New York turns out in style as Giuliani marries for third time

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The Independent US

The Rudy Giuliani story has been one of the best soap operas in town since his bitter bust-up with his former wife two years ago, his run-in with prostate cancer the year before and, of course, his political heroics as New York's Mayor after the 11 September attacks. Roll credits this weekend for the happy ending.

Yesterday was wedding day for Mr Giuliani, 58, holder of an honorary knighthood from the Queen. In fact, there were no TV cameras for the strictly private ceremony - which is a pity, since the setting was gorgeous: Gracie Mansion, the newly refurbished mayoral residence on the East River.

"Hizzonner the Mayor", who was marrying his girlfriend of three years, Judith Nathan, had his pick of fancy hotels and other venues in the city for his nuptials, to be officiated by his successor, Michael Bloomberg. But the mansion was perfect. Or it was entirely inappropriate, depending on how you look at it.

Maybe he chose it to remind New Yorkers that his political ambitions were still burning. Governor or even President Giuliani are titles that come to mind. Or because it is much easier for security to protect than a hotel, what with reporters and al-Qa'ida terrorists to worry about.

Yet, this was also the home where his 18-year marriage to the TV personality Donna Hanover so publicly spun apart in the months before his time as Mayor ended. In the summer of 2001, he was evicted from the mayoral mansion by a livid Ms Hanover, who had got wind of the affair with Ms Nathan. The wronged wife was thereafter dubbed "Cruella" by the Mayor's sharp-tongued divorce lawyer.

Ms Hanover, who presents a cable show about celebrity homes, was not expected at Gracie Mansion last night. But then the list of 300 invited to attend was a closely held secret. We did know who was not invited, however: they included another ex-mayor and long-time political thorn in Mr Giuliani's side, Ed Koch. Mr Koch tried not to sound bitter: "I'm not a close friend, but I wish him well," he said. "But if he runs for Mayor again, I won't vote for him."

Mr Giuliani, who runs a political and security consulting partnership, was spotted all about town last week, grinning madly. On Monday, he and his fiancée collected the marriage licence from City Hall. "I'm very, very happy," he informed the attendant reporters. "I'm looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together." Thursday saw a stag party at Yankee Stadium, given by the groom's 17-year-old son, Andrew, also the best man.

The other star of the show, though, was Mr Bloomberg. Usually he prefers to avoid any official activities on a Saturday, when he can be found on the golf course or inspecting his various homes worldwide. Mr Bloomberg also made it clear when he took office last year that he had no intention of using his mayoral powers to marry people.

But for Mr Giuliani, he made an exception. Indeed, he wrote a whole new policy on the matter. He will be available in future to officiate at weddings of former New York mayors only, and for no one else. Which means he'll surely never have to do it again - Mr Koch has never married, and shows no intention of doing so - though this assumes the Nathan-Giuliani pact holds good.

This is, after all, Mr Giuliani's third stab at marriage. When he won Ms Hanover, he first had to break away from his first wife of 14 years, Regina Peruggi. He managed by persuading the Catholic church to annul the union. Which wasn't so hard, since he and Ms Peruggi are second cousins.

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