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Rupert Murdoch to return to Fleet Street for celebration with Jerry Hall

Published 12/02/2016

St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, pictured during a service to mark the centenary of the Press Association
St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, pictured during a service to mark the centenary of the Press Association

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch will celebrate his marriage to Jerry Hall at St Bride's Church on Fleet Street, which proclaims itself the "spiritual home of the media".

The owner of News UK, which publishes The Times and The Sun newspapers, is expected to marry the former supermodel in late February or early March at an undisclosed location.

The pair will then hold a private ceremony of celebration at St Bride's, the "cathedral of Fleet Street", on March 5.

A spokesman for the church said: " I know Mr Murdoch is a very big fan of St Bride's and has been since his father cut his teeth on Fleet Street 60 years ago, so we are delighted to hold it here."

"His father led him to England and St Bride's has always been part of Fleet Street and the journalistic industry. Mr Murdoch has always had a lot of time and love for this place so we are delighted he is having a service of celebration here."

The church, which has space for 150 to 200 guests, will be closed to the public for the day.

Mr Murdoch famously killed off the historic link between Fleet Street and the newspaper industry in the 1980s when he moved the printing presses to Wapping in east London.

In what might make uncomfortable reading for the newspaper proprietor, St Bride's history reads: "On January 24 1986, some 6,000 newspaper workers went on strike after the breakdown of negotiations with Rupert Murdoch's News International, parent of Times Newspapers and News Group Newspapers.

"They were unaware that Murdoch had built and clandestinely equipped a new-technology printing plant in Wapping. When they struck, he moved his operation overnight.

"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."

It added: "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. Some even considered that the great church would lose its parishioners.

"Might Rupert Murdoch's vision bring about what pestilence, fire and the Luftwaffe had failed to achieve?"

The marriage will be the fourth for 84-year-old Mr Murdoch and the second for Hall, 59, who had a long relationship with Sir Mick Jagger.

Mr Murdoch and Hall were spotted together at the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham on October 31 last year and announced their engagement in The Times on January 12.

The notice read: "Mr Rupert Murdoch, father of Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan, James, Grace and Chloe Murdoch, and Miss Jerry Hall, mother of Elizabeth, James, Georgia and Gabriel Jagger, are delighted to announce their engagement."

A spokesman for the Murdoch family told the paper at the time: "They have loved these past months together, are thrilled to be getting married and excited about their future."

Mr Murdoch was previously married to Wendi Deng, mother to two of his children, but they split in June 2013.

He reportedly paid out 1.7bn dollars (£1.08 billion) in a divorce settlement to his second wife Anna Murdoch, while his first wife was Patricia Booker.

Meanwhile, Miss Hall, one of four daughters, moved to Paris to pursue her modelling career aged just 16.

She then famously met The Rolling Stones' frontman, and the couple wed in 1990 in Bali. But their marriage was later disputed since it was not properly conducted, and was subsequently shown to be invalid.

The pair had four children together, but parted after 23 years.

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