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Friday, May 27, 2011

Ed 'marriage-doesn't-matter-that-much' Miliband finally finds time to wed mother of his two children

By Daily Mail Reporter

-'Feel like the luckiest guy in the world', groom Tweets

You may kiss the bride: Despite the windy conditions, Ed Miliband and his new bride Justine Thornton embrace after the civil ceremony at Langar House hotel in Nottingham

He insisted marriage doesn't matter that much any more just a few days ago.

Yet today Labour leader Ed Miliband wed his long-term partner and mother of their two children Justine Thornton in a low-key civil ceremony.

This morning the groom took time out to send a message to Twitter followers who had wished him well for the big day.

'Thanks for all the good wishes,' he wrote.

'Really looking forward to the day. Feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be marrying Justine.'

Despite claiming he has not bowed to media pressure to tie the knot, the ceremony comes as the father-of-two attempts to convince Britain he can be the next Prime Minister.

The 41-year-old said he was looking forward to a 'special and fantastic day' but previously revealed he was 'too busy to get married'.

Among the 50 friends and family at Langar Hall hotel in Nottingham today was the MP's brother David, who he beat in the sometimes bitter battle to lead the Labour party.

Ed Miliband wore a slate blue suit while his bride opted for a traditional floor-length ivory dress, without a train, as they tied the knot.

The empire-style wedding dress was by London-based Temperley and Mr Miliband's suit, with which he wore a blue tie, was from Aquascutum.

Guests were entertained by a quartet of two trumpets, an oboe and a piano playing classical pieces and heard two readings during the 25-minute service.

One was an extract from Louis de Bernieres' best-selling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin and I Carry Your Heart With Me, a poem by the American writer EE Cummings.

Mr Miliband's office would not reveal who gave the readings.

Family affair: The happy couple with their children Daniel, left and Samuel after the ceremony

Idyllic setting: Langar Hotel in Nottinghamshire hosted the couple and their 50 guests

I'm on my way, bruv: David Miliband and wife Louise arrive at Langar Hall for the wedding of his brother, Ed

The couple used traditional wedding vows although they omitted the promise to 'obey'.

The bride will be taking her husband's surname but will continue to use Thornton for professional purposes.

After posing for the cameras, the newlyweds went off to join guests enjoying champagne and canapes ahead of the formal wedding lunch.

Speeches during the reception were set to be delivered by the bride and groom only - Mr Miliband having dispensed with the tradition of having a best man.

Nor will there a table laden with gifts as the couple have asked instead for donations to children's charity Barnardo's and to Methodist Homes for the Aged, which housed Ms Thornton's grandmother for several years.

Mr Miliband, who proposed on London's Primrose Hill near where the couple live with their two young sons, announced in May that they would marry

As the first leader of a major political party to live with his family out of wedlock, Mr Miliband had faced criticism about his unmarried status but insisted he would not be forced into it.

'We'll get married because we want to get married and love each other very much, no other reason,' he told one interviewer.

Last week, he responded to David Cameron's bid to put marriage at the centre of his Big Society idea.

‘I am pro-commitment,’ he said, ‘but I think that unlike David Cameron, I am not going to say that those families that aren’t married are automatically less stable than those families that are.’

The Labour leader met Cambridge-educated environmental barrister Ms Thornton, who is a year younger than him, in 2005.

Labour sources said the couple planned to take advantage of the long Parliamentary recess to take a five-day honeymoon, probably in the UK.

Welcome to married life: Ed and Justine were to set to be the only ones to make speeches at their reception

Your guide to the politically correct wedding of Ed Miliband, Britain's most reluctant groom

Today, Ed Miliband went to the altar. While the Labour leader is hardly the biggest advocate for marriage (he insisted this week that unmarried families were as stable as married ones) and was ‘too busy’ to add his name to his eldest son’s birth certificate — he finally tied the knot with the mother of his children, Justine Thornton.

In his inimitable style, QUENTIN LETTS gives a run-down of today’s happy event...

Justine Thornton, 40, Cambridge-educated environmental barrister and slightly frazzled mother of two.

‘Red’ Ed Miliband, 41, leader of the Labour Party and Oxford-educated son of communist academic Ralph Miliband.

Today, 11.45am provided adenoidal Ed turns up on time. He is not always the most punctual.

The £140 a night Langar Hall Hotel, Nottinghamshire (below). Country hotel in solid Tory shire territory. The local MP is Ken Clarke.

Walking off to a happy ending: Ed and Justine end the photo-call

Why Nottinghamshire?
The bride spent her childhood nearby, back in the days when she was a promising young actress. Langar Hall is a pretty spot, politically-correct enough to proclaim itself ‘a fantastic civil partnership venue’ yet traditional enough to have rolling lawns and four-poster beds.

It’s approached down a long avenue of trees. Wedding couples tend to pose for snapshots in the spacious grounds beside classical urns and trimmed yew hedges.

Inside, the d├ęcor includes naked statues of nubile girls. Don’t tell Harriet Harman!
The hall was built in the early 19th century and was once home to legendary seadog Admiral Lord Howe (no relation of Geoffrey). Bedrooms are given names. These include Bohemia and the Marks Room (could it not be renamed Marx for the visit of all those Milibands?).

A third room is called The Barrister’s Room, with wood-lined walls and low lighting. Given that Justine is herself a member of the Bar, perhaps this would be most appropriate.

Guest list
Limited to 50 ‘close family and old friends’. The aim, said an aide, is to have ‘a politics-free wedding’. Not that Ed will mind if the Press run lots of pictures of him with his new-minted missus.

The only MP expected to attend the ceremony is brother David, so cruelly denied the Labour leadership by Ed last autumn.

David’s wife Louise will also be present, despite having been reportedly in tears after the leadership result. Louise is a violinist. If she turns up with a violin case, let’s hope it includes her fiddle and not a loaded Tommy gun.

Whirlwind romance?
Er, not exactly. Ed has been Justine’s regular squeeze for six years and has until now been of the modish, North London view that marriage is optional, faintly embarrassing, perhaps even a tool of traditional male suppression (the default setting of Guardian commentators). Here was one union that Red Ed hesitated to support.

He finally got round to proposing to his prosperous and gamine co-habitee (she owns their £1.6 million house) after pressure from the media. This included an interview with Piers Morgan in which Ed said Justine was ‘not my wife, thank god’. Oh no!
There was also an internet campaign which kept asking Ed ‘when are you going to make a decent woman of her?’ To which the answer, naturally, is that Justine was jolly decent all along.

Anyway, the question was popped, a place in Labour’s ‘news grid’ was found, the press release was issued and we now find ourselves on the day of the nuptials. Motion carried. Hooray.

Beaming: The pair got married in their own style

A bounce in the opinion polls would be most welcome, particularly after Labour’s horrid showing in the recent elections. But otherwise, no gifts, please. Ed’s security detail always gets twitchy at the sight of wrapped boxes.

The couple have asked guests to donate money instead to Barnardo’s and to Methodist Homes for the Aged (they looked after Justine’s late grandmother towards the end of her life).

Best man
No one. There is not even a ‘best person’. Some people hoped that brother David would do the best-man honours but, not for the first time in recent months, a vacant position eluded him. Or did he refuse?

Guests of honour
Justine’s parents Louise and Stewart; Ed’s widowed mother Marion and the happy couple’s two sons, toddler Daniel and infant Sam. Any over-refreshed uncle who burps during the speeches can always blame it on baby Sam having an attack of windypops.

Today’s timetable
Standard, secular registry-wedding vows will be uttered at the half-hour ceremony. Next, drinks and canapes.

Then it’ll be in to a slap-up lunch in a £5,500 marquee. The menu is not being disclosed but the hotel is celebrated for its pig’s cheek croquettes (above), char-grilled fallow venison and rhubarb souffles. Rhubarb? That’s one of Ed’s specialities, too.

Both bride and groom will make speeches at lunch. Ed for once will be able to speak without worrying what his backbenchers make of it all — because none of the swine will be there! Some £600 worth of champagne has been bought for the toasts.

At some point, in salute to the groom’s Jewish heritage, there will be some glass-smashing — a glass goblet being placed in a cloth and being stamped on. If mild-mannered Ed needs any inspiration to help him stamp with vigour, he can simply think of Ed Balls. That should bring out the inner beast in our hero.

The Miliband-Thornton set is not known for big boozing. You are more likely to hear a shout for a ‘Big Tom’.

This is nothing to do with Ed Miliband’s rangy spin doctor, Tom Baldwin. A ‘Big Tom’ is the name of a tomato-juice drink served in the Langar Hall’s bar. But Baldwin himself is known to prefer rather stronger substances.

Dress code
Smart but unshowy. Certainly not morning coat with spongebag trousers. That’s David Cameron territory. Ed has bought ‘a very smart new suit’ — although it’s not known if buttonholes will be worn, red roses should not be ruled out. They are still the Labour emblem, after all.

As for petite Justine’s dress, we can expect something costing hundreds rather than thousands, probably with an idiosyncratic touch.

Going away
Mr and Mrs Edward Miliband (yes, Justine will now be using her husband’s surname, except in her legal work) will leave the hotel after lunch for a five-day honeymoon in Europe. The location is secret but romantic.

Temperate Prague should not be ruled out — after all, it has a fascinating Museum of Communism, just the sort of thing earnest Ed would enjoy.



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