Gyles Brandreth’s reason for keeping wedding secret from parents: ‘Look at Charles and Di’

Gyles Brandreth stopped from telling mother in law jokes on TV

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Much-loved broadcaster Gyles Brandreth appears on Would I Lie To You? tonight. The former Conservative MP stars alongside team captains Lee Mack and David Mitchell, as well as host Rob Brydon. Helping sort fact from fiction alongside Mr Brandreth are Yung Filly, Sarah Millican and Lou Sanders.

Flamboyant broadcaster, author and commentator Mr Brandreth makes frequent appearances on various TV and radio programmes.

Residing in Barnes, south west London, he lives with his wife Michèle.

The pair met at Oxford University in the late Sixties and married in Westminster in 1973.

Their marriage, however, was kept a secret from both sets of parents for two years.

Mr Brandreth explained the decision in a 2011 episode of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

He said: “We did marry in secret and it was several years before we even told our parents that we were married.

“It was a private thing. If you are getting married it’s about the person you are marrying, it’s about the relationship. For me it’s not about the party.”

Mr Brandreth explained that his parents knew he and Michèle were in a relationship as they lived together in a flat in Baker Street, but the pair decided the wedding would be a “private matter”.

He continued: “We broke the news two years later when we were expecting our first son.

“The biggest and loudest weddings don’t always produce the happiest marriages. Look at Charles and Di.”

Private weddings were nothing new to the Brandreth family, as he explained that his parents’ example meant he had no regrets.

His father Charles and mother Alice eloped just weeks after they met playing Monopoly.

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He said: “My father bought the first set of Monopoly sold in this country and came back to his digs and the landlady said — there was a young Canadian student who had just moved in with her mother on the ground floor — ‘Maybe go and meet them.’

“My father went and introduced himself. They played Monopoly and a matter of weeks later they eloped.

“Because my parents did it that way I felt able to do it that way and indeed some of my children got married in that way.”

His daughter, Saethryd, married her husband in private at a registry office in Marylebone while Mr Brandreth and his wife ate lunch in Pizza Express.

Mr Brandreth and his wife will celebrate an impressive 50 years of marriage next year.

The secret behind their success? Just nine words, Mr Brandreth said in an interview at the end of last year.

He told NewsChain: “The five words that have driven my life are ‘busy people are happy people’, and the four words that rule my life are ‘listen to your wife’.

“And the truth is, on the few occasions when I haven’t listened to my wife, it’s all gone wrong, so basically I know that’s the right philosophy. My wife keeps me grounded.”

Mr Brandreth admitted he had promised his wife when they married that “we wouldn’t work every Sunday”.

However, at 73 years of age he is showing no signs of stopping completely. He recently published yet another book, and continues to frequent our TV screens.

He said: “What I do, you couldn’t really call it work — when you appear on television game shows, you’re just playing a game, and collecting teddy bears is hardly work.

“Writing books is work, I suppose — you have to be there every day. But the things I do are fun things.”

Would I Lie To You? airs on BBC One at 8pm this evening. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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