I almost consider asking Uniacke if she wears Beckham’s clothes when we meet at her own home, an extraordinary Pimlico pile that she set about transforming over 10 years ago, but then I weigh up the evidence. She is dressed in a boat-neck top and a navy skirt by The Row, then changes into a dress by Molly Goddard (precisely tailored to fit) to have her picture taken.
When she went to the Academy Awards in February with her husband, the uber-producer David Heyman who snapped up the rights to Harry Potter in 1999, Uniacke wore a black dress she’d had for a few years. “It was one of Phoebe’s, black with a hole in the shoulder,” she says, referring to the celebrated Celine designer Phoebe Philo, who stepped down in 2017. I decide that the question has answered itself.
Uniacke has the sort of make-up-free, spa-polished skin look that’s more chic French than standard English, and she did live in France for three years from 1994 with her first husband, the Old Etonian businessman Robie Uniacke (now in a relationship with actor Rosamund Pike). “The children, the first four, were born there, in Gascony,” she says, “and I started buying antiques then as well.”
But she has been with Heyman for 17 years now, and the couple bought this house – a sort of Georgian Revival folly – in 2007. Sprawling over 14,000sq ft, it had been built in 1861 as a home and studio for the fashionable portraitist James Rannie Swinton and has served various purposes since, most recently as the home of the Warwick Arts Trust.
“There were five flats in the basement, it had been badly damaged in World War Two and it had been on the market for years,” says Uniacke. “No one wanted it. In fact, we looked at it for two years, then we thought, ‘Oh, we can just live in it.'”