Last week, Number 10 welcomed the country’s new prime minister. At 54, Boris Johnson is the first separated British prime minister to take the helm. He is accompanied by his girlfriend, former Tory spin doctor Carrie Symonds, who at 31 is the youngest ever and first non-married partner to reside behind the big black doors of Downing Street.
This is unprecedented territory for Downing Street. We’ve seen single Prime Ministers, the reportedly a-sexual Ted Heath, as well as ‘first-husbands’ and even first-ladies with jobs. But this is the first time that we’ve had a ‘first girlfriend.’
Here’s everything you need to know about the new lady at Number 10:
Who is Carrie Symonds?
Raised in East Sheen, London, her parents are Matthew Symonds, one of the founders of the Independent newspaper, and media lawyer Josephine Mcaffee. She attended the prestigious Godolphin and Latymer School, a private girls’ day school in Hammersmith.
With a first-class degree in art history and theatre studies from Warwick University, 31- year-old Carrie Symonds quit working for Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) as communications and PR chief back in 2018.
Prior to her resignation (some say fired) from an 8-year stint at CCHQ, she worked alongside leading Tories including Michael Gove and Amber Rudd. This lucrative role led to her being named as the UK’s second most powerful public relations professional by PR Week magazine. She is now working for an environmental NGO.
A Fiery Relationship or a Passionate Affair?
An ex-boyfriend from Carrie’s University days describes his relationship with the PR expert as “tumultuous.’ He told the Mail on Sunday: “I found when times were good with Carrie they were great – they were fantastic. “When times were bad they were awful. It was a highly passionate relationship. And I don’t mean that in a salacious, physical sense. I mean in terms of emotional context – very emotionally charged. It’s the most up and down relationship I have had.”
The Potential Breakup
Of course, what the media will be waiting for, is the first official row. We’ve already witnessed one account when Boris won MPs’ nomination to be one of the final two candidates to become party leader – which ultimately ended with the police being called. How will it work if/when Symonds and Johnson break up? Will she get locked out of Downing Street? Worse still, will we find our Prime Minster cruising Westminster bars looking for love? Or even on Tinder? Who will be the first to swipe right?
Breaking the Stereotypes
So she might be the first girlfriend at Downing Street, but they are certainly not the first “famous” couple with an age gap. We’ve seen the 12-year gap between Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the 17-year age gap between George Clooney and Amal, and not forgetting French President Emmanuel Macron who married his teacher with a 25-year age difference. And they are all making a success of it.
With an impressive 23 years between them, Johnson and Symonds are no doubt a passionate, colourful couple. We look forward to seeing them in love – and in action.