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Giuliani gets third time lucky

New York, May 25 (Reuters): The weather outside was damp and dismal, but the bride and groom were radiant as former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani returned to New York’s official mayoral residence to marry his girlfriend, Judith Nathan, yesterday.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg performed the 15-minute ceremony around 2300 GMT at Gracie Mansion, beneath a white tent on the lawn overlooking the East River.

Security was tight and reporters were barred from the wedding, which was attended by 400 guests, including former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, New York Yankees baseball great Yogi Berra, media magnate Rupert Murdoch and property tycoon Donald Trump.

“I conducted over 200 weddings and I’m worried that I don’t start doing the ceremony myself,” Giuliani told reporters as he arrived. “I feel terrific, absolutely terrific.”

Giuliani’s 17-year-old son Andrew was his best man. His daughter Caroline, 13, and Nathan’s teen-age daughter Whitney also attended.

The bride wore an oyster-coloured, silk gown by Vera Wang with a scooped halter and crystal and pearl beading. Her hair was knotted at the back and she wore tear-drop earrings and a tiara. She carried a bouquet of her favourite flower, pansies. There was an eight-tier wedding cake with fresh raspberries. It was Giuliani’s third marriage and Nathan’s second.

Nathan, a former nurse who was divorced in 1992, has been at Giuliani’s side for the past three years as he battled prostate cancer. His first marriage, to his second cousin Regina Peruggi, was annulled after 14 years on grounds that they had not received a dispensation to marry from the Catholic Church. His next marriage, to television host Donna Hanover, lasted 20 years, ending in July after he agreed to pay her $6.8 million.

The couple separated in May 2000 after Giuliani’s relationship with Nathan became public. Later that year Giuliani, charging “cruel and inhuman” treatment, enraged Hanover by announcing that he was suing for divorce without bothering to tell her about it first. Hanover countered by accusing Giuliani of “open and notorious adultery.”

Giuliani stripped Hanover of her role as official hostess of Gracie Mansion. She retaliated by persuading a judge to bar Nathan, who was appearing publicly with Giuliani, from entering the mansion as long as Hanover lived there with the children.

Giuliani’s popularity and reputation slipped as the bitter divorce proceedings ground on. It was not until September 11, 2001, that his political career was reborn as New Yorkers and the country gave him high marks for his uplifting response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. He was subsequently knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

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