Boris Johnson: Who is wife Carrie Johnson, how many children do they have and her influence in Downing Street

The Covid Inquiry panel was told Carrie was "the real person in charge".
Boris Johnson's wife Carrie outside Downing Street. (Picture: Getty Images)Boris Johnson's wife Carrie outside Downing Street. (Picture: Getty Images)
Boris Johnson's wife Carrie outside Downing Street. (Picture: Getty Images)

WhatsApp messages shown to the Covid Inquiry have suggested that ex-prime minister Boris Johnson's wife was "the real person in charge" during the pandemic.

Exchanges between senior civil servant Simon Case and Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings showed comments about how discussions in Downing Street focused on "whatever Carrie cares about" with Number 10's dysfunction frequently rising to the surface.

Johnson's personal life, including his marriages, has typically found a way into the public spotlight. In 2021, he tied the knot for the third time, this time with Carrie Symonds, a political activist and former director of communications for the Conservative Party.

Born in 1988, Carrie is now 35 years old. After growing up in south west London, she went to the University of Warwick, studying art history and theatre studies.

The couple's love story began in 2018. Carrie, known for her environmental activism and dedication to animal welfare, soon moved into Downing Street, making her and Johnson the first unmarried couple to take up residence.

In July 2020, the couple welcomed their first child together, a son named Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. Wilfred's birth made history, as he became the first child born to a sitting British prime minister in almost 200 years. Since then, Carrie has been an advocate for environmental causes, often using her platform to raise awareness about climate change and wildlife conservation. In early 2021, Carrie was appointed the head of the UK-hosted COP26 climate summit's advisory board.

But in Downing Street, questions remained over her influence - particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Case, who was appointed in September 2020 having been permanent secretary in Number 10 before then, wrote that he was “not sure I can cope” in a WhatsApp message amid apparent frustration at how the pandemic was being handled in government.

Lee Cain, who was Mr Johnson’s director of communications until November 2020, replied: “Wtf are we talking about.” Mr Case, in an apparent reference to Mr Johnson’s then-partner and now wife, Carrie Johnson, replied: “Whatever Carrie cares about, I guess.”

Case wrote: “I was always told that Dom [Dominic Cummings] was the secret PM. How wrong they are. I look forward to telling select cttee tomorrow - ‘oh, f*** no, don’t worry about Dom, the real person in charge is Carrie’.”

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