Image by SooHK in Lens
Griffin hasn't received a personal invitation from Her Majesty, but will instead go to the event in the company of Richard Barnbrook, a BNP member of the London Assembly. All members of the Assembly have been formally invited to the party, and Mr Barnbrook is exercising his right to have someone accompany him.
Barnbrook has rightly predicted a "to-do and a hoot" over who he's chosen to stand alongside him nibbling cucumber sandwiches by the fountain, but grandly predicts that "these things are going to happen more and more as the party goes forward". He might be forgetting that apart from Griffin's extreme political views and his 1998 conviction for distributing material likely to incite racial hatred, the party leader has also been a vocal critic of the Royal Family, especially the Prince of Wales, of whom he said: "He has made known his desire to represent people of all faiths and races. This clearly shows the gulf that lies between the monarchy today and the British people". That should be worth repeating to the great and the good whilst quaffing the finest champagne that Buckingham Palace has to offer.
The Mayor has stepped into the controversy, writing to the Assembly's Chair, Darren Johnson, to demand that Richard Barnbrook's invitation be cancelled if he doesn't change his choice of guest, and warning of the potential embarrassment to the Palace. Meanwhile, in case you're wondering, the Queen herself does not scrutinise the list of accompanying guest names since they're regarded as official rather than personal invitations. You've got to feel a little sorry for her, really, haven't you? It's her party, after all, and she doesn't even get to choose who she shares her vol-au-vents with.
By Vaughan Simons