Petronella Wyatt

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Petronella Wyatt
Born 1968 (age 47–48)
London, England
Residence St John's Wood, North London[1]
Nationality British
Education St Paul's Girls' School
Alma mater University College, London
Occupation Journalist
Home town London
Parent(s) Woodrow Wyatt
Verushka Banszky von Ambroz

Petronella Wyatt (born May 1968), is a British journalist and author.


Wyatt is the daughter of Woodrow Wyatt, journalist and Labour politician, and his fourth wife, the Hungarian Veronica (Verushka) Banszky von Ambroz. Born in St. John's Wood, London, Wyatt attended St Paul's Girls' School and was offered a place to read History at Worcester College, Oxford. Wyatt left Oxford after two weeks, later claiming she had suffered persistent bullying and harassment, which she alleges were linked to her conservative political views. She went on to graduate from University College London.[2]

Wyatt, known to her friends as "Petsy," lives with her mother in St John's Wood, North London.[1]

After she had lived in the United States for the latter half of 2003 with Charles Bruce Berry at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2004 British newspapers reported that she had had a four-year affair with the then-Conservative MP Boris Johnson.[1] The affair, which had been well hinted at in UK newspaper gossip columns, included passionate London taxi cab rides around St John's Wood during which they would ask the cab driver to insert cassette tapes of Wyatt singing Puccini.[3] Although Johnson had promised to leave his wife,[4] after a break-up, they had rekindled their relationship during which Wyatt had become pregnant and then had an abortion; resulting in her mother discovering the affair and reporting it to the press.[1] Johnson was sacked from his shadow cabinet post by Michael Howard, not because of the affair but because he had lied about it.

Wyatt's hobby is singing and lyric-writing; she also co-founded a cabaret act called Kiss and Tell with the pianist and composer Jeremy Limb, poet Lloyd Evans, and opera singer Melinda Hughes. It debuted at London club Volstead in November 2007.[5]

Writing and media work[edit]

Wyatt has been a weekly columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator, of which she was deputy editor. She currently writes political interviews and main feature articles for the Daily Mail. Her interviewees have included John Major,[6] David Blunkett,[7] and Piers Morgan.[8] Wyatt is known for her direct and playful interview style. In 1996, when interviewing the proposed Labour Minister for Women Janet Anderson, Anderson joked that "under Labour, women will become more promiscuous", which Wyatt reported as policy.[9] Denis Healey regretted at the close of an interview with Wyatt that there was no time left for "rumpy pumpy".[10]

Her television appearances include Question Time and Newsnight.

Views on Wikipedia[edit]

Wyatt has written about her attention to her Wikipedia entry.[11] In May 2007, Private Eye reported that Wyatt had been instructed by Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, to pen an attack on Wikipedia over the content of her entry on the site.[12] This was published on 22 April 2007 when Wyatt admitted to writing her initial entry and then threatening to sue over vandalism to the page.[13] However, the precise vandalism which existed on the page – which was removed by Wyatt herself – was exaggerated in her reporting, and certain key quotes used in her article fabricated completely.[14]

Views on cycling[edit]

Wyatt writes against cycling in London, as championed by her ex-lover Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London.[15] (See Santander Cycles, aka Boris bikes.) Her half-brother, Pericles Wyatt, promotes cycling where he lives.[16] In September 2012 doubts were raised over the veracity of one element of an article written about her mother being run over by a cyclist. On 7 October Wyatt's employer, The Daily Mail, published a correction saying that the bag snatch reported in the article had happened in 2008, not 2012 as originally reported.[17]



  1. ^ a b c d Porter, Andrew; Hellen, Nicholas (14 November 2004). "Boris Johnson sacked for lying over affair". London: The Times. Retrieved 29 May 2007. 
  2. ^ Wyatt, Petronella (30 November 2012). "Petronella Wyatt: I was bullied out of Oxford for being a Tory". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Roger (15 October 2006). "The only dumb blond in Westminster village". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "Woodrow, Verushka, Pericles and Petronella: welcome to the world of the Wyatts". London: The Independent. 20 November 2004. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  5. ^ "She's had voice training, dance lessons and a brand new dress". London: Daily Mail. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2008. 
  6. ^ "I've been vindicated", The Spectator, 20–27 December 1997
  7. ^ "The Home Secretary's home truths", The Daily Telegraph, 20 December 2004
  8. ^ "Main in the mirror", The Spectator, 20 July 2002
  9. ^ Picardie, Ruth (3 October 1996). "Promiscuity. A new war cry for Labour?". London: The Independent. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Popham, Peter (17 April 1997). "Media families 5. The Wyatts". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 May 2007. 
  11. ^ Wyatt, Petronella (4 April 2009). "PETRONELLA WYATT: I'm marrying a gloriously unsuitable man!". Daily Mail. London. 
  12. ^ "Street of Shame". Private Eye (1185). 25 May 2007. p. 4. 
  13. ^ Wyatt, Petronella (22 April 2007). "Wicked-pedia: 'Why the online encyclopedia makes me want to scream'". Daily Mail. London. 
  14. ^ Cross, Dave (24 April 2007). "Petronella Wyatt on Wikipedia". Davblog. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Wyatt, Petronella (19 February 2010). "Beware the rogue bicycles... Petronella Wyatt attacks the cult of cycling after her frail mother was knocked down". Daily Mail. London. 
  16. ^ Tucson Citizen "Sheriff’s video shows scofflaw bicyclists" by Ryn Gargulinski on Mar. 11, 2008
  17. ^ "Corrections and clarifications". Daily Mail. London.