- "I played the 'I love you more game' and won."
- ―Ernest on his relationship with Luna van Deurs
Ernest Bunbury II, Viscount Bunbury was the youngest child and only son of George Bunbury, 8th Earl of Harewood, and his first wife, Elizabeth Bell. He was the first cousin, twice removed, of Queen Elizabeth II, the great-great-grandson of King George V and is 59th in line to the British throne.
Viscount Bunbury was born in Hackwood Park in Basingstoke, Hampshire. He was baptised at All Saints' Church, Harewood. His godparents are Prince Richard and Birgitte, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
At the time of his birth, he was 30th in the line of succession to the throne. He is 59th as of June 2018. While there were speculations that the passing of the Succession to the Crown Act would put the Viscount at 60th, the act only replaced male-preference primogeniture with absolute primogeniture for those born in the line of succession after 28 October 2011, to be in accordance with the 2011 Perth Agreement. As a result, while Ernest is the youngest child of the Bunbury family, he takes priority to the throne over his older sister, Mary. Up until Ernest's birth, Mary was the heir-apparent to her father's Earldom, but the law of primogeniture only allows women to inherit Earldom if she has no brothers or nephews.
Ernest's two oldest sisters, Emily and Alexandra were born out of wedlock and therefore have no claims to the Harewood titles, nor places in the line of succession to the British throne. Though they were born illegitimate, Emily and Alexandra were later legitimised by the Privy Council and given the titles befitting children of a viscount (and after their father inherited the family earldom, of an earl), though not the rank that would come from being born in wedlock. This means that although Emily and Alexandra enjoy the style and formal address of "Lady Emily" and "Lady Alexandra", neither of them is entitled to any claims on the Harewood titles.
Ernest's parents divorced in 2002. His mother died in a car crash in Paris the following year. At his mother's funeral, Ernest, then 12, accompanied his father, sister, paternal grandfather, and maternal uncle, David Humbert, in walking behind the funeral cortège from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey. A few months after his wife's funeral, Ernest's father began seeing Marguerite Alibert and married her after three weeks. In an interview for his first novel, The Doormat, the viscount acknowledged that he sought counseling after years of "total chaos" while struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother.
Like his father and sisters, Ernest was educated at independent schools. He started at London's Jane Mynors' nursery school and the pre-preparatory Wetherby School. Following this, he attended Ludgrove School in Berkshire. After passing the entrance exams, he was admitted to Eton College. There, he studied English Literature, Spanish, and Mathematics at A-Level, obtaining an 'A' in English Literature and Spanish, and a 'B' in Mathematics.
After completing his studies at Eton, Ernest took a gap year, during which he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst by the demand of his father. The academy develops leadership in cadets by expanding their character, intellect and professional competences to a level demanded of an Army Officer on first appointment through military training and education. The course is accredited by various academic and professional institutions. The Commissioning Course lasts 44 weeks and must be successfully completed by all British regular army officers (with some exceptions) before they receive their commission. It is usually followed by further training courses specific to the Regiment or Corps in which the officer will serve.
In 2010, Ernest had finished his training and enrolled at Oxford University. News of this caused a temporary increase in the number of applications to Oxford, mostly from young women who wanted an opportunity to meet the viscount. The extra attention did not deter him; he embarked on a degree course in English Language and Literature, after which he earned a Master of Studies degree in Creative Writing with first-class honours. It was during his time at Oxford that he met and started dating Luna van Deurs.
After completing his second year of schooling at Oxford, Ernest (once again at the demand of his father) interned at Algernon Carlisle's Investigation Services in Manchester, England. Algernon was a family friend of the Bunbury's and was always fond of Ernest's active imagination and thought that as an adult it might serve useful in surveillance work. Little information is known about Ernest's success or lack thereof in the field as he and Mr. Carlisle agreed to keep all details of their work together away from the public eye so as to not attract unwanted attention to the British royal family, but many assume that his experiences during the internship served to influence some of his later writings.
On 26 April 2016, Oliver W. Bunbury, Ernest's paternal grandfather, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease after suffering from a stroke while playing golf. Upon hearing this news, Ernest agreed to spend some time helping his grandfather at his law firm serving as a legal secretary. While Oliver W. Bunbury had already retired as a lawyer, he still made himself responsible for a bulk of the paperwork at the firm and being that Ernest had just earned his MSt in Creative Writing, he found it suitable for him to help with what Ernest referred to as "donkey work".
Ernest's time at "The Law Offices of Oliver W. Bunbury" kept away from public attention for about a year, during which he spent writing several manuscripts and working with "Holder & Stoughton" to publish his first novel, The Doormat. Having received overall positive reception on the piece, Ernest decided to leave the law firm and devote his time to writing another novel.
While The Doormat was praised by critics to be "a book that dares to honor small moments and the life they add up to", many were disturbed from the fact that the book included detailed descriptions of Jack, the protagonist of the piece, being sexually abused by his uncle during his childhood. When confronted with the criticism in a BBC Radio 4 interview, Ernest passionately defended his decision to include the details in the narrative as "these are real events that happen to real people. Almost all that is said about these events is how 'awful' and 'abominable' they are without delving into the gritty details the victims have to suffer alone." When the interviewer responded by asking if this was something Ernest had personal experience with, he anxiously defended himself saying that he "detest[s] writers who write purely autobiographical tales while trying to pass them as fiction." In an attempt to calm Ernest down, the interviewer stated that "having pieces of a story be influenced by life is not the same as basing an entire piece on one's own biography." After a pause, Ernest said "one mustn't ask such personal questions in front of a camera", and rushed out the door. To this date, the Viscount has refused to do an interview regarding him or any of his works.
Upon returning to London to begin his third year at Oxford University, Ernest met Luna van Deurs. Luna is the daughter of Victor van Deurs, the head of "van Deurs" the luxury, international hospitality company, and Amber van Deurs, a BAFTA award-winning actress. While the two were often spotted in public together, little is known about their relationship outside of the fact that they began dating in October 2013.
In December 2018 Ernest and his stepmother, Marguerite, were reported to have been browsing wedding rings at a Tiffany & Co. at the Royal Exchange. According to the Tiffany employee, the viscount seemed very tense during the whole interaction and kept motioning as though he wanted to leave. After countless rumours spreading about the potential marriage between Ernest and Luna, the viscount announced that he would be returning to the life of the bachelor and spending some time away from the country. He has not been seen around the United Kingdom since.
Life in Los Santos
Ernest arrived in the city with only two suitcases, containing some clothes, a copy of Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, his Moleskine, a calligraphy pen (which he quickly lost), and his typewriter. It was when his taxi finally arrived that he would meet his first friends in the city, Jesus "Chuy" Palafox and Albert Villanueva. The three quickly bonded over the fact that they all came from different countries searching for something new. To this day they continue to meet regularly, usually while enjoying some Mexican food.
While he did his best to find a more stable and social job, Ernest spent his free time trying to explore the world of manual labour that he was always prohibited from involving himself with growing up. While there was talk of his potential employment at The Phoenix Corporation, a decision had yet to be made as a result of controversies between Ernest and other citizens in Los Santos, including members of the corporation.