The River Jordan Hosts Baptism Of Rupert Murdoch’s Children, Celeb Guests (WIDK)
Posted to WIDK by Emily Moore
(Michael Seamark, Daily Mail) — The dress code was all-white and celebrity godparents Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman figured prominently in a gushing Hello! report covering the baptism of Rupert Murdoch’s two youngest children.
Curiously, there was no mention – or photograph – in the magazine’s 19-page picture spread of another famous godparent present at the star-studded ceremony on the banks of the River Jordan.
For it emerged after that Tony Blair is godfather to the media tycoon’s nine-year-old daughter, Grace, raising fresh questions about links between the former prime minister and the News International boss.
The secret bond between Mr Blair and the Murdoch family was disclosed in a rare interview with the billionaire’s third wife, Wendi, in which the former Labour leader is described as one of Mrs Murdoch’s ‘closest friends’.
Mr Blair’s office refused to comment on the interview, which appears in the October issue of Vogue, but sources have confirmed that the magazine account is accurate.
Mr Blair’s close ties to the Murdochs might now explain his reluctance to criticise News International over the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed the media empire and forced the closure of the News of the World.
Earlier this summer it was reported that Mr Blair had urged Gordon Brown to put pressure on Labour MP Tom Watson, who led the campaign to expose the scandal, to back off – although the former prime minister’s spokesman denied this.
On becoming Labour leader in 1994, Mr Blair flew to a conference hosted by Mr Murdoch to end the party’s feud with him.
The unlikely alliance continued throughout Mr Blair’s ten years in office as Mr Murdoch’s newspapers – The Times, The Sun and the News of the World – supported him.
But news that he played such a significant role in the Murdoch children’s baptism – hosted by Queen Rania of Jordan – reveals a far closer personal relationship between Mr Blair and the media mogul.
The April 5, 2010, issue of Hello! reported that Mr Murdoch’s daughters Grace and Chloe, eight, were baptised at the site where Jesus is said to have been immersed in the Jordan by John the Baptist.
Guests included Hollywood stars Kidman and Jackman, as well as property tycoon Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and Google co-founder Larry Page.
Pictures of Mr Murdoch and his high-profile guests fill page after glossy page of Hello!, but there is neither sight nor mention of Mr Blair, now a Middle East envoy.
It was left to the Vogue interview with Mrs Murdoch, 42, to reveal his intimate role in the proceedings.
She did not comment directly on Mr Blair, but the article said he was one of her ‘closest friends’.
It reported that he attended the baptism ‘garbed in white’ and was Grace’s godfather. Mr Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan, is her other godfather.
News International is to sell its Wapping site and relocate its stable of titles to its neighbouring Thomas More Square base in East London.
The company transferred to the 15-acre Wapping site in 1986, a move that broke the dominance of the print unions and began the mass exodus from Fleet Street.