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UK’s Johnson weds in ‘secret ceremony’

LONDON: A handout picture shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson in the garden of 10 Downing Street, London after their wedding on Saturday. – AFP

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson married his fiancée Carrie Symonds in a “secret ceremony” on Saturday, UK media reports said. Known for his colorful love life, 56-year-old Johnson wed Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral in front of close friends and family, the Mail yesterday and The Sun newspapers reported. He is only the second British prime minister to marry while in office, and the first in nearly two centuries with Robert Jenkinson the last in 1822.

The nuptials are a surprise development, after reports earlier this week said the couple had sent out “save the date” cards for a wedding on July 30 next year. However, they have been waiting months to tie the knot after their original plans to marry last year were delayed by the pandemic. The pair got engaged in December, 2019, and have a one-year-old baby son, Wilfred.

Around 30 guests attended Saturday’s service-the maximum currently allowed under coronavirus rules-in central London, after being invited at the last minute, according to the Mail yesterday. A small number of church officials were involved and Downing Street aides were not informed, sources told the paper. However, The Sun tabloid said the couple had been planning the “cloak and danger operation” for a secret ceremony for up to six months.

Third marriage
Symonds arrived at the lunchtime nuptials in a limousine and wore “a stunning long and flowing white dress” but chose not to wear a veil, it added. There were no descriptions of Johnson’s attire, with the mop-haired British leader infamous for his often disheveled appearance. The same priest who baptized the couple’s son officiated the wedding, and Wilfred was also in attendance, according to The Sun. Johnson, who has faced several bruising days of scrutiny after his former top aide Dominic Cummings lambasted his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in front of a parliamentary committee Wednesday, has been married twice before.

He had four children with his previous wife, lawyer Marina Wheeler, before they split in 2018. The couple only finalized their divorce last November. Johnson also reportedly has a daughter born as the result of an affair. When elected in 2019, he became the first prime minister to live at Downing Street as part of an unmarried couple. Symonds, a former head of communications for the Conservative Party, gave birth to their son just weeks after Johnson left intensive care as he recovered from a severe case of coronavirus.

The couple have been in the spotlight in recent weeks amid a scandal over the costly redecoration of their Downing Street flat, which is being probed by watchdogs over allegations that contributions by a Tory party donor were not declared fully. Johnson’s new ethics advisor concluded Friday that he had acted “unwisely” over the flat funding arrangements, but was not guilty of any impropriety. – AFP


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