The Mystery Woman Behind the Murdoch Mess | Business | Vanity Fair
the days after the June 2009 wedding party that took place at the 284-acre Sarsden estate, 75 miles northwest of London in the Oxfordshire countryside, it would be noted by the British press how remarkable it was, considering who the guests were, that the bride had managed to keep the event a secret from the media. There were no tabloid journalists hanging around the nearby village of Churchill, no paparazzi hiding in the bushes on the morning of June 13, the day Rebekah Wade, the editor of The Sun, Britain’s largest daily newspaper, celebrated her marriage to the former racehorse trainer and “international playboy” Charles Patrick Evelyn Brooks.
The prime minister, Gordon Brown, and his wife, Sarah, attended, as did David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader and prime minister–to–be, and his wife, Samantha. Rupert Murdoch, The Sun’s owner, had flown in. Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth and her husband, the P.R. man Matthew Freud, who had helped to orchestrate the “media blackout,” had driven over from Burford Priory, their $7 million, 22-bedroom country home, 15 miles away. The guest list attested to the power Rebekah Wade had achieved, at the age of just 41, as the editor of The Sun, a tabloid with three million readers, and as the first woman to hold that job. But it also attested to her charm, “her warmth,” her “gregariousness,” and “her straightforward, sympathetic manner,” because the guests were also close friends. Sarah Brown had her for “sleepovers” at Chequers, the prime minister’s country retreat. David Cameron was so close he reportedly signed his letters to her “Love, David.”