How Bling Empire’s Christine Chiu made a £50 million fortune from boob jobs and bum implants – then helped King Charles create a world-beating FERTILITY CENTRE that offers hypnotherapy and ‘mindful walking’!
- Christine and Dr Gabriel Chiu have donated to the King’s ‘Royal NHS’
- Mrs Chiu was star of hit Netflix show about rich Asians in Los Angeles
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It is now five years since the founding of the so-called ‘Royal NHS’, the integrated Health and Wellbeing Centre at Dumfries House, King Charles’s cultural institute in Scotland.
Offering a range of holistic approaches, including cooking lessons, yoga, planting and harvesting, sewing and ‘mindful walking’, it is said to have produced remarkable results .
Last weekend, The Mail on Sunday reported that half the couples attending the Dumfries House fertility clinic were able to conceive, while the average birth rate for IVF patients in the United Kingdom is only 20 per cent.
Most of the patients there have exhausted the help available on the actual National Health Service.
Who, then, is paying? Not for the first time, the King has sought help from foreign donors.
But in the case of the Dumfries House health centre, the backers are colourful even by Charles’s standards, as Caroline Graham reported in 2021.
Meet the Chius – the millionaire plastic surgery moguls who starred in the Netflix reality series Bling Empire – and have funnelled the money they’ve made from boob jobs and butt lifts into helping couples from Ayreshire to conceive…
Flamboyant Christine Chiu appeared in the Netflix reality show Bling Empire. She is also a major backer of King Charles’s Health and Wellbeing Centre at Dumfries House
Charles, Christine Chiu and her husband Dr Gabriel Chiu at the unveiling of a plaque acknowledging their donation. The Chius have made millions from their plastic surgery practice
Dumfries House in Ayreshire is a Palladian mansion saved for the nation by Charles and now established as a cultural and health centre, part of the Prince’s Foundation
With its range of holistic therapies, the Prince’s Foundation Health and Wellbeing Centre has been hailed as a ‘passion project’ for the Prince of Wales.
Acupuncture, reflexology and hypnotherapy are just some of the treatments on offer at the clinic, which is part of the 2,000-acre estate of Dumfries House, the 18th Century Palladian mansion in Ayrshire saved for the nation and lovingly restored by Prince Charles.
The Wellbeing Centre was dismissed as ‘new age hippy nonsense’ when it first opened 2019. But no longer.
These days it is known as The Royal NHS by grateful GPs, who have praised it for transforming the lives of more than 200 local patients referred for its pioneering approach to obesity, diabetes and infertility.
At the heart of the multi-million-pound project sits the glamorous figure of Taiwanese businesswoman Christine Chiu.
Gabriel and Christine Chiu attend a children’s hospital party in Santa Monica in 2022
Prince Charles – or the Duke of Rothesay as he was known in Scotland – discusses allergies and the environment at Dumfries house in September 2022, shortly before his accession to the throne
The centre, and its undoubted success, would never have been possible without her support, including a vast donation.
Charles appears alongside Christine – and her plunging neckline – in numerous photographs on her popular Instagram account and the warm regard is mutual. As she told Netflix viewers, the Prince of Wales is a ‘really cool guy’.
But what, you must wonder, does Charles make of his friend’s appearance in the hit Netflix reality show so gaudy that even the title, Bling Empire, does scarce justice to the exuberant vulgarity on display?
A cross between the movie Crazy Rich Asians and the reality series Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Bling Empire revolves around the social lives of a group of extraordinarily wealthy Asians in Hollywood and their jaw-dropping consumption.
And whether she is wearing Dolce & Gabbana or latex fetish gear, Christine is the breakout star.
The Netflix series Bling Empire was based on a circle of wealthy Asians in Hollywood. Christine Chiu, 40, was a breakout star
So who are Christine and her 55-year-old husband Dr Gabriel Chiu? The short answer is they are self-made millionaires with a reported £50 million fortune thanks to Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Inc, one of the biggest clinics in Los Angeles.
Dr Chiu specialises in nose jobs and his trademark ‘Mommy makeover’ (a combination of tummy-tuck and breast lift), procedures unlikely to be offered any time soon at Dumfries House.
When the series was filmed in pre-Covid 2019 (the year Prince Charles’s Scottish Health and Wellbeing Centre opened), Christine revelled in showing off her opulent lifestyle.
It included shutting down the Beverly Hills shopping mecca of Rodeo Drive for a Chinese New Year party which, she quipped, ‘cost more than an average home in the US but less than a rare Bugatti’.
In one episode of Bling Empire, the Chius host a ‘leather party’, called Keep It Tight, to promote their clinic’s new ‘ab and buttocks’ tightening machine.
There’s a Botox bar at the party where Dr Gabriel is injecting guests for free, as well as a curious vibrating device apparently used to strengthen the pelvic floor.
Attired in pink latex with matching gloves and headband, Christine tells her guests that ‘Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery is here to keep you keep it tight. Tight abs, tight butts. Yes, front and backside!’
For the first birthday of her son Gabriel, nicknamed Baby G, she hosted a $1 million party at an LA children’s museum complete with Ferris wheel, carnival games, pony rides, a live band and a fairground-style ‘grab claw’ machine filled with Gucci handbags.
Christine drew gasps from the crowd when she announced that, instead of party bags, the couple would donate a million dollars to the museum to provide free admission to children from poor communities.
And sharp-eyed observers will note that the Dumfries House health centre boasts a plaque in honour of Gabriel Christian Chiu III, their tuxedo-wearing toddler.
Dumfries House is an 18th Century Palladian mansion in Ayrshire saved for the nation and restored by Prince Charles. It’s health and wellness centre offers yoga, hypnotherapy, harvesting and mindful walking among other treatments – with a good record of success
The series features other super-rich members of the Asian ‘bling set’ including Anna Shay (daughter of a defence contractor worth a reported £88 billion); Kane Lim (son of a billionaire Singaporean shipping magnate); and Jaime Xie (whose Silicon Valley father Ken sold his business NetScreen, an anti-hacking system, for £3 billion in 2004).
But it is Christine who steals the show. With her love of outlandish couture and ostentatious displays of wealth, she has become such a sensation that her publicist tells The Mail on Sunday she has been ‘swamped’ with interview requests from all over the globe.
When she makes the social faux pas of wearing a Louis Vuitton diamond and pink sapphire necklace identical to the one worn by her hostess Shay, she is ‘punished’ by being placed in ‘social Siberia’ and bemoans her plight saying: ‘I was seated to the left of Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, why am I all the way down here?’
The daughter of a Taiwanese businessman who came to the US at 18 to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, Christine brags about her royal connections on screen.
But not, as may be expected, her links to Prince Charles. Instead she tells the viewers her Chinese husband Gabriel is from the 24th generation of the Song Imperial dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1279AD.
Christine spoke about her ‘fascinating’ experience sitting next to the Prince at a fundraising gala, saying: ‘I was told about ten minutes prior to the dinner that I would be seated next to him, which is such a great honour. But there is a lot of etiquette that goes with it.
‘So I had to do a crash course of the etiquette rules. There are certain times when he stands up and you have to stand up, or he leaves first. Then you’re supposed to face one way if he faces one way.
It’s a lot to think about when you’re trying to have dinner. He’s incredibly charming and he’s got a wicked sense of humour. He’s a really cool guy.’
In a gushing post on Instagram to celebrate the Prince’s birthday last year, she posted four photographs of herself meeting him (on separate occasions), writing: ‘Happy Birthday HRH Prince Charles! What an honour and pleasure it has been to support your vision and philanthropic efforts.
‘Looking forward to visiting with you and to check on the progress of The Prince’s Foundation Chiu Health and Wellness Programmes and Centre soon.’
There are rare moments in Bling Empire where the socialite’s mask slips and moments of humanity peek through. She describes her son as her ‘miracle baby’, conceived through IVF after ten years of trying.
Christine Chiu at the Chanel Ready to Wear show in Los Angeles, 2023
Born in Taiwan, Mrs Chiu was brought up in Hollywood. She has spoken about her ‘fascinating’ experience sitting next to Charles at a fundraising gala
Later she breaks down and cries as she says she ‘assumed the guilt’ of infertility in the eyes of her husband’s traditional Chinese family even though, in fact, the ‘issue’ lay with him.
The Dumfries House clinic treated more than 200 people in 2019. And although it was forced to close its doors for most of last year because of the pandemic, and remains shut to the public, it has continued to offer virtual health and wellbeing courses.
Just before lockdown in March, a baby was born to a couple who took part in the ‘fertility wellbeing course’ and had struggled for two years to get pregnant. Colin and Stacey Forrest were ‘overjoyed’ to welcome baby Calvin.
Stacey signed up for the centre’s fertility course but admitted: ‘Colin was a bit sceptical. I wanted to try anything by that stage. All tests carried out by the NHS showed that there was apparently nothing wrong with either of us, so everyone kept telling us, ‘Just be patient, it will happen when it happens.’ ‘
The couple registered for fertility treatment through the NHS and were on the 18-month waiting list for IUI (intrauterine insemination) when they decided to spend three months of their wait ‘trying something different’.
Stacey, a childminder, said: ‘The course helped me as a person and taught me to be less stressed and just generally to calm down.’
Charles and Camilla on their way to unveil a knitted installation at Dumfries House in September – shortly before the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth
Christine Chiu in a revealing display at an LA film gala in 2022
As the first series of Bling Empire ends, Christine is shown arguing with her husband about whether to try for another IVF baby.
As for the Prince of Wales, a spokesman for Clarence House declined to comment but a Palace insider said it was ‘highly unlikely’ that he would watch the show.
A source praised the Chius’ philanthropic contribution to the clinic at Dumfries House, saying that they had been ‘enormously helpful’ when it came to ‘realising the vision’ for the Wellbeing Centre. While it has yet to be announced, sources say that the surprise success of the show makes a second series inevitable.
And, who knows, perhaps viewers will be treated to the sight of Christine visiting ‘her’ Scottish clinic – although how well her Manolo Blahnik stilettos will cope with the damp turf at Dumfries House remains to be seen.
- Additional reporting: Saskia Hume and Patricia Kane
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