If Carolyn Bourne and her future daughter-in-law had chilly relations before Mrs. Bourne's chastising email went public, things are probably downright icy now.

Mrs. Bourne - a well known horticulturalist in England - is preparing for her stepson Freddie's wedding to Heidi Withers this coming October, and recently had the enagaged couple visit she and Freddie's father for a weekend. Clearly, Carolyn was less than impressed with her future daughter-in-law's behavior, and made it very clear in a mean-spirited email that she sent three times, just to be sure Heidi received it.

She did - and so have thousands of others since the email has made the rounds on UK and US newsites in the last couple of days.

Heidi forwarded the email - which suggests Ms. Withers enroll in finishing school - to friends, and it quickly got into the hands of the media. The engaged couple have not yet publicly commented on the email, but Heidi's father Alan, 64, has, calling Mrs. Bourne a snotty Miss Fancy Pants who has her head stuck so far up her own a*** she doesn't know whether to speak or f**t.


Mrs. Bourne and her husband Edward told the Daily Mail that they were 'well aware' of the criticism by Heidi's father but still planned to go to the wedding.

The Daily Mail also posted the text of the email, which is included below:

It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.

Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you. It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.

If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste. There are plenty of finishing schools around.

Please, for your own good, for Freddie's sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:

  • When you are a guest in another's house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat - unless you are positively allergic to something.  You do not remark that you do not have enough food. You do not start before everyone else. You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
  • When a guest in another's house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early - you fall in line with house norms.
  • You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.
  • You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed.
  • You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.
  • No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.

I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters' marriages.)

If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.