Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-kate-garraway-and-derek-draper-are-guests-at-wedding-of-lord-mandelson-as-he-ties-the-knot-with-new-husband-reinaldo-avila-da-silva-after-27-years-together-–-with-tony-blair-also-at-marylebone-serviceAlert – Kate Garraway and Derek Draper are guests at wedding of Lord Mandelson as he ties the knot with new husband Reinaldo Avila da Silva after 27 years together – with Tony Blair also at Marylebone service

Lord Mandelson has married his long-term partner at a wedding attended by guests including Kate Garraway, her husband Derek Draper and former prime minister Tony Blair.

The Labour grandee, 70, said he was ‘delighted’ to tie the knot with Reinaldo Avila da Silva, 51, at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London yesterday after 27 years together.

The newlyweds, who met via mutual friends in 1996, beamed as wedding guests threw confetti over them as they walked out of the ceremony. 

There was also a touching moment where Mandelson shook the hand of his former researcher and adviser Mr Draper who attended the wedding in a wheelchair in a rare outing. The peer held Miss Garraway’s hand at the same time.

Mr Draper – who worked for Mandelson in the 90s – was diagnosed with coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and left in a life-threatening condition. He now requires 24/7 care at home.

Lord Peter Mandelson and his new husband Reinaldo Avila da Silva (pictured outside Old Marylebone Town Hall) have tied the knot after 27 years together

There was a touching moment where Lord Mandelson shook the hand of his former adviser Derek Draper (centre) and held the hand of Kate Garraway (right) at the same time

Also in attendance was former Labour PM Sir Tony Blair who both Mandelson and Draper worked under – and Baroness Amos, a Labour politician and diplomat.

Lord Mandelson, a key planner in Sir Keir Starmer’s preparations for the next election, said that for much of his life he did not believe it would ever be possible to marry Reinaldo.

But the peer, who served as Secretary of State between 1999 and 2001, has opened up about how different it feels to be married – and that he was not aware of the ’emotional comfort and strength’ it would bring.

The couple met through friends almost 30 years ago when Mandelson was in the middle of planning for the general election. Da Silva, who speaks seven languages, was studying Japanese at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Reflecting on his nuptials in a column for The Times, Lord Mandelson talked about being in generation of men who lived their early adult lives in an era where homosexuality was legalised in 1967 and the introduction of gay marriage in 2014.

‘My choice, as someone who was gay and with a high profile, was not to make my personal life and sexuality a secret, but to try to keep it private rather than in the public eye,’ he said.

Lord Mandelson said he thought it felt like the right thing to do at the time but spoke about how it caused ‘endless problems and real distress’.

The peer said he was thankful that times have changed for the younger generation, adding that ‘it feels great to make such a public declaration as marriage in 2023’.

Lord Mandelson said that the ‘weaponising of my sexuality against me’ began when the News of the World ignored his pleas not to publish a front page with the headline ‘Labour’s gay campaign chief’ during the 1987 general election.

Derek Draper (circled) is seen standing next to Labour grandees including Neil Kinnock, John Prescott and Peter Mandelson (right). The footage was in BBC2’s The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair (right) receives the Fenner Brockway medal, for his services to UK India relations, from the then Business Secretary Lord Mandelson

He discussed how he kept a handwritten letter left for him at Labour’s campaign HQ from John Smith which urged him to get on with the job because the ‘rest of the world doesn’t care’.

 He said that although the world may not have cared, it did not stop his main rival in the Hartlepool parliamentary selection putting a photocopy of the News of the World article through the doors of party members. He would go on to beat him.

In an honest opinion piece for The Times, Lord Mandelson recalled how Matthew Parris, the former Tory MP and broadcaster, publicly revealed he was among the gay members in Tony Blair’s Cabinet on Newsnight in November 1998.

He said he felt ‘both indifferent and angry’. It was around this time that his life ‘had just taken a remarkable turn for the better with Reinaldo entering it” and they were openly living together in Notting Hill, west London.

But he said the ‘real reason’ he went to Brussels to become EU trade commissioner was to leave the ‘hostile environment’ created by press interest in their relationship. Although he was not offered a Cabinet post after the 2001 election following a series of controversies.

Lord Peter Mandelson (centre) listens as shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves delivers her keynote speech to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool earlier this month

Former Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson during the State Opening Of Parliament on November 18 in 2009

After a decade in exile, following Gordon Brown’s eviction from Downing Street at the 2010 General Election, Mandelson has now returned to the public eye.

At Labour’s Party Conference, Tony Blair’s old Business Secretary, who was nicknamed the ‘Prince of Darkness’ was in the front row.

Mandelson was forced to resign twice in controversial circumstances from Blair’s Cabinet.

He was embroiled in further controversy over his friendship to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who used to call him ‘Petie’. 

At the end of his column in The Times, Mandelson said that his attempts to retain privacy have been a ‘failure’.

‘So I am delighted to make it a glorious failure, by declaring our love publicly through marriage,’ he added. 

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