Photo Credits: Vivienne Westwood Foundation; David G. Silvers, Cancilleria del Ecuador

British fashion icon and Queen of Punk Vivienne Westwood passed away this week and her influence on the industry is clear. What might be a little surprising is that even Julian Assange is mourning her death and has revealed he was close friends with her. They were such good friends that he is requesting a leave from prison to attend her funeral, according to his wife. As a vocal supporter and friend of his for over a decade, she famously protested his imprisonment for the release of classified documents in 2010 and 2011 from inside a bird cage.

Assange’s wife told Australian media outlets of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that Dame Vivienne was “irreplaceable.” She added “She was a huge friend, a great supporter, and it’s an enormous loss.” Regarding how she intends on representing her husband at the funeral, she said “Julian’s going to put in a request to be able to attend.” Prison service spokesperson Alan Selby told the BBC it was unlikely such a request would be granted as it’s typically reserved for close relatives. It is, however a case by case determination as there is no explicit ban on taking leave for funerals of friends. A relative guidance document stated “balance security considerations with those of decency, and should only be refused on security grounds”.

He’s described her as a “pillar of the anti-establishment” and would be “missed terribly by me and many others,” as stated by his wife. As for his own future, news outlets have been pushing President Biden to drop charges against Assange so perhaps if he doesn’t make it to her funeral he’ll still win by being a free man in general soon. We shall see.