It has all the makings of a memorable occasion: a groom who openly displays disdain for his new father-in-law, divorced parents still looking for someone to blame for their failed marriage, and a guest list brimming with celebrities – all well-oiled and nestled under the same roof for the media wedding of the year.
By 9pm tonight, Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of the media baron Rupert Murdoch, and Matthew Freud, the celebrity PR man, will be married. Mr Murdoch will give his daughter away in front of 100 guests who have, in some cases, clawed their way onto the guest list. A further 180 of the less important will attend an informal dinner and party on Saturday evening. The choice of location for the wedding, the Chapel of Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, was an obvious one – the couple own China Corner, a country home in the grounds.
At least some of Mr Freud's top-tier clients are expected to be present, including the actress and singer Martine McCutcheon, the singer Geri Halliwell, and the former DJ Chris Evans and his wife, Billie Piper. Others likely to attend include the TV presenter Johnny Vaughan, the writer of Notting Hill, Richard Curtis, and the Labour peer Waheed Alli.
Mr Murdoch will need to put behind him Mr Freud's recent interview in Vanity Fair magazine, in which he accused Mr Murdoch of being old-fashioned and biased against his daughter, and an interview by his former wife, Anna Murdoch Mann, in Australian Women's Weekly magazine, in which she blamed his affair with Wendi Deng, the new Mrs Murdoch, for the collapse of their marriage.
But he can, at least, expect a better party than the last one Mr Freud organised on his behalf. At the 1998 Sky Digital launch party at Battersea Power Station, Mr Murdoch got covered in mud (due to bad weather and inadequate flooring), then had to shout his speech when the sound system failed.Reuse content