London: hundreds attend engagement party of Austrian Princess and Papal Knight

 The engagement party of Anthony Bailey, leader of Gordon Brown's new Faith Task Force to Austrian Princess Marie-Therese von Hohenberg at St John's, Smith Square last night, was a glittering affair, with representatives of many royal families from across Europe, Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith leaders, and senior politicians across the world- as well as an eclectic mix of the couple' s personal friends. Among the guests were the future bride's father, Prince Peter, a grandson of the 1914 assasinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and an array of royalty from over twelve dynasties including Britain's Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor. Mr Bailey's parents, Colin and Veronica Bailey and other family members from Ireland also attended. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor made an early appearance with Greek Orthodox Archbishop Gregorios and Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Athanasius. The Ambassadors of forty countries attended including the Apostolic Nuncio in London. While the Blairs and several foreign potenates sent personal messages, the lineup of politicians included John Reid, Home Secretary, Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, Hazel Blears Labour Party chair, Caroline Flint, Minister of Health, Alan Milburn, Lord Lamont, Lord Alton, Lord Brennan, Lord Alli, Joan Ryan, and the PM's Political Secretary, John McTernan. Other guests included an American diamond merchant and a Portugese television star, the Marquess of Bath, Sir Sigmund Sternberg, Sir Anthony Figgis, David Khalili, Black Rod, General Sir Michael Willcocks, The Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury and the Chairman of the Royal Opera House, Dame Judith Mayhew-Jonas. Guests were serenaded by a pianist and opera singer Emilia O'Connor who sang the Marriage Song from Turandot. Towards the end of the evening, after a jaunty rendition of the James Bond theme on the organ, the party stood to attention for the National Anthem. A St John's spokesman said this was the first time the church had been used for a party.

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