Last Monday I spotted Cherie Blair eyeing up furniture at a preview of the auction of several smart Central London homes. As Mrs Blair sat, looking rather forlorn, in a leather armchair, I was left contemplating the progress of her and her family to millionairedom.
A pair of circa 1930-1950 French leather buttoned oak armchairs that Mrs Blair was spotted sat in at the Christie's South Kensington £1.7million London Living auction (Lot 1416, guide £3,000-£5,000, achieved £7,500)
Since leaving office, the Blair family have seen their personal wealth soar into the mega league. Just like the Clintons in America before them, the Blairs have moved into a world of socialising with billionaires, buying antiques in Sotheby’s and Christie’s and travelling by private jet and helicopter. With a personal wealth conservatively estimated at £60 million and nine properties around the world, by post-Prime Ministerial career standards this represents a phenomenal success especially when compared to Blair’s predecessors. Sir John Major and Lady Thatcher, in financial terms, are actually both relative paupers.
The Blair family country residence: South Pavilion, Wooton Underwood, Buckinghamshire
The purchase of Sir John Gielgud’s Grade I listed former home, the South Pavilion at Wooton Underwood, Buckinghamshire for circa £4 million in 2008 is most definitely the most significant of the couple’s status symbols. Having seen her at several auction houses, it does seem that furnishing this and a large townhouse in Connaught Square, W2 is what now fills much of Mrs Blair’s time whilst her husband jets around the world making money and trying to create a more peaceful world.
It is also said that Mrs Blair is a “lonely eBay addict” who likes to spend time at the Champneys heath spa whilst worrying about what her husband is up to on his travels. Commentators, however, generally neglect to mention that Mrs Blair still works as a QC and also runs her own faith foundation. It is still de rigueur to mock Mrs Blair for her past mistakes but one could equally suggest that the product placing here there and everywhere by Samantha Cameron deserves just the same kind of criticism – which I note, simply does not occur.
Whatever many think of Blair and his legacy, his post-office success has certainly been remarkable. It’ll be interesting to compare this to David Cameron’s post-office progress when that day arrives.
For more information on Tony Blair go to: http://www.tonyblairoffice.org
For more information on Cherie Blair go to: http://www.cherieblair.org