‘Julian is a pure soul and a freedom fighter’: How the late Dame Vivienne Westwood penned a powerful message on the designer wedding dress of wife of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on the day they wed
- Pictures reveal powerful message on designer wedding dress of Stella Assange
- Dame Vivienne, known as the Godmother of Punk, died aged 81 on Thursday
- Mr Assange’s wife Stella said he will put in a request to attend upcoming funeral
- Wikileaks founder and Dame Vivienne had been friends for more than a decade
Dame Vivienne Westwood contacted Julian Assange in prison just weeks before her death on Thursday to tell him she was seriously unwell, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The pair had been close friends for more than a decade and last saw one another when the fashion designer visited the WikiLeaks founder in Belmarsh prison in 2019.
Last night his wife Stella told The Mail on Sunday: ‘She had reached out to tell Julian and me she was very poorly so her death was not unexpected.
‘It was about a month ago. It was very hard on him as he had not seen her since that prison visit in 2019.’
Stella Assange wore a dress designed by Dame Vivienne when she married the 51-year-old at the prison in a small ceremony in March. The fashion designer wrote a message on the inside of the wedding dress that read: ‘To me, Vivienne, Julian is a pure soul and a freedom fighter. All my love to the family, Julian, Stella, Max and Grabriel. May the holy life force bless your marriage.’
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures from the window of a prison van as he is driven into Southwark Crown Court in London on May 1, 2019
Mr Assange will request leave from prison to attend the funeral of Dame Vivienne, who died aged 81 surrounded by her family in south London.
‘Julian dearly wants to be able to go to her funeral and has already had a conversation with his lawyer about putting in a request,’ Mrs Assange said.
‘It matters to him so he is being proactive in the hope he will be allowed to attend.’
Dame Vivienne had been a vocal supporter of Mr Assange during his time in the Ecuadorian embassy and while he fights extradition to the US.
After first meeting at Mr Assange’s 40th birthday party, the pair stayed in touch and Dame Vivian would regularly cycle to visit him at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he was given asylum between 2012 and 2019.
The designer dressed as a canary and suspended herself inside a giant birdcage outside the Old Bailey in July 2020 to protest against his extradition.
The designer dressed as a canary and suspended herself inside a giant birdcage outside the Old Bailey in July 2020 to protest against his extradition
Famed fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood (pictured left and right) died peacefully surrounded by family at her home in Clapham
Mrs Assange said: ‘What she and Julian shared were uncompromising beliefs. Julian loved her company, she was a lot of fun and a real free thinker.
‘She would be in and out the embassy up to twice a month and her son Ben would come once a week with a box of homemade sushi for Julian too.’
Mrs Assange wore a dress designed by Dame Vivienne when she married the 51-year-old at the prison in a small ceremony in March.
The fashion designer wrote a message on the inside of the wedding dress that read: ‘To me, Vivienne, Julian is a pure soul and a freedom fighter. All my love to the family, Julian, Stella, Max and Grabriel. May the holy life force bless your marriage.’
The designer’s death prompted the WikiLeaks founder to issue his first public statement since being imprisoned in 2019.
In a comment released by Mrs Assange, he said: ‘Vivienne was a Dame and a pillar of the anti-establishment. Bold, creative, thoughtful and a good friend. The best of Britain. She will be missed terribly by me and many others.’
Vivienne Westwood holds a placard as she demonstrates outside the Old Bailey in support of Julian Assange
Dame Vivienne, who was born in Cheshire in 1941, is celebrated for bringing punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream with her imaginative creations.
The US wants to extradite Mr Assange to face allegations of conspiracy to obtain and disclose American defence information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
He was dragged out of his embassy exile in 2019, arrested, and locked up in Belmarsh where his mental and physical health is known to have deteriorated. He had a mini-stroke in 2021.
A delegation from Wikileaks recently received the support of leaders across Latin America in calls for his release.