her background. I started laughing when I realised she was a fake, but I feel angry now.
‘She started saying nasty things about my family, and stressing us all out — and now she has informed me she is going to sue me for stress and trauma saying she is the one who has been ‘‘catfished’’ (the term for luring someone into a relationship using a fictional persona online).
‘I think the reason she began our relationship was to obtain a visa to come to the UK. She has wasted my time and money — and I can’t trust anybody now.’
It’s a sentiment a world away from his gushing declarations little more than six months ago about his ‘amazing’ bride, and a stark illustration of how quickly this fairytale has turned into a baffling puzzle.
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