Orris and Kerry Johnson celebrated their wedding on Saturday at the grand Cotswolds estate of a major Tory donor with guests including staunch loyalists Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries.
The outgoing prime minister and his wife hosted family and friends at 18th-century Daylesford House to celebrate their nuptials in an elaborate ceremony, after the pandemic forced them to scale back the festivities last year. was
The thrice-married groom’s 81-year-old father Stanley Johnson and sister Rachel Johnson were in attendance at his latest nuptials, while Australian actor Holly Valance was also spotted pulling into the estate.
Political allies who were pictured arriving included Conservative Lord Zach Goldsmith, Tory MP John Whitingdale, as well as cabinet colleagues Mr Rees Mogg and Ms Dorries.
There were questions about whether defectors from Mr Johnson’s government would be excluded from the guest list, with former health secretary Sajid Javid one of those notably absent.
Former chancellor Rishi Singh and current foreign secretary Liz Truss were absent from the party as they campaigned to try to replace the prime minister.
A possibly less welcome guest was anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray, who stood on a road near the wedding venue with a large banner reading “Corrupt Tory Government”.
On a campaign visit to Bromley, Ms Truss defended Mr Johnson for holding lavish celebrations at a time when millions of people are struggling with ballooning bills.
Asked if the prime minister should be focusing on such crises facing the country instead of partying, he told reporters: “I think she deserves to enjoy her wedding day, and I don’t. My best wishes to K and Kerry and the entire family.”
The event was being held in a huge white marquee in the vast landscaped grounds of Daylesford House in Gloucestershire.
The Grade I-listed mansion is owned by Lord Bamford, chairman of construction equipment manufacturer JCB, who has donated millions to the Conservatives.
This week staff were seen going in and out of the bunting top tent amid apparent preparations for the party.
Guests were able to relax on benches placed outside the hay bales and marquees and eat and drink at casks and small tables as they enjoyed views of the expansive meadows and gardens.
Mr and Mrs Johnson had originally planned to hold their wedding ceremony at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s official residence in Buckinghamshire.
The plans led to suggestions that Mr Johnson wanted to stay on as a caretaker Prime Minister to see it through, although Downing Street denied this.
They are said to have sent save-the-date cards for the July 30 celebration before deciding to change the venue.
The couple married last year in a low-key private ceremony at Westminster Cathedral, held in secret, in front of a small group of family and friends.
This was followed by a reception in the gardens of 10 Downing Street, which had a limited number of guests due to coronavirus restrictions.
It was understood that Mr and Mrs Johnson had planned a big celebration this year after restrictions were eased.
The Mirror reported, citing unnamed sources, that billionaire Lord Bamford is covering at least some of the party’s expenses.
This is not the first time that Mr Johnson has benefited from the JCB chairman’s support.
The Tory peer backed his 2019 leadership bid, with Mr Johnson knocking down a wall at a Staffordshire factory with a JCB digger to show he could “get Brexit done”.
Lord Bamford’s wife, Lady Carol Bamford, founded Daylesford Organic Farm, a chain of shops selling across London.
Mr Johnson reportedly obtained around £12,500 of food from Daylesford Farm Shop during the pandemic, although Downing Street said he paid for all the food for “personal use”.
When asked about the wedding celebrations, Number 10 declined to comment on a “private matter”.