Tuesday. 30.05.2023

British PM Boris Johnson marries Carrie Symonds in secret ceremony

The pair will have a larger celebration in 2022, at a time when coronavirus restrictions are likely to have been relaxed.
HANDOUT - 29 May 2021, United Kingdom, London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Carrie Johnson in the garden of 10 Downing Street after their wedding. Photo: Rebecca Fulton/Downing Street via PA Media/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Carrie Johnson in the garden after their wedding. Photo: Rebecca Fulton/Downing Street/dpa.

Newlyweds Boris and Carrie Johnson have been congratulated by MPs and ministers following their low-key marriage.

The prime minister married his fiancee Carrie Symonds in a private ceremony at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday but Downing Street refused to confirm the fact until Sunday morning.

The pair will have a larger celebration in 2022, at a time when coronavirus restrictions are likely to have been relaxed.

A small group of family and friends attended the wedding, organised in strict secrecy, which was followed by a reception in the gardens of 10 Downing Street.

A No 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister and Ms Symonds were married yesterday afternoon in a small ceremony at Westminster Cathedral.

"The couple will celebrate their wedding with family and friends next summer."

They are said to have sent save-the-date cards to family and friends for the celebration on 30 July 2022.

It is understood Ms Symonds will take her husband's surname and be known as Carrie Johnson.

A picture issued by No 10 of the couple in Downing Street's garden after the wedding saw them gazing at each other with Mrs Johnson wearing a long white dress and a floral headband and the Prime Minister a dark suit and blue tie, with a white flower in his buttonhole.

Mrs Johnson's gown was reportedly a 2,870-pound (4,072-dollar) Costarellos creation - although the Telegraph reported she may have hired it for 45 pounds a day.

Johnson's third marriage

The couple announced their engagement, together with the news that they were expecting their first child, in February last year.

Their son, Wilfred, was born in April 2020.

It is Mr Johnson's third marriage, having finalised his divorce from his second wife, Marina Wheeler, in 2020.

The wedding ceremony at the Catholic cathedral was carried out by Father Daniel Humphreys, who had given the couple pre-marriage instructions, and baptised Wilfred last year, The Sun newspaper reported.

Shortly after 1.30 pm, the cathedral was suddenly cleared of visitors, with staff saying it was going into lockdown, the newspaper said.

Half an hour later, a limousine carrying the bride swept into the piazza outside the main west door.

The ceremony meant Mr Johnson became the first prime minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822.

Despite his history, Mr Johnson may never have been previously married in the eyes of the Catholic church, clearing the way for the cathedral ceremony.

As neither his six-year first marriage to Allegra Mostyn-Owen, nor his second 27-year marriage to Ms Wheeler were Catholic ceremonies, they may have been considered invalid.

Matt Chinery, an ecclesiastical and canon lawyer, told Times Radio on Sunday: "There is a requirement if you are a Roman Catholic that you must have your wedding overseen by a Roman Catholic priest or deacon."

He explained that any other form of marriage "is not valid unless you had previous permission from your bishop to marry outside of the Catholic church."

Baptised as a Catholic

Mr Johnson was baptised as a Catholic, but was confirmed as an Anglican as a teenager, while his new bride is Catholic.

On Saturday, Mr Johnson's father, Stanley, was spotted in Downing Street after the ceremony, while guests and musicians were seen leaving No 10 following the reception.

A picture posted on Twitter by Foreign Office minister James Cleverly showed a barefooted Mrs Johnson with her new husband who had discarded his jacket and tie.

Decorations were hanging from trees and a drinks table had been fashioned from bales of straw.

Tory MPs and ministers posted messages to the couple on social media.

Cop26 President Alok Sharma sent "love, hugs and all best wishes."

Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said the new Mrs Johnson "looks adorable," while Health Secretary Matt Hancock offered the couple "best wishes on a happy future together."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak described the couple as his "friends and neighbours" in his message.

Weddings restricted

Weddings in England are currently subject to strict coronavirus restrictions with ceremonies permitted for up to 30 people in Covid-secure venues.

The big day followed a difficult week for the prime minister in which his former aide Dominic Cummings branded him unfit for office.

Labour former frontbencher, Jon Trickett, said the wedding was "a good way to bury this week's bad news" on Mr Cummings' testimony, the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant and the row about funding of the Downing Street flat.

Fellow Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi suggested the "emergency marriage plan" was an attempt to "deflect from negative press" from Mr Cummings.

She tweeted: "They know he won't be able to plan one in Chequers cos he won't be PM next year..."

Worshippers attending mass at the cathedral on Sunday welcomed the news, despite the Prime Minister's colourful personal history.

Christopher Goodyear, a witness protection officer in the Metropolitan Police homicide division, said: "He's now married in the Catholic church so he can't get married again - if he does then that invalidates everything.

"So let's hope he keeps his trousers on and behaves himself."

British PM Boris Johnson marries Carrie Symonds in secret ceremony