So who does get invited to the royal wedding and who doesn\’t?
The royal wedding has suffered its first major controversy after it was confirmed that neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown had been invited to Friday’s ceremony.
Why\’s that then?
By contrast, both their Conservative predecessors, Sir John Major and Baroness 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.
Well, quite. Politicians are, after all, however grand they may be as politicians, the people we hire to do the scut work of society. Make sure the courts open on time, the bins are collected, that sort of thing.
A Knight of the Garter is far grander, someone who has actually managed to make something of themselves in this life.
OK, delightful snobbery/
The much more fun point is that both of them, as former PM\’s could be KGs if they wished. Yes, yes, it\’s in the Queen\’s gift, and really is in her gift unlike all of the other knighthoods (umm, except Victorian Order and Thistle, the Scots equivalent of Garter….for those not quite up to date with British titles, there are 21 different orders (even more accurately 21 different types, some very much grander than others) of knighthood in the UK with KG firmly at the top). But still, if a former PM indicated that he/she would be graciously willing to accept a KG they\’d get it.
All they\’d have to do would be to wait until there was a slot, as there can only be 24 (non-Royal) Garters at any one time.
And since they each resigned, there have been slots available. The last two went this year to a former Master of the Rolls and a former First Sea Lord. They could have jumped those two (and Blair even more so, he could easily have pushed aside a former Chamberlain, or a Lord Lieutenant, in 2008).
Now I can understand why they might not have wanted to. Sir Tony, Sir Gordon, not sure it quite fits in with their self-image as men of the left (in Blair\’s case, a snigger might be appropriate here) but these things do come in packages you see.
If you\’re going to not take one of the honours, the KG, then you\’re also not going to get the things that go with being a KG…..like an invite to the Royal Wedding.
Which is all rather convenient, given Blair\’s behaviour at earlier Royal occasions (was it Diana\’s or the Queen Mother\’s funeral he made a right tit of himself at?).