Meet Britain’s new first lady

2010-05-12 10:37

Conservative Party leader and Britain’s new Prime Minister, David

Cameron’s wife Samantha combines aristocratic roots with a cool dress sense –

and is almost certainly the first British prime minister’s wife with a


Dubbed “Sam Cam” by the media, the photogenic 39-year-old put aside

her earlier reluctance to campaign with her husband and helped him in his bid to

take the main opposition party back to power after a 13-year absence.

Sporting a growing bump – she is five months pregnant with the

couple’s fourth child – Samantha was at her husband’s side when he made his

first speech as prime minister on Downing Street on Tuesday evening.

The couple’s clear delight at the pregnancy – which was revealed

before the campaign started – masked the heartbreak at the sudden death in

February last year of their first child, six-year-old Ivan, who had severe


David Cameron has admitted he nearly gave up politics after Ivan’s

death and the enormous strain on Samantha was clear from the handful of

photographs of the couple at the time.

They have two other children, six-year-old Nancy and Arthur,


Samantha combines motherhood with her role as creative director for

luxury goods brand Smythson, and has been credited with helping to modernise the

company’s once stuffy and traditional designs.

She says she has “no plans” to give up her job while her husband is

prime minister.

Samantha Gwendoline Sheffield was born on April 18, 1971, the

oldest daughter of Sir Reginald Sheffield, a wealthy landowner, and Annabel

Jones, who owned an upmarket jeweller’s.

Friends say she went out of her way to hide her aristocratic roots,

going on from the private Marlborough College to study fine art at Bristol

Polytechnic, now known as the University of the West of England.

There she mixed with a set far from her privileged background – she

regularly played pool with rap star Tricky, a former delinquent who has admitted

he and Samantha were “unlikely mates”.

Along the way, she acquired a small tattoo of a dolphin on her

right ankle.

Samantha was still a teenager when she was introduced to David

Cameron by her best friend Clare, his younger sister.

The couple dated while she was still a student but he gave her

early warning of his political ambitions.

Samantha said: “He was very upfront and said: ‘I want to be an MP

(Member of Parliament). If you think you would hate it, you have to say so.’ It

certainly wasn’t my natural inclination.”

Samantha was undeterred and the couple married in 1996, when David

was an advisor to then chancellor of the exchequer, Norman Lamont.

He became an MP in 2001 and Samantha is said to have played a major

role in persuading him to enter the leadership race after Michael Howard stepped

down in the wake of the Conservatives’ defeat to Tony Blair’s Labour in


Andrew Feldman, a friend of the Camerons, says Samantha acts as a

“good barometer” of the public’s taste for her husband.

Feldman said: “She has a good sense of what is important and what’s

not, but also of what’s important to other people. She may be from very grand

stock but she’s tremendously grounded.”

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