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    Did Lily James call Dominic West’s wife to say those pictures could be innocently explained?

    Did Lily James call Dominic West’s wife about THOSE pictures? Actress ‘reassured’ Catherine FitzGerald that the pair’s intimate Rome weekend can be ‘innocently explained’ 

    On Sunday there was glorious Roman sunshine and a carefree boozy lunch — followed by some lusty nuzzling between Dominic West, 50 and Lily James, 31.

    Yesterday morning, in the grey chill of Wiltshire, this had given way to tight smiles and tortured body language between West and his wife Catherine.

    The couple emerged from their honey-brick home at around 10.30am to assert that they are ‘very much together’ and have a ‘strong marriage’ They did not attempt to explain his now-public grappling with a co-star two decades his junior — neither Lily nor the trip to Rome was mentioned.

    Did Lily James call Dominic West’s wife about THOSE pictures? Actress ‘reassured’ Catherine FitzGerald that the pair’s intimate Rome weekend (pictured) can be ‘innocently explained’

    Catherine clutched a note written by her husband and signed by them both. This she deposited for photographers at the boundary of their property. It read: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much together. Thank you.’ She then put her hand back in her pocket — along with a scrunched-up tissue which she was holding tightly throughout the photo-call.

    That told its own sad story.

    She and West, parents of four and married for a decade, posed for pictures, her with left hand thrust deeply into her jeans pocket, before performing a rather excruciating ‘no-problems-here-chum’ kiss.

    You might have expected a convincing facsimile of marital affection, but these have been testing days. Bafta-winner West leaned away from his wife of ten years, an awkward grimace on his face.

    He also looked amused as the dark glasses which were perched on his wife’s hair fell off her head, shooting a distinctly smug look to camera. This has launched a thousand memes about faithless men — the kind who zip around on scooters with women to whom they are not married.

    By contrast, Catherine faced her ordeal with considerable grace. Her gritted teeth were only really in evidence when she hesitated on her way out of the home.

    So whose idea was the photo-call? Definitely Dominic’s, say friends. There is speculation that Lily might have called Mrs West on Monday night to insist that those pictures could be innocently explained away.

    Other sources say their mutual agent, Angharad Wood, who was pictured at the restaurant in Rome, would have offered some reassurance. Sources indicate that Lily and Dominic were in Rome to visit her and her baby daughter, who was born in August.

    Angharad’s partner is Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio — familiar to UK audiences as Count Fosco in the 2018 adaptation of The Woman In White.

    One pal said: ‘The fact that Angharad was there will have been very reassuring to Catherine as the two women are good friends.

    ‘Angharad would not have stood for anything going on and he would certainly not be so stupid as to do anything in front of her. Dom has a bit of history with women from some time ago, but he’s much too clever to get caught out this way.

    ‘The fact is he’s a very cuddly kind of person, really a big teddy bear, and you could probably have a picture of him like this with a dozen of his female friends.’

    Sources have suggested Lily and Dominic may have got closer than they normally would over the past two months while filming The Pursuit Of Love, from late July to early October. She’s the star of the film, which is based on the Nancy Mitford novel about an upper-class English family in the inter-war years. Dominic plays her father.

    Due to the pandemic, however, there were strict rules about off-set mingling. One source said: ‘When you are making films these days, you end up locked down in a bubble for 12 weeks. People go crazy. You aren’t allowed to hang out with people from outside the bubble, so you end up spending time with each other.’

    And while the phenomenon of the on-set fling is far from new, it seems that during the pandemic ‘anything can and does happen’.

    Another added: ‘Actors have to sign Covid contracts these days, which mean they promise they will stay in that bubble throughout filming. They can’t see their families even at weekends. It means that people are thrown together in a very intense way.’

    What is certain is that the publication of the pictures of them sent both Lily and West fleeing the Italian capital pronto presto.

    The pair returned to the UK on evening flights on Monday, with Lily getting home at around 9.30pm and Dominic a little later.

    West, who was not wearing his chunky gold signature wedding ring on his trip to Rome, and still wasn’t wearing it during yesterday’s photo-call, left home around 8.30am on Tuesday to drive his daughter to school before returning at 9am.

    Lily, meanwhile, remained firmly shut away behind the door of her flat in North London yesterday. Dominic and Catherine are now thought to have headed to her ancestral seat, Glin Castle in Ireland. Her late father was the 29th Knight of Glin, a line of Irish Earls dating back to the 14th century. She grew up at Glin Castle and the 15-bedroom property is now run as a hotel.

    They will spend half term with their young family and 380 acres of woodland between them and nosy photographers.

    They have daughter Dora, 13, sons Senan, 12, and Francis, 11, and daughter Christabel, seven. West also has daughter Martha, 22, with ex-girlfriend Polly Astor.

    On Monday, before she saw the pictures which have excited so much comment, Mrs West agreed her husband was ‘good friends’ with Downton Abbey and Cinderella actress Lily. She described the relationship as ‘platonic.’

    It could be that she is an expert in the art of turning the other cheek as in an interview in 2016 West indicated some enthusiasm for marriages which permit husbands to stray in middle age. ‘I think women should be more indulgent of affairs. I really do.

    ‘It’s daft to kick someone out over a fling, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘Everyone should turn a blind eye to men’s behaviour between the ages of 40 and 50. Let it all blow over.’

    Lily and West got to know each other during a production of Othello in 2011 when she was only a year out of drama school and still very much grieving for her father James Thomson.

    They have bumped into each other on the London luvvie scene since, but run with different crowds — after all, she is 19 years his junior.

    One friend of hers said she still lives a student life, hanging out with old pals from Guildhall, rolling her own cigarettes and enjoying house parties and pubs.

    Before and after: Dominic with his wedding ring on (left) and without it in Rome (right)

    Missing something? Dominic's ring-free hand was clear to see as he caressed Lily's face

    Before and after: Dominic with his wedding ring on (left) and without it in Rome (right)

    During 15 years with West, Catherine has seen him in many on-screen clinches, most recently when playing Noah Solloway in the Showtime drama The Affair. He told an interviewer she never minds seeing him romancing other women in films and on TV.

    ‘I think, really, what marriage is is two people helping each other to live the best lives they can. And that’s what happened with me and my missus. That’s why it works. She doesn’t get jealous, either. If she were doing the scenes I’m doing in The Affair, I would hate it.’

    Always private, Lily deplored the attention which came with her five-year romance with Doctor Who star Matt Smith.

    When that ended, she told her friends that she was looking for a new man who wasn’t famous.

    She felt that liaisons between actors always came with extra challenges. As for seeking a new romance away from the public gaze — Lily’s single life has certainly got off to a very bad start. 

    Catherine's wedding to West took place at her ancestral home Glin Castle, Co. Limerick, on the west coast of Ireland with a breathtaking 400-acre estate on the banks of the River Shannon

    Catherine’s wedding to West took place at her ancestral home Glin Castle, Co. Limerick, on the west coast of Ireland with a breathtaking 400-acre estate on the banks of the River Shannon 

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