Carrie Johnson

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Carrie Johnson
Carrie Symonds on 2020 Commonwealth Day.jpg
Johnson in 2020
Born
Caroline Louise Bevan Symonds[1]

(1988-03-17) 17 March 1988 (age 33)
London, England
EducationGodolphin and Latymer School[2]
Alma materUniversity of Warwick (BA)[2]
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)
(m. 2021)
Children2
Residence
Parent(s)
Relatives

Caroline Louise Bevan Johnson[3][4][5] (née Symonds; born 17 March 1988) is the wife of British prime minister Boris Johnson. Before becoming spouse of the prime minister, she was known as a political and animal welfare activist, and a conservationist. She is a former Conservative Party media official and currently works as a senior advisor to the ocean conservation charity Oceana.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Caroline Louise Bevan Symonds was born on 17 March 1988 to Matthew Symonds, co-founder of The Independent, and Josephine Mcaffee (née Lawrence), a lawyer working for that newspaper.[7][8] Her paternal grandfather was John Beavan, Baron Ardwick (at one time editor of the Daily Herald and later, during the 1970s, a Labour Party MEP), and her paternal grandmother was Anne Symonds, a BBC World Service journalist.[9][10]

Symonds was brought up by her mother in East Sheen, London, and between 1999 and 2006 attended Godolphin and Latymer School, an independent day school for girls. She went on to the University of Warwick, where she graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts in Art History and Theatre Studies in 2009.[2][11]

Career and political activism[edit]

In 2009, Symonds joined the Conservative Party as a press officer.[12] She worked at Conservative Campaign Headquarters,[13] and later campaigned for Boris Johnson in the 2010 London Conservative Party mayoral selection. She has also worked as a media special adviser for Conservative Cabinet Ministers Sajid Javid (Communities, Local Government and Housing Secretary) and John Whittingdale (Culture, Media and Sport Secretary).[14]

Symonds became the Conservative Party's head of communications in 2018,[15] but left the position later that year,[7] taking up a job in public relations for the Oceana project.[16][14] It was reported that she was asked to leave her post as director of communications after sources[who?] said party chiefs had said her performance was poor, and questions were raised[by whom?] over significant unjustified expenses claims.[17][2] These accusations were, however, rejected by other sources[who?] as being a smear campaign based around rumours allegedly spread by Symonds's political strategist, Lynton Crosby.[18][19]

She is a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation.[20]

John Worboys case[edit]

In 2007, aged 19, Symonds was driven home from a King's Road nightclub by taxi-driver John Worboys, who in 2009 was convicted of multiple sexual assaults on his passengers. She later recalled Worboys offering her champagne and vodka,[2] which she believed was spiked and, after returning home, "vomiting and laughing hysterically before passing out until 3pm the next day".[21]

Symonds was one of fourteen women who testified against Worboys at his trial. She subsequently told The Telegraph that he was "a sad, wicked man who is a danger to society. I feel so angry that he pleaded not guilty and made us go through the pain of giving evidence in court".[21]

Symonds was the youngest of Worboys' victims, and waived her anonymity to talk about her experiences and, later, to campaign against his early release, fundraising for a successful judicial review of the decision.[22][2]

Public and personal life[edit]

Symonds was previously in a relationship with British political journalist Harry Cole.[23]

She began an affair with British politician Boris Johnson, then the foreign secretary, in 2018 while he was still married to his second wife, Marina Wheeler.[2][11] In July 2019, Boris became prime minister and both he and Carrie officially moved into the flat above 11 Downing Street.[24][25][26][27] She was the first unmarried partner of a prime minister to reside at Downing Street. The following month, she was barred from entering the United States as her visa application was rejected due to a previous visit with her close friend Nimco Ali to Somaliland, which the US considers to be part of immigration-restricted Somalia.[28] On 16 August 2019, she made her first public appearance since entering 10 Downing Street, when she addressed what she called the "gigantic" climate crisis.[29][30]

Political influence[edit]

Johnson greeting U.S. First Lady Jill Biden at the 47th G7 summit in Cornwall, June 2021

Concerns over her influence on the prime minister were raised in January 2020, when it came to light that she had received briefs from animal rights activists just before the government pulled a planned cull of badgers in Derbyshire.[31] An association representing farmers, the NFU, asserted that this meeting and her influence played a key role in the government ignoring scientific advice in favour of retaining the cull. According to The Guardian, a judicial review has been granted permission to examine how the decision was reached.[31] She was also influential in making sure that Lee Cain did not get a job as the prime minister's chief of staff,[32] and has urged Boris Johnson to fire environment secretary George Eustice from his role.[33] She was also involved in a political controversy over the refurbishment of the 11 Downing Street flat,[33] and her comments over the flat's decor being a "John Lewis furniture nightmare" (John Lewis typically being an aspirational, upper-middle-class shop) led to accusations of snobbery.[34][35][36]

During Dominic Cummings's tenure as chief adviser, Cummings and Carrie Symonds were said to represent two separate factions influencing the prime minister.[37] Cummings also said that the prime minister "cancel[led] an inquiry about a leak ... because it might implicate his girlfriend's friends";[38] Cummings accused Henry Newman, the senior adviser in Downing Street and ally of Carrie Symonds, of being a "chatty rat" who leaked the plans for a second lockdown in October.[39] Cummings later said in 2021 that Symonds acted "illegally" in awarding influential jobs to her friends, including press secretary Allegra Stratton.[40]

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes said that Carrie Johnson's influence has been exaggerated for sexist purposes;[39] she has been likened to both Lady Macbeth and Marie Antoinette by her critics.[41] Writing in the Sunday Times Marie Le Conte disagreed that such criticism is sexist.[42]

In December 2021, Politico Europe named her as one of the "disrupters" in its annual list of 28 people who will shape Europe in the year to come.[43]

Engagement and marriage[edit]

On 29 February 2020, Symonds and Boris Johnson announced that they had become engaged in late 2019.[44] Their son, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, was born on 29 April 2020 in London.[45] She used to be a practising Catholic and had her son baptised into the Catholic Church.[46]

Symonds married Boris Johnson on 29 May 2021 in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral attended by thirty guests.[47][48][49] She wore a boho-chic style bridal gown by Greek designer Christos Costarellos.[50][51] In July 2021, she announced that they were expecting their second child together, also revealing that she had suffered a miscarriage earlier that year.[52] Their daughter, Romy Iris Charlotte Johnson, was born on 9 December 2021 in London.[53][54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GRO Register of Births = MAR 1988 15 449 WANDSWORTH - Caroline Louise B. Symonds, mother's maiden name = Lawrence
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hinsliff, Gaby (29 November 2020). "Under new management: is Carrie Symonds the real power at No 10?". The Observer. Retrieved 30 April 2021 – via The Guardian.
  3. ^ Lynch, Lucy (17 March 2009). ""I was drugged by rapist John Worboys" - Warwick University student bravely speaks out". Coventry Telegraph. Coventry. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  4. ^ Superintendent Registrar, Certified copy of an entry of marriage, No. RPA 249936 Entry No. 522032088 18th June 2021.
  5. ^ Gillett, Francesca; Webster, Lucy (30 May 2021). "Carrie Johnson: Who is the prime minister's wife?". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  6. ^ "PM's partner Carrie Symonds makes first speech since No 10 move". BBC News. 17 August 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b Barr, Sabrina; Ritschel, Chelsea; Javed, Saman (30 May 2021). "Who is Carrie Symonds? Boris Johnson marries fiancee in 'secret ceremony'". The Independent. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  8. ^ Bird, Steve; Sheridan, Danielle; Horton, Helena (3 May 2020). "Baby Johnson named in tribute to doctors". The Sunday Telegraph.
  9. ^ Fergusson, James (19 August 1994). "Obituary: Lord Ardwick". The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  10. ^ Lancaster, Terence (19 August 1994). "Obituary: Lord Ardwick". The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  11. ^ a b Bostock, Bill (23 July 2019). "Everything you need to know about Boris Johnson's fiancée Carrie Symonds, who just gave birth to a baby boy". Business Insider. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Carrie Symonds: who is Boris Johnson's live-in girlfriend?". The Week UK. 24 July 2019.
  13. ^ Rushton, Simon (24 July 2019). "Who is Carrie Symonds? Boris Johnson's girlfriend and Tory PR guru, set to join new prime minister in 10 Downing Street". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  14. ^ a b Gillett, Francesca; Webster, Lucy (29 April 2020). "Carrie Symonds: Who is Boris Johnson's fiancee?". BBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  15. ^ O'Grady, Siobhán; Mellen, Ruby (24 July 2019). "Who is Carrie Symonds? Boris Johnson's partner could make history by moving into 10 Downing Street". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Who Is Carrie Symonds?". ELLE. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  17. ^ Crerar, Pippa (9 July 2019). "Boris Johnson's partner 'left £80k Tory HQ job over unauthorised expense claims'". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  18. ^ "The Londoner: Tory staffers rally behind Carrie Symonds". Evening Standard. 10 July 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  19. ^ Wheeler, Caroline (28 July 2019). "PM's row with Lynton Crosby over briefings against girlfriend Carrie Symonds". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  20. ^ "About". Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  21. ^ a b Gammell, Caroline (13 March 2009). "John Worboys: Victim Carrie Symonds' story". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Carrie Symonds: It's such a relief to know John Worboys will stay in prison". Evening Standard. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  23. ^ Gray, Freddy (5 March 2020). "What drives First Fiancée Carrie Symonds, asks Freddy Gray". Tatler. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Boris Johnson becomes UK's new prime minister". BBC News. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  25. ^ Perkins, Anne (1 August 2019). "Why Carrie Symonds is the embodiment of the Boris Johnson brand". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  26. ^ Mason, Rowena (29 July 2019). "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds move into Downing Street". The Guardian.
  27. ^ Spratt, Vicky (24 August 2019). "The Women Who Stay With Problematic Men". Refinery29. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  28. ^ "Carrie Symonds, girlfriend of British PM Boris Johnson, has been denied a visa to the US". news.com.au. 21 August 2019.
  29. ^ Horton, Helena; Hope, Christopher (14 August 2019). "Carrie Symonds to carry out first solo event since Boris Johnson became PM at 'birdwatchers' Glastonbury'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Carrie Symonds warns politicians of 'gigantic' climate crisis responsibility". The Guardian. 16 August 2019. ISSN 0261-3077.
  31. ^ a b Doward, Jamie (25 January 2020). "Court to probe Carrie Symonds' influence on PM after cancellation of badger cull". The Observer. London. Retrieved 8 March 2021 – via The Guardian.
  32. ^ Elgot, Jessica (12 November 2020). "Lee Cain: Johnson's senior aide resigns amid infighting at No 10". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  33. ^ a b Elgot, Jessica (30 April 2021). "Carrie Symonds' influence at No 10 extends much further than the decor". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  34. ^ Strick, Katie; Sleigh, Sophia (27 April 2021). "How could Boris and Carrie's Downing St refurbishment cost £200,000?". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  35. ^ "A question for Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds: what is wrong with John Lewis?". The Independent. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  36. ^ Parker, Sadie (28 April 2021). "John Lewis: rich woman's nightmare, poor woman's dream". West Country Bylines. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  37. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Walker, Peter; Murphy, Simon (13 November 2020). "How Cummings and Carrie Symonds vie for Johnson's attention". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  38. ^ Mendick, Robert (23 April 2021). "Sorting through the shrapnel: what Dominic Cummings' grenade-ridden riposte means". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  39. ^ a b Diver, Tony; Horton, Helena (25 April 2021). "Carrie Symonds defended over 'sexist fabrication' that she tried to get minister fired". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  40. ^ Courea, Eleni (27 May 2021). "Carrie Symonds 'tried to install friends in key roles', Dominic Cummings claims". The Times. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  41. ^ Sheridan, Danielle (3 May 2021). "Samantha Cameron defends Carrie Symonds over 'Lady Macbeth' attacks". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  42. ^ Conte, Marie Le (2 May 2021). "Carrie Symonds is a serious political player — so it's not sexist to ask 'What's her game?'". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  43. ^ "Carrie Johnson". POLITICO. 8 December 2021. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  44. ^ "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds engaged and expecting baby". BBC News. London. 29 February 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  45. ^ Braddick, Imogen (2 May 2020). "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds name baby boy Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson after doctors who saved PM's life". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  46. ^ Sherwood, Harriet; Walker, Peter; Giuffrida, Angela (21 September 2020). "Italian airport quashes claims of secret Boris Johnson trip". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  47. ^ Beech, Samantha (30 May 2021). "Boris Johnson marries Carrie Symonds in secret wedding". CNN. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  48. ^ Shearing, Hazel; Snowdon, Kathryn (30 May 2021). "Boris Johnson marries Carrie Symonds at Westminster Cathedral". BBC News. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  49. ^ Malnick, Edward; Stanley, Tim; Southworth, Phoebe (30 May 2021). "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds married in secret wedding ceremony at Westminster Cathedral". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  50. ^ Javed, Saman. "Everything we know about Carrie Symonds' wedding look". The Independent. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  51. ^ "Carrie Symonds wears a boho-organza tiered white gown and flower crown for a wedding with Boris Johnson". The Independent. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  52. ^ "Carrie Johnson and Boris Johnson expecting second child". BBC News. 31 July 2021. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  53. ^ "Boris and Carrie Johnson announce birth of a girl". BBC News. 9 December 2021. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  54. ^ Keane, Daniel (16 December 2021). "Romy Iris Charlotte: Boris Johnson and Carrie name their baby daughter". Evening Standard. Retrieved 16 December 2021.