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HomeU.KAkshata Murty's vision is to open up Downing Street to public to...

Akshata Murty’s vision is to open up Downing Street to public to draw a line under Johnson ‘fiefdom era’

LONDON: The new first lady at No. 10, UK PM Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty, plans to distance the Sunak household from the Boris Johnson premiership and open up Downing Street more to the public “to change it from a place regarded as a fiefdom of an in-crowd in the Johnson era”, according to Tatler.
The fashion magazine, which carries Murty on its cover in its February issue, states “there will be a clear message: Downing Street needs to open up again in the wake of lockdowns and infighting and it needs to change from a place regarded as a fiefdom of an in-crowd in the Johnson era, where a cliquey ‘Court of Carrie’ held sway,” referring to Johnson’s wife.
The vision of the multi-millionaire heiress is to allow more people, be they visiting heads of state or members of the public, to see the historic Downing Street state rooms and understand the building’s history and its significance, according to the profile which is based on conversations with people who know Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy’s daughter – who cuts an enigmatic figure in British society.
The 42-year-old is, according to the magazine, “keen to celebrate the stories of Britain through Downing Street” and intends to use the couple’s connection to Yorkshire, where Sunak’s constituency of Richmond is based, to bring “more of the north to Downing Street promoting British crafts and trades as a USP of post-Brexit Britain.” Murty is just as firm a believer in Brexit as her husband.
Tatler praises Murty for bringing fashion back to Downing Street, with her ultra-chic style that is a mix of “designer pieces paired with mid-level accoutrements”. It cites her wearing a yellow zebra print Ganni dress with black studded sandals as an example. “Not since Margaret Thatcher ruled Downing Street in a series of tweed twin sets and pearl necklaces has British politics been so tasteful,” the magazine purrs, expressing disdain at Carrie’s rented wardrobe and ex PM Theresa May’s pumps.
Tatler states that Murty’s mother Sudha is understated, well-known for dressing simply in clothes belying her immense wealth and that Murty was never chauffeured to school like some girls from wealthy homes.
Sudha does not understand Murty’s penchant for designer clothes and they argue about it, but in a humorous way, family friend journalist Sriram Karri told Tatler, who recalls one argument when Murty told her mother: “You can afford to wear a very simple dress because everyone knows what you stand for. I can’t afford to go to an interview in a bad dress!”
Various former teachers and professors in the profile praise Murty for “lifting others up” and for being a natural organiser. Her former maths and computing teacher, Pratima Rao, from Baldwin Girls’ High School, in Bengaluru said that the school’s culture and ethos owes “a lot to Enid Blyton”.
In 2009 Murty set up a fashion brand to bring Indian designers to a wider market and pay Indian craftspeople a good wage but she had to close the business after a brief period.
Now she has redecorated the No.10 flat, with opulent curtains “five or six times the usual widths” which are the biggest curtains the soft-furnishing company she hired had ever made, alongside jewel-coloured velvet sofas and cushions that became works of art. “If Rishi doesn’t make it through the next election, the Starmers will inherit some fabulous fabrics,” Tatler states.

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