Born to Scottish parents — just 10 minutes apart — they grew up in a west London household so close to a railroad that trains would rattle the windows. After leaving school at 16, the twins joined the accounts department of General Electric Co., according to “The Twin Enigma,” a 2016 book by Vivienne Lewin.

They teamed up in the 1960s to turn old boarding houses into hotels and moved into breweries and casinos, marking the beginning of their business empire. Their holdings include delivery service Yodel and online retailer The Very Group.

Frederick is also in court with his estranged wife, Hiroko Barclay. A judge who oversaw the divorce’s preliminary hearing placed limits on what can be reported, but the case may eventually shed light on the Barclay family’s finances if it reaches a public decision.

Ritz Sale

Public filings show hints of the Barclay family’s fallout even before start of the court case, and how the Ritz’s new owner snapped up one of the Barclays’ most valuable assets.

Aidan and Howard Barclay replaced Amanda and one of her associates as directors across the Ritz companies a week after Alistair Barclay was recorded handling the bug. The brothers secured a deal with Qatari businessman Abdulhadi Mana Al-Hajri for the Ritz for around 800 million pounds in March, with Frederick and Amanda finding out through press reports, despite Amanda holding a 25% stake in the hotel.

“We are surprised and perturbed by the announcement that the Ritz hotel has allegedly been sold,” a spokesman for Frederick said at the time. “We have neither consulted nor have we approved this sale.”

Al-Hajri, the 40-year-old brother-in-law of Qatar’s ruler, is following the style of the Barclays’ stewardship of the Ritz by keeping a low profile. In addition to the London hotel, his real estate holdings include Turkey’s most expensive home and a $50 million Miami mansion, according to local media. 

Another of Frederick and Amanda’s lawyers, Desmond Browne, summarized the ongoing family feud in court earlier this year.

“We all remember Tolstoy saying ‘each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’,” he said. “Here, the children of Sir Frederick and Sir David have been at odds…concerning the family trusts, and cousin, sadly, has been pitched against cousin.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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