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Blair and Brown fail to make the Royal wedding guest list

WHEN planning a wedding, the guest list is always tricky.

INVITE: The guest list for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding has caused controversy. From top, Lady Thatcher, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Joss Stone. Below: the Beckhams. Picture: AFP/Getty
INVITE: The guest list for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding has caused controversy. From top, Lady Thatcher, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Joss Stone. Below: the Beckhams. Picture: AFP/Getty

But in a move which has ruffled feathers, it has been confirmed that neither Tony Blair or Gordon Brown has been invited to attend the royal nuptials.

The former Labour prime ministers will not join the 1900-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey on Friday despite it being a “semi-state” occasion that they had been widely expected to attend.

Both their Conservative predecessors, Sir John Major and Lady Thatcher, received invitations. Lady Thatcher declined on health grounds although Sir John will be present when Prince William marries Kate Middleton.

A spokesman for St James’s Palace said Mr Blair and Mr Brown had not received invitations because neither were Knights of the Garter, unlike Sir John and Lady Thatcher.

Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, Sir John Major, was appointed a guardian to Princes William and Harry and the Palace said he was invited for this “very specific reason”.

The spokesman added: “It is not a state occasion so there is no reason why they [Mr Blair and Mr Brown] would be invited. There is no protocol reason to invite them, so unless they wanted to invite former prime ministers for a personal reason, there’s no reason to do so.

“It is a private wedding and the couple are entitled to invite whoever they want. Prince William is not the Prince of Wales or the King, and he hasn’t got that link to prime ministers in the way that the Queen does.”

However, Labour MPs said it was “surprising” and “odd” that the pair had apparently been snubbed on what was a “great British occasion”. All surviving former prime ministers, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath and James Callaghan, attended the Prince of Wales’s marriage to Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981.

More than 40 members of foreign royal families will attend alongside 60 governors general and overseas prime ministers, including representatives from Bermuda, St Lucia, the Solomon Islands and Montserrat.

Among the government and diplomatic contingent to make the cut are John Cranfield and his wife Vilma, who will represent St Helena, a tiny British territory in the South Atlantic with a population of little more that 4000.

The apparent snub to Mr Blair and Mr Brown is all the more marked given the vast spectrum of guests who have been invited. Celebrity invitees include Sir Elton John, Victoria and David Beckham, singer Joss Stone, actors Rowan Atkinson and Guy Ritchie, socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe.

Several of Prince William and Miss Middleton’s former boyfriends and girlfriends have made the guest list including Jecca Craig, who went out with William as a teenager, and Rupert Finch, a lawyer who briefly dated Miss Middleton at university.

Among the Scots invitees are First Minister Alex Salmond and his wife Moira, along with Alex Fergusson, Holyrood’s Presiding Officer and his wife Merryn.

Other guests include Lance-Corporal Martyn Compton, who was badly injured in an ambush in Afghanistan, as well as the postman, pub landlord and butcher from Miss Middleton’s home village of Bucklebury, Berkshire.

In a break from tradition, the royal couple has done away with the “bride and groom sides” at Westminster Abbey.

Members of the Spencer family, including the late Princess Diana’s brother Earl Charles Spencer and sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, will sit alongside the Middletons in the North Lantern.

The Queen and other members of the royal family will sit in the South Lantern, closest to The Sanctuary, where Prince William and his bride will stand.

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