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Tony Blair, Gordon Brown not invited to royal wedding

entertainment Updated: Apr 26, 2011 16:52 IST

PTI
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In an apparent snub, two former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who had tense ties with the Buckingham Palace have not been invited to Friday's high-profile royal wedding in Britain.



Blair and Brown will not join the 1,900-strong specially invited congregation at Westminster Abbey when Prince William marries Kate Middleton, The Telegraph reported. By contrast, both their Conservative predecessors, John Major and Baroness Thatcher, received invitations.



Lady Thatcher declined on health grounds although Sir John will be present at the "semi-state" occasion. A spokesman for St James's Palace said Blair and Brown had not received invitations because neither were Knights of the Garter, unlike Sir John and Lady Thatcher.



William KateHowever, 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.



The relationship between Buckingham Palace and Blair and, to a lesser extent, Brown were marked by tension. Blair's wife, Cherie, refused to curtsy to members of the Royal family, and he was at the centre of a storm over arrangements for the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 2002, the report said.



A wide spectrum of other guests have received an invitation, including the postman, pub landlord and butcher from Kate Middleton's home village of Bucklebury, Berks, and the barman from her parents' favourite holiday island, Mustique.



The list of prominent guests officially released yesterday includes more than 200 politicians and diplomats, including David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg. More than 40 members of foreign royal families will be present, as will 60 governors general and overseas prime ministers, and celebrities including Sir Elton John and David and Victoria Beckham.



While Prince William and Miss Middleton have taken a "hands on" role in overseeing the guest list, the invitations sent out to politicians and foreign dignitaries will have been closely monitored by Buckingham Palace.



A St James's Palace spokesman, said: "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.



"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."



Neither Blair's office nor Brown's wished to comment last night, The Telegraph said.

However, Michael Dugher, the Labour MP, said: "It appears odd that surviving prime ministers other than Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have rightly been invited to a semi-state occasion, while they haven't."