Kate Garvey

Kate Garvey
Occupation Diary secretary, head of public and social affairs
Years active 1994 – present
Spouse(s) Jimmy Wales

Kate Garvey is an English public relations executive and a former aide to prime minister Tony Blair. She is married to Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.


Political staff member

Garvey's career began as a personal assistant for the Labour party under leader Neil Kinnock.[1] From there, she moved to become an assistant (diary secretary) for Tony Blair.[1][2]

In 1994 during Blair's leadership bid, Garvey suggested that Peter Mandelson (who was at the time being derided by the trade unions and other Labour factions), should adopt a "nom de guerre" to conceal his considerable role within the campaign team. Mandelson agreed to be called "Bobby" for the duration. In his victory speech, Blair referred to Mandelson by the false name.[3][4]

From 1997 until 2005 (except for campaign seasons), Garvey worked in the Prime Minister's Private Office.[5] She was responsible for presentation and planning of domestic and foreign events and visits. By 2005, Garvey's role had progressed to scheduling. Aide Katie Kay, who had worked for Blair's advisor John Birt, had taken over the diary secretary job.[6]

On the campaign circuit, Garvey worked on Blair's behalf in the general election of 1997 and of 2001. A 2001 Telegraph story, "Babes on the Bus who keep the campaign journalists at bay", described Garvey as one of a band of women led by Anji Hunter who kept discipline on the political tour with their superior-to-male attention to detail.[7] In Blair's 2005 election, Garvey ran his election tour.

In his memoir A Journey, Blair reflected on Garvey's importance:

"[She] was the gatekeeper, the custodian of the diary. There is a whole PhD thesis to be written by some smart political student about the importance of scheduling to a modern prime minister or president...She ran the diary with a grip of iron and was quite prepared to squeeze the balls very hard indeed of anyone who interfered, but with a winning smile of course."[8]

Public relations

After leaving government in 2005, Garvey worked on Bob Geldof's charity campaign, Make Poverty History, which produced the Live 8 concerts.[1][9] That same year, she was hired by PR firm Freud Communications as the head of public and social affairs.[10]

Garvey was selected by the World Economic Forum in 2007[11] as a "Young Global Leader", a designation awarded to persons under 40 who have shown leadership qualities.[12][13]

Garvey is mentioned in a 2008 Telegraph profile on Matthew Freud as 'reportedly managing the Freud-Blair relationship'. The article describes an ongoing connection of Blair and Freud in terms of socialising (Freud throwing celebrity-attended parties) as well as Freud advising Tony and Cherie Blair on how to best exploit events such as the World Economic Forum's Davos retreat ('what parties to go to').[10]

A 2010 article by PRWeek mentioned Garvey's clients as including the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, both held in London. Other clients included the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Live Earth, the Maternal Mortality campaign, and Jordan's Queen Rania.[9] An earlier biography mentioned Garvey as having served the musician Bono.[1]

Garvey is the co-founder of Project Everyone, a campaign group dedicated to promoting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.[13][14]

Personal life

Garvey is married to Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia. It is Wales' third marriage and Garvey's first.[2]

The couple met in Monaco in 2009 and then began dating in 2010 after meeting again at Davos.[2][15] They had both been Young Global Leaders in 2007.[2] In 2011, Wales moved to Britain.[2] As of February 2011, the couple were already engaged, with Garvey pregnant and near delivery. A daughter was later born.[2][15]

Garvey married Wales in October 2012 at Wesley's Chapel in London.[16][17] Labour politician guests included Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair, and David Miliband.[18] Celebrity guests included model Lily Cole and musician Mick Hucknall.[19]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Executive Assistant and Personal Assistant Conference (speaker bio)". IQPC (International Quality and Productivity Center). 2008. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Any Chozick (27 June 2013). "Jimmy Wales Is Not an Internet Billionaire". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2013. `... he lives in London with Kate Garvey, his third wife, whom he often describes as “the most connected woman in London.” Garvey doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, but if she did, it would probably note that she was Tony Blair's diary secretary at 10 Downing Street and then a director at Freud Communications, the public relations firm run by Matthew Freud, a great-grandson of Sigmund Freud, who is also Rupert Murdoch's son-in-law. And that Blair, in his 2010 memoir, wrote that Garvey ran his schedule “with a grip of iron and was quite prepared to squeeze the balls very hard indeed of anyone who interfered.”`
  3. Blair, Cherie (2008). Speaking for myself: The autobiography. p. 173. ISBN 9781408700983.
  4. "Peter breaks cover (again) as the Blairite battalions come out". 2010.
  5. "Number Ten" (book review). The Economist. 16 March 2000. Retrieved 27 June 2013. Tony Blair's Diary Secretary, Kate Garvey, is situated close to his office, deliberately to guard his door and keep the diary running to time
  6. Aitkenhead, Decca (11 May 2005). "Behind closed doors: Until her resignation this week, Sally Morgan was one of the most powerful women in Britain, at Tony Blair's side for 10 years. Yet many outside the political world hadn't even heard of her.". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  7. Brogan, Benedict (1 June 2001). "Babes on the Bus who keep the campaign journalists at bay". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  8. Blair, Tony (2010). A Journey. p. 20. ISBN 1409060950.
  9. 1 2 "The Freud Supremacy, section "FREUDS Who's who"". PR Week. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  10. 1 2 Harris, John (13 November 2008). "Inside the court of London's golden couple". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  11. "YGL Alumni – Search (for Garvey)". YGL Alumni Community. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 27 June 2013. Name: Kate Garvey; Year: 2007; Sector: ME-Media, Entertainment & Information; Stakeholder: YGL – Business; Country: United Kingdom; Region: Western Europe
  12. "The Forum of Young Global Leaders". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 27 June 2013. The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multistakeholder community of more than 700 exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future.
  13. 1 2 "Kate Garvey". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  14. Lepitak, Stephen (20 September 2015). "Project Everyone: How Richard Curtis aims to make world leaders follow the Global Goals and change the world with a global cinema ad". The Drum. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  15. 1 2 Edemariam, Aida (19 February 2011). "The Saturday interview: Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group.
  16. Donnelly, Laura (6 October 2012). "Wiki wedding: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales marries Tony Blair's former aide". The Telegraph.
  17. Smallman, Danny (18 January 2012). "Jimmy Wales: Mr Wikipedia on today's blackout". Evening Standard.
  18. "POLITICY AND ECONOMY (222/506)". Retrieved 1 July 2013. Neil Kinnock and Glenys Kinnock arrives for the wedding of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to Tony Blair's former diary secretary, Kate Garvey at Wesley's Chapel, City of London, October 6, 2012. Photo by Fiona Hanson / i-Images / DyD Fotografos
  19. Cullen, Drew (7 October 2012). "Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales marries Kate Garvey:Tony Blair tips up at wedding". The Register. Retrieved 1 Jul 2013.

Further reading

External links

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