TONY Blair and Gordon Brown have been snubbed from the Royal Wedding – as has Brown’s former spin doctor Simon Lewis, despite his previous incarnation as the first head of communications for the Queen between 1998 and 2000.
Lewis, who is now the chief executive of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, will still take centre stage though. From 8am, he will be setting up camp in ITN’s studio in Green Park to provide live commentary throughout the day as part of a panel chaired by Philip Schofield.
The PR heavyweight, the older brother of former Daily Telegraph editor Will Lewis, will no doubt give ITN’s viewers the inside track on those City guests fortunate enough to have received an invitation.
They include Simon Johnson, the chief operating officer of England 2018, who worked closely with Prince William on the doomed World Cup bid; Sir John Madjeski, chairman of Reading football club; and Canadian retail billionaire and philanthropist Galen Weston and his wife Hilary, said to be friends of the royal family.
However, elsewhere in the City, there are rumblings of Republican discontent. The chief executive of a leading stockbroker, who refused to be named – “I want to keep my head, not get it chopped off” – said: “Of the list of things I am bothered about, this one bothers me not at all.
“Why couldn’t William and Kate get married on a Saturday like everyone else, so small businesses up and down the country don’t have to lose a day’s trading?”
MEANWHILE, scores of City workers will flee the capital tonight to avoid the wedding madness – just as long as they are not recalled to the office to work the Bank Holiday weekend.
This practice is rife at Goldman Sachs in the US, says author William Cohan, whose new book Money and Power claims a group of young recruits were summoned to a partner’s office for a meeting at 5pm the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend, kept waiting until 10pm, and then ordered to cancel their weekend plans to work on client business.
Goldmans’ UK operation refused to comment on the accuracy of Cohan’s claims. But the reality is that not even meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time can exempt you from the dreaded summons – just ask the banker at Evercore Partners who was ordered back to London on a Saturday even though he was already half-way to lunch in Kent with his prospective in-laws when he took the call.
IMAGINE a motorbike. Then imagine a smaller one, cut it in half, stick an uncomfortable old sofa on the back and you have a mototaxi (pictured above) – the vehicle that Avi Bagchi and Moira Eyres from Schroders and ex-Morgan Stanley banker Adam Fenton are driving the length of Peru in aid of Practical Action.
The team will set off from the UK tomorrow – follow their progress at www.theincaredibles.com as they contend with drug barons, tribal wars and some of the least hospitable terrain on earth in their bid to reach the Ecuadorian border within two weeks.
TAIT LOSES THE PLOT
THE LATEST dispatch from David Tait, the global head of macro directional trading at UBS who is midway through an oxygenless ascent of Everest (below), announces that he set off from Base Camp at 3am this morning to negotiate the Khumbu ice-fall before moving up to 6,200 metres.
From now on, however, no-one will know where Tait is, because he has permanently switched off the GPS transmitter that plots his location, after the device malfunctioned and started flashing SOS, triggering a flurry of emails to expedition leaders.
Tait said: “It was only by chance that fleets of rescue-type helicopters weren’t scrambled erroneously, presenting me with a quantitative easing type of invoice.”