Mike Ashley's daughter Anna marries Michael Murray in '£3m' wedding

EXCLUSIVE Spouse of Fraser! Mike Ashley’s eldest daughter Anna marries successor to his retail empire Michael Murray, 32, in lavish ‘£3million’ wedding at Churchill’s ancestral home Blenheim Palace

  • Michael Murray and Anna Ashley tied the knot after hiring the 18th century Oxfordshire  palace on Saturday
  • Guests were transported to the venue in classic cars and coaches including a 1949 Bedford OB ‘straight-liner’
  • Flowers for ceremony and floral display at grand entrance to palace believed to have cost around £1m alone
  • The wedding comes days after Murray took the reins from billionaire Ashley as CEO of the Frasers Group 
  • Mike Ashley’s eldest daughter has married the successor to his Frasers retail empire Michael Murray in a lavish multi-million pound wedding at Blenheim Palace.

    Murray, 32, and Anna Ashley tied the knot after hiring out the 18th century ancestral home of Winston Churchill in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, on Saturday.

    Ashley hired the entire palace for his daughter’s wedding, with guests transported to the venue from nearby hotels in classic cars and historic buses including a 1950 Bedford OB Duple Vista and 1949 Bedford OB ‘straight-liner’ 29-seater coaches.

    Flowers used for the ceremony, which included a huge floral display used to decorate the grand entrance to the palace, is understood to have cost in the region of £1million alone, while the entire wedding is thought to have been worth more than £3million. 

    Murray, meanwhile, enjoyed a workout on the morning of the wedding before walking through the grounds surrounded by groomsmen and guests to get to the palace.

    It came days after he officially took the reins from Ashley as the new chief executive of the Fraser Group, with his billionaire father-in-law having stepped down from the role.

    Murray dressed in a blue suit with black trimmed jacket and bow tie as he sipped from a champagne glass during the walk.

    Tight security was in place to restrict access to the popular site, with guests arriving from late morning ahead of the wedding at around 3pm. 

    Mike Ashley (left) and ex-wife Linda pictured travelling to the wedding in a classic Rolls Royce - one of a number of classic vehicles used to transport guests to the venue

    Mike Ashley (left) and ex-wife Linda pictured travelling to the wedding in a classic Rolls Royce – one of a number of classic vehicles used to transport guests to the venue

    Michael Murray (pictured wearing sunglasses, centre) walks towards Blenheim Palace surrounded by wedding guests ahead of the ceremony

    Michael Murray (pictured wearing sunglasses, centre) walks towards Blenheim Palace surrounded by wedding guests ahead of the ceremony

    A chauffeur drives Ashley and ex-wife Linda through the grounds of Blenheim Palace ahead of their daughter's wedding on Saturday

    A chauffeur drives Ashley and ex-wife Linda through the grounds of Blenheim Palace ahead of their daughter’s wedding on Saturday

    Flowers used for the ceremony, which included a huge floral display at the grand entrance to the palace, are thought to have cost in the region of £1m

    Flowers used for the ceremony, which included a huge floral display at the grand entrance to the palace, are thought to have cost in the region of £1m 

    Michael Murray, now chief executive of the Frasers Group founded by his father-in-law Mike Ashley, went for a morning workout with a number of friends on the day of the wedding

    Michael Murray, now chief executive of the Frasers Group founded by his father-in-law Mike Ashley, went for a morning workout with a number of friends on the day of the wedding

    Guests were transported from hotels in nearby Woodstock to the venue in a number of classic cars ahead of the later afternoon ceremony

    Guests were transported from hotels in nearby Woodstock to the venue in a number of classic cars ahead of the later afternoon ceremony

    Two guests are driven through the grounds of Blenheim Palace ahead of the wedding ceremony in a red and white 1965 Alvis TE21 Coupé

    Two guests are driven through the grounds of Blenheim Palace ahead of the wedding ceremony in a red and white 1965 Alvis TE21 Coupé

    The couple (pictured together) reportedly met on vacation in Majorca back in 2011. They are understood to live together in a £10.7m mansion in the affluent district of Belgravia in central London

    The couple (pictured together) reportedly met on vacation in Majorca back in 2011. They are understood to live together in a £10.7m mansion in the affluent district of Belgravia in central London

    Ex-nightclub promoter who met Mike Ashley’s daughter on holiday has now taken the reins of billionaire’s retail empire 

    Michael Murray, 32, is the son of a Doncaster property baron and former nightclub promoter. 

    He met the daughter of Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley in Majorca in 2011 and quickly ingratiated himself with the billionaire businessman. 

    Initially, he started out helping Ashley with some personal property deals before being hired by Frasers to oversee real estate activities. 

    Murray was then promoted to ‘head of elevation’ and tasked with modernising the group, revamping its Sports Direct stores and expanding its more upmarket Flannels business. 

    Widely seen as Ashley’s right hand man, he took over his role Ashley’s role as chief executive officer of the group the earlier this month after his father-in-law announced he would be stepping down last year. 

    Ashley has now stepped down to become deputy chairman. 

    Murray has said he aims to accelerate the group’s strategy to achieve its vision of serving ‘customers with the world’s best sports, premium and luxury brands’.

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    The Doncaster-born son of a property developer first started helping Sports Direct founder Ashley with personal property deals a few years after he reportedly met the businessman’s eldest daughter on vacation in Majorca back in 2011.

    The couple are understood to live together in a £10.7m mansion in the affluent district of Belgravia in central London. 

    Murray was originally hired in 2016 to oversee the Fraser’s real estate activities before his promotion to ‘head of elevation’ in January 2019 – a position in which he earned millions of pounds. 

    Widely seen as Ashley’s right hand man, he took over his role as chief executive officer of the group the earlier this month after his father-in-law announced he would be stepping down last year. Ashley has now stepped down to become deputy chairman. 

    He is the son of a Doncaster property baron and is a former nightclub promoter.

    As of August, the Frasers Group was thought to be worth around £3billion and was operating almost 1,000 shops. 

    Murray has said he aims to accelerate the group’s strategy to achieve its vision of serving ‘customers with the world’s best sports, premium and luxury brands’. 

    Anna is one of Ashley’s three children with interior designer ex-wife Linda. 

    Ashley has been one of the UK high street’s most colourful characters since he  founded Sports Direct in 1982.

    He has rapidly grown his retail operation in recent years, snapping up a number of distressed British brands including Evans Cycles, Jack Wills and Game.

    The company purchased ailing House of Fraser in 2018 after the department store chain collapsed into administration.

    Murray was long seen as Ashley’s heir apparent after becoming engaged to Anna.

    Murray was joined by groomsmen and a large number of wedding guests as he made his way through the grounds of the venue on foot

    Murray was joined by groomsmen and a large number of wedding guests as he made his way through the grounds of the venue on foot

    Guests walked with Murray through the grounds of Blenheim Palace on Saturday, while the majority were taken to the ceremony in classic vehicles

    Guests walked with Murray through the grounds of Blenheim Palace on Saturday, while the majority were taken to the ceremony in classic vehicles

    The men, most of whom wore sunglasses, walked through the grounds of the palace and took in the sights in the sun before the wedding later in the afternoon

    The men, most of whom wore sunglasses, walked through the grounds of the palace and took in the sights in the sun before the wedding later in the afternoon

    Guests dressed for the occasion as the sun beat down on the grounds of the historic 18th century palace in Oxfordshire on Saturday

    Guests dressed for the occasion as the sun beat down on the grounds of the historic 18th century palace in Oxfordshire on Saturday

    Smiling guests look ahead at the palace, which was decorated with a huge floral display at the grand entrance, as they make their way to the wedding

    Smiling guests look ahead at the palace, which was decorated with a huge floral display at the grand entrance, as they make their way to the wedding

    A number of Rolls Royce were also used to transport guests to the venue on Saturday, with chauffeurs smartly dressed in sunglasses and hats

    A number of Rolls Royce were also used to transport guests to the venue on Saturday, with chauffeurs smartly dressed in sunglasses and hats

    Tight security was on hand around the grounds of the palace as guests made their way to the ceremony over the late morning of Saturday

    Tight security was on hand around the grounds of the palace as guests made their way to the ceremony over the late morning of Saturday

    A more modern, blacked out vehicle makes its way through the grounds of Blenheim Palace on Saturday ahead of the ceremony

    A more modern, blacked out vehicle makes its way through the grounds of Blenheim Palace on Saturday ahead of the ceremony

    More guests are taken to the venue in a 1932 Rolls Royce cabriolet 20/25 by Thrupp & Maberly - one of only five that were ever made

    More guests are taken to the venue in a 1932 Rolls Royce cabriolet 20/25 by Thrupp & Maberly – one of only five that were ever made

    Guests were taken to the venue by a number of chauffeurs throughout the morning before the ceremony is believed to have taken place in the late afternoon

    Guests were taken to the venue by a number of chauffeurs throughout the morning before the ceremony is believed to have taken place in the late afternoon

    Another classic Rolls Royce used to transport guests to the wedding of Mike Murray and Anna Ashley on Saturday

    Another classic Rolls Royce used to transport guests to the wedding of Mike Murray and Anna Ashley on Saturday

    Guests on the 29-seater wore sunglasses as they were driven to the venue as sunshine and blue skies poured over the palace

    Ashley hired out the entire palace for the wedding, with the ceremony believed to have taken place between 3pm and 4pm on Saturday

    The classic vehicles all parked at the same spot while the ceremony took place behind closed doors inside the historic Blenheim Palace

    The classic vehicles all parked at the same spot while the ceremony took place behind closed doors inside the historic Blenheim Palace

    He previously carried out property deals for the businessman and oversaw an ‘elevation’ strategy to modernise Frasers Group’s shops.

    That already resulted in him bagging fees of more than £15m – and he is understood to have been lined up for even bigger sums following his promotion.

    If he can successfully more than double Frasers Group’s share price to 1500p by October 2025, Murray will be eligible for a bonus payout worth £100m, the company said in an announcement. 

    Murray’s potential windfall will be in addition to a generous starting salary of £1m per year – unlike his soon to-be father-in-law who previously claimed to have never taken a salary from his business.

    While Ashley tried to avoid the public eye, Murray often takes to social media to post updates about the business and meetings with other companies.

    He recently spent millions on a new central London office for the Fraser Group, while Sports Direct has also had Manchester City footballer Jack Grealish and tennis ace Emma Raducanu featuring in ads.

    The classic vehicles lined up as they transport guests through the grounds of the palace to the venue of the '£3 million' wedding

    The classic vehicles lined up as they transport guests through the grounds of the palace to the venue of the ‘£3 million’ wedding

    The grand entrance to the huge palace was decorated with a large floral display - part of what is believed to have been around £1m spent on flowers alone

    The grand entrance to the huge palace was decorated with a large floral display – part of what is believed to have been around £1m spent on flowers alone

    Wedding guests walk through the grand entrance to the venue, with an ice cream stand and security dressed in fluorescent jackets on site

    Wedding guests walk through the grand entrance to the venue, with an ice cream stand and security dressed in fluorescent jackets on site

    Guests were also transported in a Late 1950 Bedford OB Duple Vista 29-seater coach from the same Hampshire classic vehicles firm

    Guests were also transported in a Late 1950 Bedford OB Duple Vista 29-seater coach from the same Hampshire classic vehicles firm

    Most guests were pictured wearing sunglasses on their way to the venue as Blenheim Palace bathed in sunshine throughout Saturday

    Most guests were pictured wearing sunglasses on their way to the venue as Blenheim Palace bathed in sunshine throughout Saturday

    Murray also last year announced the opening of a 55,000sq ft Flannels flagship store in Sheffield Meadowhall.

    And speaking about taking on the role of CEO of the group Ashley, he praised his father-in-law.

    He said: ‘Mike has empowered me to change the way the group thinks and operates throughout the Elevation Strategy.

    ‘I’m now excited to lead the group into the future, building on our rock solid foundations and our ambition to relentlessly improve and change the game.’