LONDON (Reuters) – Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former supermodel Jerry Hall will hold a marriage service next month at St Bride’s church on London’s Fleet Street, the spiritual home of British journalism.
The 84-year-old executive chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox Inc and Hall, 59, announced their engagement last month in a classified advert in the Times newspaper, one of the papers his group owns.
The couple’s nuptials will be celebrated on March 5 at the historic church, famed for its wedding-cake spire and designed by Christopher Wren who was also responsible for the nearby St Paul’s Cathedral.
“He will be having a service to celebrate the marriage,” Claire Seaton from St Bride’s told Reuters. She said the actual wedding ceremony would take place elsewhere.
The three-times-married media tycoon and Hall, the former longtime partner of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, got engaged in Los Angeles, where they had been attending Hollywood’s Golden Globes awards ceremony.
Murdoch divorced his third wife, Wendi Deng, a former executive at Murdoch-owned Star TV in China, in 2013 after 14 years, saying their marriage had been irretrievably broken.
Hall was married to Jagger for more than 20 years but in divorce proceedings in 1999 the British musician claimed they were never legally married.
There was no immediate comment from Murdoch’s spokesman, but Britain’s Guardian newspaper said the couple’s former partners were not expected to attend. Among the 150 or so guests would be Robert Thomson, News Corp’s chief executive and Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of his British media arm, the paper said.
St Bride’s link with journalism dates back centuries from a time when Fleet Street was home to Britain’s national newspapers and to many offices of regional and international papers.
It was Murdoch himself who hastened its demise as the hub for journalism in 1986 when he moved his print works to a plant in Wapping, east London, after some 6,000 newspaper workers went on strike.
“Within months the printing dinosaur that was Fleet Street was dead. By 1989 all the national newspapers had decamped as other proprietors followed Murdoch’s lead,” the church’s website says.
It adds: “Many people at that time feared that the diaspora of the Fourth Estate might result in St Bride’s losing its title of the cathedral of Fleet Street. Might Rupert Murdoch’s vision bring about what pestilence, fire and the Luftwaffe had failed to achieve?”
However, the church said it still maintained close links with the industry and held a large number of memorial and carol services for journalists, newspapers and media organisations.
(By Michael Holden; Editing by Stephen Addison)