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Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
Current
Akshata Murty

since 25 October 2022
Residence10 Downing Street (customary)
Formation3 April 1721 (301 years ago) (1721-04-03)
First holderCatherine, Lady Walpole

To date, there have been forty-six women and three men who have been married to the British prime minister in office. There have also been four bachelor and nine widower prime ministers; the last bachelor was Edward Heath (1970–1974) and the last widower was Ramsay MacDonald (1924, 1929–1935). The Duke of Grafton (1768–1770) and Boris Johnson (2019–2022) are the only prime ministers to have divorced and remarried while in office.

Current prime minister Rishi Sunak has been married to Akshata Murty since 2009.

Role and duties

The role of the British prime minister's spouse is not an official one, and as such, they are not given a salary or official duties. Over time the position has evolved, and spouses such as Cherie Blair have gained public attention through their own independent careers and achievements, as well as attending engagements such as the African First Ladies Summit.[1]

Cherie Blair, with Cate Haste, wrote a book about recent prime ministerial spouses, The Goldfish Bowl: Married to the Prime Minister, 1955–1997, in 2005.[2]

List of spouses

Image Spouse Date of birth Date of marriage Prime Minister Date tenure began Age at start of tenure Date tenure ended Date of death
Portrait of Lady Walpole
Catherine, Lady Walpole
(née Shorter)
1682 30 Jul 1700 Robert Walpole 3 Apr 1721 38–39 years 20 Aug 1737 20 Aug 1737
(Aged 54–55)
None (widower) Walpole 20 Aug 1737 3 Mar 1738
No image.svg
Maria, Lady Walpole
(née Skerrett)
1702 3 Mar 1738 Walpole 3 Mar 1738 35–36 years 4 Jun 1738 4 Jun 1738
(Aged 35–36)
None (widower) Walpole 4 Jun 1738 11 Feb 1742
None (bachelor) Earl of Wilmington 16 Feb 1742 2 Jul 1743
No image.svg
Catherine Pelham
(née Manners)
1706 29 Oct 1726 Henry Pelham 27 Aug 1743 36–37 years 6 Mar 1754 18 Feb 1780
(Aged 73–74)
Portrait of Harriet Pelham-Holles
Harriet Pelham-Holles
(née Godolphin)
1701 2 Apr 1717 Duke of Newcastle 16 Mar 1754 52–53 years 11 Nov 1756 17 Jul 1776
(Aged 74–75)
None[a] (widower) Duke of Devonshire 16 Nov 1756 29 Jun 1757
Portrait of Harriet Pelham-Holles
Harriet Pelham-Holles
(née Godolphin)
1701 2 Apr 1717 Duke of Newcastle 29 Jun 1757 55–56 years 26 May 1762 17 Jul 1776
(Aged 74–75)
Portrait of Mary Stuart
Mary Stuart
(née Montagu)
19 Jan 1718 24 Aug 1736 Earl of Bute 26 May 1762 44 years 8 Apr 1763 6 Nov 1794
(Aged 76)
No image.svg
Elizabeth Grenville[b]
(née Wyndham)
1719 1 May 1749 George Grenville 16 Apr 1763 43–44 years 10 Jul 1765 5 Dec 1769
(Aged 49–50)
Portrait of Mary Watson-Wentworth
Mary Watson-Wentworth
(née Liddell)
1735 26 Feb 1752 Marquess of Rockingham 13 Jul 1765 29–30 years 30 Jul 1766 19 Dec 1804
(Aged 68–69)
Portrait of Hester Pitt
Hester Pitt[c]
(née Grenville)
8 Nov 1720 16 Oct 1754 Earl of Chatham 30 Jul 1766 45 years 14 Oct 1768 9 Apr 1803
(Aged 82)
Portrait of Anne FitzRoy
Anne FitzRoy[d]
(née Liddell)
1737 29 Jan 1756 Duke of Grafton 14 Oct 1768 30–31 years 23 Mar 1769 1804
(Aged 66–67)
None (divorcee) Grafton 23 Mar 1769 24 Jun 1769
Portrait of Elizabeth FitzRoy
Elizabeth FitzRoy
(née Wrottesley)
1 Nov 1745 24 Jun 1769 Grafton 24 Jun 1769 23 years 28 Jan 1770 25 May 1822
(Aged 76)
Portrait of Anne North
Anne North
(née Speke)
1741 20 May 1756 Lord North 28 Jan 1770 28–29 years 27 Mar 1782 1797
(Aged 55–56)
Portrait of Mary Watson-Wentworth
Mary Watson-Wentworth
(née Liddell)
1735 26 Feb 1752 Marquess of Rockingham 27 Mar 1782 46–47 years 1 Jul 1782 19 Dec 1804
(Aged 68–69)
Portrait of Louisa Petty
Louisa Petty[e]
(née FitzPatrick)
1755 19 Jul 1779 Earl of Shelburne 4 Jul 1782 26–27 years 26 Mar 1783 7 Aug 1789
(Aged 33–34)
Portrait of Dorothy Bentinck
Dorothy Bentinck[f]
(née Cavendish)
27 Aug 1750 8 Nov 1766 Duke of Portland 2 Apr 1783 32 years 18 Dec 1783 3 Jun 1794
(Aged 43)
None (bachelor) William Pitt 19 Dec 1783 14 Mar 1801
Ursula Addington
(née Hammond)
1759 19 Sep 1781 Henry Addington 17 Mar 1801 41–42 years 10 May 1804 28 Jun 1811
(Aged 51–52)
None (bachelor) William Pitt 10 May 1804 23 Jan 1806
Portrait of Anne Grenville
Anne Grenville
(née Pitt)
Sep 1772 18 Jul 1792 Baron Grenville 11 Feb 1806 33 years 25 Mar 1807 Jun 1864
(Aged 91)
None[g] (widower) Duke of Portland 31 Mar 1807 4 Oct 1809
Portrait of Mrs. Spencer Perceval by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun.jpg
Jane Perceval
(née Wilson)
21 Sep 1769 10 Aug 1790 Spencer Perceval 4 Oct 1809 40 years 11 May 1812 26 Jan 1844
(Aged 74)
Portrait of Louisa Jenkinson
Louisa Jenkinson
(née Hervey)
Feb 1767 25 Mar 1795 Earl of Liverpool 8 Jun 1812 45 years 12 Jun 1821 12 Jun 1821
(Aged 54)
None (widower) Liverpool 12 Jun 1821 24 Sep 1822
No image.svg
Mary Jenkinson
(née Chester)
24 Jun 1777 24 Sep 1822 Liverpool 24 Sep 1822 45 years 9 Apr 1827 18 Oct 1846
(Aged 69)
No image.svg
Joan Canning
(née Scott)
1776 8 Jul 1800 George Canning 12 Apr 1827 50–51 years 8 Aug 1827 14 Mar 1837
(Aged 60–61)
Sarah Countess of Ripon 1849 2 (cropped).jpg
Sarah Robinson
(née Hobart)
22 Feb 1793 1 Sep 1814 Viscount Goderich 31 Aug 1827 34 years 8 Jan 1828 9 Apr 1867
(Aged 74)
Catherine Wellesley, Duchess of Wellington (cropped).jpg
Catherine Wellesley
(née Pakenham)
14 Jan 1773 10 Apr 1806 Duke of Wellington 22 Jan 1828 55 years 16 Nov 1830 24 Apr 1831
(Aged 58)
Lady-Caroline-Barrington-ne-Grey-Lady-Georgiana-Grey-Mary-Elizabeth-Grey-ne-Ponsonby-Countess-Grey (cropped) (cropped).jpg
Mary Grey
(née Ponsonby)
4 Mar 1776 18 Nov 1794 Earl Grey 22 Nov 1830 54 years 9 Jul 1834 26 Nov 1861
(Aged 85)
None[h] (widower) Viscount Melbourne 16 Jul 1834 14 Nov 1834
None[i] (widower) Duke of Wellington 17 Nov 1834 9 Dec 1834
Portrait of Julia Peel
Julia Peel
(née Floyd)
1795 8 Jun 1820 Robert Peel 10 Dec 1834 38–39 years 8 Apr 1835 27 Oct 1859
(Aged 63–64)
None[h] (widower) Viscount Melbourne 18 Apr 1835 30 Aug 1841
Portrait of Julia Peel
Julia Peel
(née Floyd)
1795 8 Jun 1820 Robert Peel 30 Aug 1841 45–46 years 29 Jun 1846 27 Oct 1859
(Aged 63–64)
Portrait of Frances Russell
Frances Russell[j]
(née Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound)
15 Nov 1815 20 Jul 1841 John Russell 30 Jun 1846 30 years 21 Feb 1852 17 Jan 1898
(Aged 82)
Portrait of Emma Caroline Smith-Stanley
Emma Caroline Smith-Stanley
(née Bootle-Wilbraham)
17 Mar 1805 31 May 1825 Earl of Derby 23 Feb 1852 46 years 17 Dec 1852 1876
(Aged 70–71)
None[k] (widower) Earl of Aberdeen 19 Dec 1852 30 Jan 1855
Portrait of Emily Temple
Emily Temple[l]
(née Lamb)
1787 16 Dec 1839 Viscount Palmerston 6 Feb 1855 67–68 years 19 Feb 1858 1869
(Aged 81–82)
Portrait of Emma Caroline Smith-Stanley
Emma Caroline Smith-Stanley
(née Bootle-Wilbraham)
17 Mar 1805 31 May 1825 Earl of Derby 20 Feb 1858 52 years 11 Jun 1859 1876
(Aged 70–71)
Portrait of Emily Temple
Emily Temple
(née Lamb)
1787 16 Dec 1839 Viscount Palmerston 12 Jun 1859 71–72 years 18 Oct 1865 1869
(Aged 81–82)
Portrait of Frances Russell
Frances Russell[j]
(née Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound)
15 Nov 1815 20 Jul 1841 Earl Russell 29 Oct 1865 49 years 26 Jun 1866 17 Jan 1898
(Aged 82)
Portrait of Emma Caroline Smith-Stanley
Emma Caroline Smith-Stanley
(née Bootle-Wilbraham)
17 Mar 1805 31 May 1825 Earl of Derby 28 Jun 1866 61 years 25 Feb 1868 1876
(Aged 70–71)
Portrait of Mary Anne Disraeli
Mary Anne Disraeli[m]
(née Evans)
11 Nov 1792 28 Aug 1839 Benjamin Disraeli 27 Feb 1868 75 years 1 Dec 1868 15 Dec 1872
(Aged 80)
Portrait of Catherine Gladstone
Catherine Gladstone
(née Glynne)
6 Jan 1812 25 Jul 1839 William Ewart Gladstone 3 Dec 1868 56 years 17 Feb 1874 14 Jun 1900
(Aged 88)
None[n] (widower) Benjamin Disraeli 20 Feb 1874 21 Apr 1880
Portrait of Catherine Gladstone
Catherine Gladstone
(née Glynne)
6 Jan 1812 25 Jul 1839 William Ewart Gladstone 23 Apr 1880 68 years 9 Jun 1885 14 Jun 1900
(Aged 88)
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil (née Alderson), Marchioness of Salisbury (cropped).jpg
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil
(née Alderson)
1827 11 Jul 1857 Marquess of Salisbury 23 Jun 1885 57–58 years 28 Jan 1886 20 Nov 1899
(Aged 71–72)
Portrait of Catherine Gladstone
Catherine Gladstone
(née Glynne)
6 Jan 1812 25 Jul 1839 William Ewart Gladstone 1 Feb 1886 74 years 20 Jul 1886 14 Jun 1900
(Aged 88)
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil (née Alderson), Marchioness of Salisbury (cropped).jpg
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil
(née Alderson)
1827 11 Jul 1857 Marquess of Salisbury 25 Jul 1886 58–59 years 11 Aug 1892 20 Nov 1899
(Aged 71–72)
Portrait of Catherine Gladstone
Catherine Gladstone
(née Glynne)
6 Jan 1812 25 Jul 1839 William Ewart Gladstone 15 Aug 1892 80 years 2 Mar 1894 14 Jun 1900
(Aged 88)
None[o] (widower) Earl of Rosebery 5 Mar 1894 22 Jun 1895
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil (née Alderson), Marchioness of Salisbury (cropped).jpg
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil
(née Alderson)
1827 11 Jul 1857 Marquess of Salisbury 25 Jun 1895 67–68 years 20 Nov 1899 20 Nov 1899
(Aged 71–72)
None (widower) Salisbury 20 Nov 1899 11 Jul 1902
None (bachelor) Arthur Balfour 12 Jul 1902 4 Dec 1905
Portrait of Charlotte Campbell-Bannerman
Charlotte Campbell-Bannerman
(née Bruce)
1832 13 Sep 1860 Henry Campbell-Bannerman 5 Dec 1905 72–73 years 30 Aug 1906 30 Aug 1906
(Aged 73–74)
None (widower) Campbell-Bannerman 30 Aug 1906 5 Apr 1908
Portrait of Margot Asquith
Margot Asquith[p]
(née Tennant)
2 Feb 1864 10 May 1894 H. H. Asquith 5 Apr 1908 44 years 5 Dec 1916 28 Jul 1945
(Aged 81)
Portrait of Margaret Lloyd George
Margaret Lloyd George
(née Owen)
4 Nov 1864 24 Jan 1888 David Lloyd George 6 Dec 1916 52 years 19 Oct 1922 20 Jan 1941
(Aged 76)
None[q] (widower) Bonar Law 23 Oct 1922 20 May 1923
Portrait of Lucy Baldwin
Lucy Baldwin
(née Ridsdale)
19 Jun 1869 12 Sep 1892 Stanley Baldwin 22 May 1923 53 years 22 Jan 1924 17 Jun 1945
(Aged 75)
None[r] (widower) Ramsay MacDonald 22 Jan 1924 4 Nov 1924
Portrait of Lucy Baldwin
Lucy Baldwin
(née Ridsdale)
19 Jun 1869 12 Sep 1892 Stanley Baldwin 4 Nov 1924 55 years 4 Jun 1929 17 Jun 1945
(Aged 75)
None[r] (widower) Ramsay MacDonald 5 Jun 1929 7 Jun 1935
Portrait of Lucy Baldwin
Lucy Baldwin
(née Ridsdale)
19 Jun 1869 12 Sep 1892 Stanley Baldwin 7 Jun 1935 65 years 28 May 1937 17 Jun 1945
(Aged 75)
Portrait of Anne Cole
Anne Chamberlain
(née Cole)
1883 5 Jan 1911 Neville Chamberlain 28 May 1937 53–54 years 10 May 1940 12 Feb 1967
(Aged 83–84)
Portrait of Clementine Churchill
Clementine Churchill
(née Hozier)
1 Apr 1885 12 Sep 1908 Winston Churchill 10 May 1940 55 years 26 Jul 1945 12 Dec 1977
(Aged 92)
Violet-Helen-ne-Millar-Countess-Attlee.jpg
Violet Attlee
(née Millar)
20 Nov 1895 10 Jan 1922 Clement Attlee 26 Jul 1945 49 years 26 Oct 1951 7 Jun 1964
(Aged 68)
Portrait of Clementine Churchill
Clementine Churchill
(née Hozier)
1 Apr 1885 12 Sep 1908 Winston Churchill 26 Oct 1951 66 years 5 Apr 1955 12 Dec 1977
(Aged 92)
Clarissa Eden.jpg
Clarissa Eden[s]
(née Spencer-Churchill)
28 Jun 1920 14 Aug 1952 Anthony Eden 6 Apr 1955 34 years 9 Jan 1957 15 Nov 2021
(Aged 101)
Lady-Dorothy-Evelyn-Macmillan-ne-Cavendish (retouched greyscale).jpg
Dorothy Macmillan
(née Cavendish)
28 Jul 1900 21 Apr 1920 Harold Macmillan 10 Jan 1957 56 years 18 Oct 1963 21 May 1966
(Aged 65)
Portrait of Elizabeth Douglas-Home
Elizabeth Douglas-Home
(née Alington)
6 Nov 1909 3 Oct 1936 Alec Douglas-Home 19 Oct 1963 53 years 16 Oct 1964 3 Sep 1990
(Aged 80)
Portrait of Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson
(née Baldwin)
12 Jan 1916 1 Jan 1940 Harold Wilson 16 Oct 1964 48 years 19 Jun 1970 6 Jun 2018
(Aged 102)
None (bachelor) Edward Heath 19 Jun 1970 4 Mar 1974
Portrait of Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson
(née Baldwin)
12 Jan 1916 1 Jan 1940 Harold Wilson 4 Mar 1974 58 years 5 Apr 1976 6 Jun 2018
(Aged 102)
Portrait of Audrey Callaghan
Audrey Callaghan
(née Moulton)
28 Jul 1915 28 Jul 1938 James Callaghan 5 Apr 1976 60 years 4 May 1979 15 Mar 2005
(Aged 89)
Portrait of Denis Thatcher
Denis Thatcher[t] 10 May 1915 13 Dec 1951 Margaret Thatcher 4 May 1979 63 years 28 Nov 1990 26 Jun 2003
(Aged 88)
No image.svg
Norma Major
(née Wagstaff)
12 Feb 1942 3 Oct 1970 John Major 28 Nov 1990 48 years 2 May 1997 Living
(Age 80)
Portrait of Cherie Blair
Cherie Blair
(née Booth)
23 Sep 1954 29 Mar 1980 Tony Blair 2 May 1997 42 years 27 Jun 2007 Living
(Age 68)
Portrait of Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown
(née Macaulay)[3]
31 Oct 1963 3 Aug 2000 Gordon Brown 27 Jun 2007 43 years 11 May 2010 Living
(Age 59)
Portrait of Samantha Cameron
Samantha Cameron
(née Sheffield)[4]
18 Apr 1971 1 Jun 1996 David Cameron 11 May 2010 39 years 13 Jul 2016 Living
(Age 51)
Portrait of Philip May
Philip May[5] 18 Sep 1957 6 Sep 1980 Theresa May 13 Jul 2016 58 years 24 Jul 2019 Living
(Age 65)
No image.svg
Marina Wheeler
(separated)[u][v]
18 Aug 1964 8 May 1993 Boris Johnson 24 Jul 2019 54 years 2020[7] Living
(Age 58)
None (divorcee) Johnson 2020 29 May 2021
Portrait of Carrie Symonds
Carrie Johnson
(née Symonds)[8]
17 Mar 1988 29 May 2021 Johnson 29 May 2021 33 years 6 Sep 2022 Living
(Age 34)
Portrait of Hugh O
Hugh O'Leary[9] 1974 2000 Liz Truss 6 Sep 2022 47–48 years 25 Oct 2022 Living
(Age 47–48)
No image.svg
Akshata Murty Apr 1980 2009 Rishi Sunak 25 Oct 2022 42 years Living
(Age 42)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Devonshire's wife Charlotte died in 1754.
  2. ^ Mother of Baron Grenville.
  3. ^ Mother of William Pitt the Younger.
  4. ^ Anne's second marriage after the Earl of Upper Ossory.
  5. ^ Shelburne's second marriage after Sophia Carteret.
  6. ^ Daughter of the Duke of Devonshire.
  7. ^ Portland's wife Lady Dorothy died in 1794.
  8. ^ a b Melbourne's wife Lady Caroline died in 1828.
  9. ^ Wellington's wife Catherine died in 1831.
  10. ^ a b Russell's second marriage after Adelaide Lister.
  11. ^ Aberdeen's first wife Catherine died in 1812 and his second wife Harriet died in 1833.
  12. ^ Emily's second marriage after the Earl Cowper. Sister of the Viscount Melbourne.
  13. ^ Mary's second marriage after Wyndham Lewis.
  14. ^ Disraeli's wife Mary died in 1872.
  15. ^ Rosebery's wife Hannah died in 1890.
  16. ^ Asquith's second marriage after Helen Melland.
  17. ^ Law's wife Annie died in 1909.
  18. ^ a b MacDonald's wife Margaret died in 1911.
  19. ^ Eden's second marriage after Beatrice Beckett.
  20. ^ First male spouse. Thatcher's second marriage after Margot Kempson.
  21. ^ Johnson's second marriage after Allegra Mostyn-Owen.[6]
  22. ^ Wheeler was never in any official role as spouse of the prime minister as she and Johnson separated and began divorce proceedings in 2018.[10] Their divorce was finalised by November 2020.[7]

References

  1. ^ Mwanzi, Josephat (2 July 2013). "The first ladies club: Obama and Bush share stage in Africa". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  2. ^ Booth, Cherie; Cate, Haste (2005). The Goldfish Bowl: Married To The Prime Minister, 1955–1997. Random House. ISBN 978-0-09-946202-6.
  3. ^ "Sarah Brown: The new 'first lady'". BBC News. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Profile: Samantha Cameron". BBC News. 14 February 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Profile: Theresa May's husband Philip". BBC News. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  6. ^ Gillett, Francesca & Lucy Webster (29 April 2020). "Carrie Symonds: Who is Boris Johnson's fiancee?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2 December 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b Coke, Hope (9 November 2020). "Marina Wheeler opens up about life post-Boris Johnson". Tatler. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  8. ^ Shearing, Hazel & Kathryn Snowdon (30 May 2021). "Boris Johnson marries Carrie Symonds at Westminster Cathedral". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  9. ^ Silverman, Rosa; Chandler-Wilde, Helen (5 September 2022). "Liz Truss's 'stoic' husband doesn't want 'massive public role'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  10. ^ "Boris Johnson and wife to divorce". BBC News. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.