From Denis Thatcher to Carrie Symonds: three decades of Downing Street spouses

After tying the knot at the weekend Carrie Symonds joins the long line of spouses in No. 10

Carrie and Boris Johnson
(Image credit: Rebecca Fulton / Downing Street via Getty Images)

Unlike their American counterparts, British “first spouses” – as they are sometimes referred to in the press – don’t hold an official political role in the office of the prime minister. It is a nebulous role, with many preferring to remain firmly in the shadows while the PM gets on with the top job; although many have acted as important and trusted unofficial advisors, too.

As Carrie Symonds became Carrie Johnson this Bank Holiday weekend, here’s a look at the last 30 years of Downing Street spouses.

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 Sorcha Bradley is a writer at The Week and a regular on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast. She worked at The Week magazine for a year and a half before taking up her current role with the digital team, where she mostly covers UK current affairs and politics. Before joining The Week, Sorcha worked at slow-news start-up Tortoise Media. She has also written for Sky News, The Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard and Grazia magazine, among other publications. She has a master’s in newspaper journalism from City, University of London, where she specialised in political journalism.