Boris Johnson is preparing to take on the role of UK Prime Minister and one person who will be by his side all the way is his girlfriend Carrie Symonds. The ex-PR chief, who is 24 years Boris's junior, is expected to move into 10 Downing Street this weekend when her Conservative politician partner becomes PM. But who is Carrie Symonds and how did the couple meet? Read on for everything you need to know…
Who is Carrie Symonds?
The daughter of The Independent co-founder Matthew Symonds and one of the newspaper's lawyers Josephine Mcaffee, Carrie had a privileged upbringing in southwest London. She grew up in East Sheen and was enrolled in private school Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith before studying history of art and theatre studies at the University of Warwick, where she graduated with first-class honours.
Carrie is a conservationist and former Director of Communications for the Conservative Party
The PR guru went on to work as a press officer for the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, supporting Tory names including Amber Rudd and Michael Gove. The 31-year-old was a special adviser for Sajid Javid at the Department of Communities and Local Government and special adviser for John Whittingdale at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. She was promoted to Director of Communications for the Conservative Party and worked with Boris during his time as Mayor of London.
Carrie left Westminster in 2018 when her affair with the politician came to light. She moved to Bloomberg to do the PR for their Vibrant Oceans programme. Carrie is a big campaigner for ocean and marine welfare, even campaigning alongside Boris' father, Stanley Johnson. The conservationist, who is passionate about fighting plastic pollution, is also patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, which seeks to help advance farm animal welfare. During her time with the Conservative Party, Carrie worked to promote the party's policies including the ivory ban, CCTV in slaughterhouses, increasing sentences for animal cruelty, banning of micro beads and animal sentience.
She has campaigned with Boris' father, Stanley Johnson
How did Carrie Symonds and Boris Johnson meet?
Carrie and Boris are thought to have been dating for around 18 months, after spending Valentine's Day in 2018 together. Their affair came to light after Boris announced his separation from his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler, the mother of his four children, in September 2018. Marina cited infidelity as the reason for their marriage breakdown.
The couple released a joint statement that read: "Several months ago, after 25 years of marriage, we decided it was in our best interests to separate. We have subsequently agreed to divorce and that process is under way. As friends we will continue to support our four children in the years ahead. We will not be commenting further." Boris and Marina had their up and downs. In 2004, the politician confessed to having a four-year affair with journalist Petronella Wyatt, and in 2010 it was revealed that he had fathered a daughter Stephanie with Helen MacIntyre, an arts consultant.
Carrie and Boris have been dating for over a year
Where does Carrie Symonds live?
Carrie and Boris made headlines in June 2019 when the police were called to the PR's Camberwell home. Neighbours Tom Penn, 29, and Eve Leigh, who are anti-Brexit, recorded the couple's heated row and shared it with The Guardian. They had knocked on Carrie's front door to no avail, after hearing banging and shouting. Carrie and Boris have refused to comment but seemed to make up a few days later when arguably staged photos surfaced, showing the couple talking and holding hands in a garden.
Carrie, who was absent when Boris was announced as the new Prime Minister on Tuesday, is expected to move into 10 Downing Street with her boyfriend. If so, they will be the first unmarried couple to live in the London residence. During an appearance on This Morning, Daily Mail journalist Amanda Platell noted: "She wants to be by his side. Her favourite book is Michelle Obama's autobiography. She wants to be recognised, fighting for her causes and like any girlfriend she wants the ring on her finger, but she'll have to wait until Marina divorces Boris." As the Prime Minister's girlfriend, Carrie, like other Prime Ministers' other halves, will have an allowance and administrative assistants. She will also carry out functions in her own right.
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