Many houses in the Carmen district of Valencia bear plaques to show that someone famous lived there. Here is the story of one.
Starting out as the daughter of a lowly knife-sharpener from Valencia’s medieval Carmen district, where she was born in 1957, Bienvenida Perez-Blanco has certainly come a long way, although it’s a way largely filled with sex, scandal and then a little more sex, preferably plastered across the front pages of the newspapers.
Bienvenida certainly seems to have been welcome into the European aristocracy, becoming Lady Buck after her marriage to Sir Anthony Buck and later Countess Sokolow.
Perhaps it was the early separation of her parents and her mother’s migration to London that set the ball rolling for Bienvenida. Looked after by her grandmother initially, at the age of 15, when her grandmother died, Bienvenida travelled to London to reunite with her mother; a reunion that didn’t bring much joy to either.
After working in various jobs and getting to know some of London’s finest, she met Sir Anthony Buck in 1990 at a party. Sir Anthony was at the time Secretary of State for the Navy and a Conservative MP.
Three weeks later they were wed and flying to Barbados for their honeymoon on a private Concorde jet, and Bienvenida rarely looked back. The marriage did however, and Bienvenida started an affair with Sir Peter Harding, Chief of Defence Staff.
Bienvenida acted with military precision when her husband found out about the affair; both men were worried about their reputations, and Bienvenida took photos of herself and poor Peter in the Dorchester Hotel, selling them for 175,000 pounds to the News of the World, in a pincer movement that brought down both men.
Harding resigned, and Bienvenida had already welcomed her future second husband into her life, the Russian Count and art dealer, Nicholas Sokolow.
This marriage didn’t last long either, and after various versions of her life and loves were exposed by the press, mostly by her and for a fee, Bienvenida returned to Spain and chalked up husband number three in 1999, the Andlusian lawyer Eduardo Jimeno, with whom she globe-trotted between London, Switzerland and Marbella, before returning to Spain to live a life apparently separate from her husband, who died in 2008.
In 2010 she returned to the UK, to Liverpool, where in 2012 she was a candidate as Mayor of the city of The Beatles.
Many men from the north have felt the dangerous allure of Valencian women, and like Ulysses, only survive by lashing themselves to a mast or bar and stuffing their ears with something.
To protect the innocent, no photographs of Bienvenida have been published here.