Royal wedding: How the Queen snubbed Barack and Michelle Obama with symbolic gesture
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walked down the aisle more than eight years ago. It was April 29, 2011, and Kate Middleton made history when she said “I do” to Prince William at Westminster Abbey. The day was declared a public holiday in the UK, but because the Duke of Cambridge is not the first-in-line to the throne, the wedding was not a full state occasion, which meant many details of the big day were left down to the couple.
The wedding was watched live by 36 million people and was packed with all the usual pomp and ceremony of a royal occasion.
The guest list included more than 1,900 people and had its fair share of celebrities – including the Beckhams, Sir Elton John, the late Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and David Cameron.
However, there were two people missing from the guest list, who had been widely expected to attend.
The Queen personally invited 40 heads of state, who received gold-embossed invitations.
Former US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, however, were not among them.
According to a 2011 report by the Daily Mail, the Government organised a state visit the following month – the first for a US President since 2002 – in return for Mr Obama not coming to the wedding.
The couple did not receive the invitation, the report claims, because of the added security costs involved with protecting the former President.
French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni also missed out and Prince Andrew’s former wife, Sarah Ferguson – the Duchess of York – was also snubbed.
Leaders from Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand had all been invited with Kings and Queens across Europe, including Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Greece.
Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair or Gordon Brown also did not receive invitations to the ceremony, despite it being a “semi-state” occasion.
By contrast, both their Conservative predecessors, Sir John Major and Baroness Thatcher, received invitations.
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A spokesman for St James’s Palace claimed Mr Blair and Mr Brown had not been invited because neither were Knights of the Garter, unlike Sir John and Lady Thatcher.
The spokesman said: “Sir John Major is the only former prime minister going. Baroness Thatcher was invited, as were all Knights of the Garter, but is unable to attend. It is not a state occasion so there is no reason why they [Mr Blair and Mr Brown] would be invited.”
Following the death of Diana 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: “There is no protocol reason to invite them, so unless they [the couple] wanted to invite former prime ministers for a personal reason, there’s no reason to do so.
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“It is a private wedding and the couple are entitled to invite whoever they want to it. 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.”
The Order of the Garter, Britain’s highest order of chivalry, honours contributions to national life and is conferred by the Queen.
Lady Thatcher was made a Lady Companion of the Garter in 1995, five years after leaving office, while Sir John, who left Number 10 in 1997, was made a Knight of the Garter in 2005.
Published at Sun, 12 Apr 2020 09:33:00 +0000