Bert Newton’s son, Matthew, will have a role in his father’s funeral today, despite being unable to attend the ceremony in person.
Bert Newton’s son, Matthew, will still be playing a part in his father’s state funeral today, despite being unable to attend the service.
The legendary Australian showman, died last month aged 83. He died while undergoing palliative care at a private clinic in Melbourne after having his leg amputated earlier this year due to a life threatening infection.
A state funeral will be held for Newton at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne today, with the service due to get under way at 10am.
Bert and his wife Patti’s children, Matthew and Lauren, have written messages which will be read at the service, according to The Herald Sun.
Matthew is an actor and director who is currently based in New York, meaning he won’t be able to attend the funeral in person, but his written message will mean he will still be able to play a part in the service.
Speaking to 2GB’s Ben Fordham this morning, journalist Peter Ford said the fact Matthew is based in New York precluded him from coming back for the service.
“He may have very honourable reasons for not coming here today. It could be that he knows if he does, it will become a circus and it totally will distract from what today is meant to be about. And that is, you know, a very respectful send off for his father,” Mr Ford said.
“So it may be I’d like to think it was as considerate as that.”
Earlier this month, Patti rubbished media reports suggesting there was any sort of “rift” between Matthew and Bert before his death.
Speaking to Daily Mail reporters, the showbiz icon’s widow said Matthew wouldn’t be able to attend his father’s funeral due to the pandemic, adding that “the press are just desperate to find a little glitch into (their relationship).”
“It’s just the logistics of it all, and with Covid, and with everything else,” she explained of her 44-year-old son’s situation.
Matthew’s relationship with his parents was understood to have been quite strained over the years in the wake of alleged domestic violence claims against him.
Newton and Patti spoke of their heartbreak to A Current Affair in 2010 following two alleged domestic violence incidents involving then fiance Rachael Taylor at a hotel in Rome.
When speaking to reporters earlier this month, Patti assured them the rough patch in their relationship with their son was behind them and that they all spoke regularly via video call before Newton’s death.
Family arrives ahead of service
Newton’s widow Patti and his other family members arrived at St Patrick’s Cathedral shortly after 9.15am on Friday.
Patti was seen looking sombre walking into the Cathedral holdings the hands of her grandchildren.
Wearing a sequined black jacket, the 76-year-old said nothing as she was led to the front of the room with her family, instead nodding to those in attendance.
How to watch the funeral
For those wishing to view the service, the ceremony will be live streamed on Channel 7, Channel 9 and Channel 10 from 9.15am AEDT on November 12, with official proceedings to begin at 10am.
You can also follow live coverage of the funeral here on news.com.au.
The event will also be live-streamed on the Victorian Government website, after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews offered a state funeral for Newton shortly after news of his death on October 30.
Those who wish to pay tribute to Newton have been asked to consider making a donation to Villa Maria Catholic Homes, in lieu of floral tributes.
Who will be attending?
Around 500 people are expected to attend the funeral in person, including dignitaries and those who were personally invited by Patti and the Newton family.
Australian presenter, Eddie McGuire, will be performing the eulogy at Newton’s funeral, telling The Herald Sun was “deeply honoured” by the request.
“It comes to me as a kid who used to beg mum and dad to stay up late to watch Bert’s Wheel (on the 1970s variety program The Don Lane Show),” he said.
“I’m deeply honoured that Patti asked me to speak on her behalf, and that Bert was keen for me to do it.
“I hope in the short time frame I’ve been allowed by the office of protocol, I do it justice for Bert’s family and friends.”
Many other TV and radio personalities are expected to attend the service, including Andy Lee, Peter Hitchener, Sam Newman, Denis Walter and Tom Elliott.
Order of Service
The service is expected to begin at 10am. Below is an overview of the proceedings.
• Welcome and Gathering, delivered by St Patrick’s Cathedral’s Very Reverend Werner Utri Dean.
• Australian National Anthem, performed by Silvie Paladino.
• On behalf of the people of Victoria, delivered by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
• Words of remembrance, delivered by Eddie McGuire AM
• The Prayer, performed by Anthony Callea and accompanied by John Foreman OAM
• Tribute on behalf of the Newton Family, delivered by Peter Smith OAM
• Requiem mass