Wikileaks founder Julian Assange set to apply for prison leave to attend funeral of Dame Vivienne Westwood

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The unlikely friendship stemmed from the pair’s ‘anti-establishment’ views on society and politics

Jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange intends to apply for  leave from prison to attend the funeral of late fashion pioneer Dame Vivienne Westwood. This is according to his wife, Stella Assange, who discussed the matter with Australian media outlet Nine Media as her husband  continues to fight his extradition to the US from HMS Belmarsh.

When asked by a reporter if Assange would be paying his last respects to his friend Westwood, who died aged 81 on Thursday evening, Stella Assange simply responded “Julian’s going to put in a request to be able to attend”.

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The unlikely friendship between Assange and Westwood stemmed after the designer’s continued support of the Wikileaks founder during his stay of clemency at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Westwood has long been a supporter of Assange’s “anti-establishment” work, parallelling her own activism during the punk and new wave heyday - that itself a form of anti-establishmentarianism.

Westwood’s support even led to her  staging a stunt in 2020 during a time when  prison and extradition orders threatened Assange. Dressed up in canary yellow, but in her own iconoclastic style, Westwood swung inside a large bird-cage contraption outside The Old Bailey in July 2020 to protest his potential extradition.

The relationship between the Assanges  and Dame Vivienne Westwood extended outside of the realms of activism also. Stella Assange’s wedding dress was a Westwood creation, as the pair married in March 2022, while Julian himself released his first public statement since being imprisoned in 2019.

Through Stella, Julian 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."

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No date has yet been set regarding the funeral of Dame Vivienne Westwood, nor if there will be an official public memorial to mourn the punk icon’s passing. Westwood was 81 at the time of her death, and is survived by husband Andreas Kronthaler.

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