How Sir Philip’s son cast a spell on Emma Watson: The super-woke Harry Potter star and the playboy son of the disgraced Topshop tycoon – it’s hard to think of a more unlikely romance, writes ALISON BOSHOFF
One can almost see her eyebrows raised in quizzical disdain. Hermione Granger would surely disapprove.
Pictures emerged this week of Emma Watson, the serious-minded Harry Potter actress and eco-warrior, hopping out of Sir Philip Green’s family helicopter in Battersea, Suid Londen. Nuuskierig, some would think, given Emma’s long-standing war against fast fashion, that she would accept a lift from the fallen King of the High Street.
More curious still, egter, is that Emma, 31, has apparently been enchanted by Brandon Green, Sir Philip’s 28-year-old son, whose longest relationship to date seems to have been with a Belarusian bikini model. Could there be a more unlikely romance?
Aside from both being awash with money —Brandon is an heir to a £2 billion fortune, while Emma is said to be worth about £59 million —they appear to have almost nothing in common. Yet according to a friend, a certain magic is in the air.
‘Brandon has been wooing Emma,’ says one source. Another says: ‘They are an item, although she hasn’t met the family yet.’
Emma Watson is pictured in New York City in May 2016. Emma, 31, has apparently been enchanted by Brandon Green, Sir Philip’s 28-year-old son
Emma, who once mused about being ‘self-partnered’, has certainly had more suitors than her single status would have you believe.
By 17, an early boyfriend was rugby player Tom Ducker, but her most serious romance seems to have been with another rugby player — and fellow Oxford student — Matt Janney, with whom she broke up in 2015.
Then there was another Oxford student, Will Adamowicz. The relationship lasted from 2011 aan 2013.
She was then seen out and about with actor/producer Roberto Aguire, whom she first met in 2005 on the set of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. She also seems to have a particularly weak spot for young tech millionaires, as she has dated at least three of them, most significantly U.S. entrepreneur William ‘Mack’ Knight, whom she split from in late 2017 following a two-year romance.
Then came a six-month love affair with handsome Glee actor Chord Overstreet. They broke up during the summer of 2018.
Pictures emerged this week of Emma, the serious-minded Harry Potter actress and eco-warrior, hopping out of Sir Philip Green’s family helicopter in Battersea, Suid-Londen. She most recently split from her boyfriend of two years, businessman Leo Robinton (op die foto)
She was then spotted sharing cocktails with tech CEO Brendan Wallace, a New Yorker, nou 38, who is co-founder of a venture capital fund. By summer 2019 she was rumoured to have moved on to another tech millionaire, Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus.
She most recently split from her boyfriend of two years, businessman Leo Robinton.
It’s a longer list of amours than you might expect for someone who claims to be ‘self-partnered’, but then Emma is a woman who solemnly examines her life.
‘The boyfriends or partners I’ve had have generally made me feel really cherished. They have built me up,' sy het gese.
Quite how Brandon — who featured in Tatler’s ‘most eligible’ list in 2014 and was once caught patting Kate Moss’s bottom — fits into Emma’s orbit of admirers, remains to be seen. Alhoewel, like Emma’s other admirers, he does have a job running a tech investments company.
So who is this handsome young man — and what does Emma see in him?
Gebore in 1992, he was raised in Monte Carlo with big sister Chloe. Sy ma, Tina, is resident in the tax haven and was the ultimate owner of the Arcadia group, which went into administration last year. He went to the principality of Monaco’s International School.
To say his was a gilded upbringing would be an understatement. A source in Monaco says: ‘All the time he was growing up, the Greens would never fly commercial, always in their private jet.
‘They have a private chauffeur and in the family penthouse at the Roccabella building in Monaco there are uniformed maids standing to attention in every room just in case someone needs something. That’s the lifestyle Brandon was born into and has always thought was completely normal.’
He and Chloe have the use of the 109ft yacht Lionchase — Sir Phil has the 295ft Lionheart —which is moored in Monaco in the winter and cruises around the Med all summer.
I’m informed that his mum will pick up ‘seven-figure’ boat bills for the pair of them at the end of the season without blanching.
Brandon’s 2005 Bar Mitzvah caused a stir. It was held at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, with entertainment provided by Beyonce, Destiny’s Child and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Daar was 300 guests over three days, all hosted by Sir Phil, who was then the boss of Topshop, BHS and Dorothy Perkins, all part of the Arcadia group.
When he was younger, Brandon seemed to be happy to join Chloe in a celebrity-packed party lifestyle. Locals say he was ‘practically living in Monaco’s Sass Café and partying until dawn every morning with a bevy of models’ in his 20s.
Marina Linchuk and Brandon Green in July 12, 2015 in Amsterdam. Green began to go to Cannes as part of Topshop’s presence at the film festival, and to attend the Amfar charity gala on the arm of girlfriend Maryna, a Victoria’s Secret model who towered over him
Kate Moss — a friend of his father — spent much of her 2011 honeymoon break with Jamie Hince on board his yacht and they got on famously. In 2013 he was spotted playfully groping Moss’s bikini-clad bottom while on holiday in St Barth’s. At the time he was 21.
Toe sy was 21, Emma Watson had been famous for a decade and had just finished making the Potter films.
While Brandon found life one long, joyful party, she was struggling introspectively with having money and acclaim. As she recently said: ‘I’ve often thought, I’m so wrong for this job because I’m too serious.’
She felt physically sick when she found out how much money she had earned from the Potter films, and considered not renewing her contract to complete them.
Following stellar A-levels, she took an English degree at Brown University in Rhode Island — over five years, due to disruption from filming.
Brandon Green doesn’t have a degree. There was some idea that he might buck the family trend and go to university, but Sir Phil told an interviewer at the time: ‘It’s up for discussion,’ and evidently it was decided that was not the right path.
In plaas daarvan, he spent years learning the ropes of the fashion business with Sir Philip and working for Arcadia.
As the BHS scandal raged in 2016 — after Sir Philip sold the company to a bankrupt, with a hole in its pensions provisions — and the company went bust, Brandon was sent to host a table at the Met Gala Ball in New York in his father’s place.
For three years, he was also a regular at the Topshop show at London Fashion Week, sitting with model Jourdan Dunn and chatting to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
He began to go to Cannes, again as part of Topshop’s presence at the film festival, and to attend the Amfar charity gala on the arm of girlfriend Maryna Linchuk, a Victoria’s Secret model who towered over him.
But when Chloe became more involved in the family business and started designing shoes, Brandon stepped back from the spotlight.
They are a close family, all the more so since the woes that beset the Arcadia Group and Sir Philip before it collapsed. In werklikheid, this seems to have acted as a wake-up call for Brandon.
'N Bron het gesê: ‘Once Philip fell from grace so badly, all the A-list celebrities and many of the world’s elite dropped the Green family completely. It really shook them up.
When Chloe became more involved in the family business and started designing shoes, Brandon (pictured arriving at his west London mansion) stepped back from the spotlight
‘There was a party in Monaco that a family friend threw for them in the middle of the BHS pensions scandal. Brandon looked around aghast and said to Tina, “We don’t know anyone here!”
‘They felt the world hated them. Philip would fill his days doing laps of Monaco on foot with his bodyguard and personal trainer. Tina would busy herself in her art gallery or with her interior design business. There were a lot of tears; it was an awful atmosphere for the staff and for the family.
‘Brandon could see how transient popularity is and how big A-list stars had been using them for free holidays on their yachts for years. The whole experience sparked a “woke-over” in Brandon.
‘He got very interested in biodiversity and saving the oceans. He does a lot of charity and advocacy work with both Monaco’s Prince Albert’s Foundation and Princess Charlene’s Foundation. He is a trained deep-sea diver, he is very into fitness and gets involved with galas and charities that help the planet. He does frequent beach clean-ups and whatever he can to help.
‘It’s all very low-key, as he doesn’t want to be seen to be doing charity work for PR. But he’s been getting Tina to donate a hefty amount of money to charities that help save the planet too, saying they should do some good with their huge fortune.’
A second source says it is now Brandon, rather than Chloe, who is the apple of Tina’s eye, and he who is seen as the one who will eventually turn the family’s public reputation around.
A friend says: ‘He is very disciplined, intelligent and keen on study. He reads a lot, he travels a lot. He’s polite and well-mannered. Whatever he does, he embraces it fully. His parents are proud of him.’
Philip Green, Cristina Green, Brandon Green and Chloe Green attend the Gala for the Global Ocean hosted by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco at Opera of Monte-Carlo on September 26, 2019 in Monte-Carlo
His hobbies include skiing, at which he excels. He trains almost daily and took part in a gruelling cycling and swimming charity event last year for Princess Charlene of Monaco’s charity, going from Corsica to Monaco.
The friend adds: ‘He eats right and doesn’t drink or party — he is a very nice young man.’
How Brandon came to meet Emma, whose woke credentials may prove challenging for his family, is somewhat unclear, although it is believed his newfound interest in charitable ventures may have steered him her way.
Last year Miss Watson joined the sustainability committee at Kering, the owner of top fashion brands such as Gucci. She was labelled ‘Hollywood’s queen of ethical dressing’ by Vogue.
She has been taking a break from acting after appearing in the 2019 film Little Women but remains an active advocate for ‘race and gender justice’ via various charities. In 2014 she became a UN Women Goodwill ambassador, and she also ran a feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, op Twitter.
She loves writing poetry, jigsaws, cats and nights in.
Her first purchase with the Potter millions was a ‘brick-like’ Toyota Prius. Sy het gese: ‘It’s sensible and boring, like me.’
Not that Emma is as staid as she says. In conversation with Gloria Steinem at an event in London in 2016, she revealed that she subscribes to a sex education website called OMGyes.
It’s a far remove from the days when she was cast in the Harry Potter films at nine years old, having been found via the theatre club she attended. She only completed filming the last Potter when she was 20, in Junie 2010.
Sources who knew her in the Potter days say her father Chris’s influence was paramount, even though she lived with her mother in Oxford.
The experience of growing up on Potter was so constricting and stressful, when the cast and crew held a ‘wrap party’ at Harry’s Bar after the final set of reshoots in 2010, she didn’t attend.
She said in 2017: ‘It’s something I’ve really wrestled with. I’ve gone back and quizzed my parents. When I was younger, I just did it. I just acted, it was just there.
‘I was finding this fame thing was getting to a point of no return. I sensed that if this was something I was ever going to step away from, it was now or never.’
Post-Potter, her films have been generally low-key. It is said she turned down the La La Land role that brought Emma Stone an Oscar.
Her £3 million London home was selected after she viewed it over Skype, because she can come and go unobserved.
That’s not to say her life is in any way normal: her social circle includes fashion figures such as Antoine Arnault of the LVMH dynasty, she has been the face of Lancome perfume and launched a collection with the ethical fashion label People Tree.
The question now is, will Emma finally find lasting love with a most unlikely Green?