Mary Wilson, Baroness Wilson of Rievaulx

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The Right Honourable
The Lady Wilson of Rievaulx
Mary Wilson, First Lady of the United Kingdom.tif
Mary Wilson in 1970
Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
In role
4 March 1974 – 5 April 1976
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Vacanta
Succeeded by Audrey Callaghan
In role
16 October 1964 – 19 June 1970
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Elizabeth Douglas-Home
Succeeded by Vacanta
Personal details
Born Gladys Mary Baldwin
(1916-01-12) 12 January 1916 (age 102)
Diss, Norfolk, England
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Harold Wilson
(m. 1940–1995, his death)
Children 2, including Robin
a. ^ The Prime Minister from 19 June 1970 to
4 March 1974 was Edward Heath.

Gladys Mary Wilson, Lady Wilson of Rievaulx (née Baldwin; born 12 January 1916),[1] is an English poet and the widow of former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson; who served from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. She is the only spouse of any Prime Minister to become a centenarian.


She was born in Diss, Norfolk, the daughter of Reverend Daniel Baldwin, who was a Congregationalist minister. She attended boarding school at Milton Mount College near Crawley, leaving in 1932 to attend a secretarial course in Cumberland for two years. She was employed as a shorthand typist at Lever Brothers in Port Sunlight before marrying Harold Wilson on New Year's Day, 1940. She and Wilson had two sons together, Robin (born 5 December 1943) and Giles (born 1948).[2]

In 1970, her volume of poetry, Selected Poems was published and in 1976, Wilson was one of three judges of the Man Booker Prize, the other judges being Walter Allen and Francis King.[3] According to the Dictionary of National Biography entry for Harold Wilson, written by Roy Jenkins,[4] Mary Wilson was not satisfied with life in politics. It was this detachment which gave the Private Eye spoof Mrs Wilson's Diary, the supposed diary of Mary Wilson, written in the style of the BBC's daily radio serial Mrs Dale's Diary, a spurious look of authenticity.

Mary was widowed on 24 May 1995 when Harold died of colorectal cancer and Alzheimer's disease after ten years of illness. They were married for 55 years. As of 2007, she lived in Westminster, a short distance away from Downing Street.[5] She also retains the couple's holiday home in the Isles of Scilly.[6]

In 2013, aged 97, she accepted an invitation to attend the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.[7]

Wilson is the oldest living spouse of a former UK Prime Minister, the longest lived Prime Minister's spouse on record, and the first and only one to become a centenarian.[1][8]

Titles from birth[edit]

  • Miss Mary Baldwin (1916–1940)
  • Mrs Harold Wilson (1940–1976)
  • Lady Wilson (1976–1983)
  • The Right Honourable The Lady Wilson of Rievaulx (1983–)


Selected Poems (1970) ISBN 0-09-105010-3
New Poems (1979) ISBN 0-09-139460-0


  1. ^ a b McSmith, Andy (8 January 2016). "Mary Wilson: Wife of former Prime Minister Harold turning 100 years-old". The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Dermot Englefield, Janet Seaton, Isobel White, "Facts About the British Prime Ministers", Cassell, 1995, p. 314.
  3. ^ "Tears, tiffs and triumphs". The Guardian. UK. 6 September 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The truth about Harold Wilson - after 30 years of scandalous rumours". Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  6. ^ "Objective One in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly". Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "Final guest list for Lady Thatcher's funeral" (PDF). 17 October 2013. p. 19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2017.  More than one of |deadurl= and |dead-url= specified (help)
  8. ^ Hirst, Andrew (2016-01-12). "Harold Wilson's loyal wife Mary reaches her 100th birthday". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 

External links[edit]

  • Mary Wilson Selected Poems
  • Roy Hattersley, The truth about Harold Wilson – after 30 years of scandalous rumours, Daily Mail, 24 June 2007 [1]
  • In praise of … Mary Wilson. Mrs Wilson was and remains a lady of firm convictions, and at 94 is as alert as ever, Guardian 17 March 2010 [2]
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lady Douglas-Home
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Title next held by
Title last held by
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Audrey Callaghan