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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 15:52 GMT
Profile: Samantha Cameron
By Jackie Storer
BBC News political reporter

Samantha Cameron, wife of new Tory leader David, was widely said by the newspapers to have brought some much-needed "glamour" to the 2005 annual party conference in Blackpool.

David and Samantha Cameron
A tap on the tummy sent Tory hearts aflutter
At 34 she was not only younger than the other contenders' consorts, but also appeared self-assured as she posed, in elegant yet casual clothes, on the stage by her husband's side.

He had just delivered a note-free speech which many observers believe led him on the road to leadership victory.

His gentle pat of her then pregnant stomach brought a warm glow to a party faithful desperate for that touch of pizzazz which would reverse Tory fortunes and make them electable again.

Unlike some political wives Mrs Cameron has a career of her own, as a director of Bond Street stationery firm Smythson.

She also boasts some interesting street cred. Press attention has focused on her friendship with hip hop star "Tricky" during her days at university in Bristol - and the fact her ankle is adorned with a dolphin tattoo.

Ancestral home

She was a teenager when she was introduced to David Cameron by her best friend Clare, his younger sister.

The couple dated while she was an arts student and married in 1996. Three years ago their first child, Ivan, was born severely disabled and needs round-the-clock care.
Samantha Cameron leaving her London home
Samantha is thought to be related to Nell Gwyn, Charles II's mistress

The Camerons went on to have a daughter Nancy, two, and a third child, a boy, on 14 February, 2006.

The family divides its time between homes in North Kensington and Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire.

Newspaper diarists picked up on her apparent comment during the party conference that she was brought up near Scunthorpe - and enjoyed pointing out that that rather understated the fact it was actually on her father Sir Reginald Sheffield's 300-acre Normanby Hall estate, which has been in the family since 1590.

Ancestors of the Old Etonian Lincolnshire landowner are said to include a Speaker of the House of Commons during the reign of Henry VIII.

Her mother is Annabel Jones, who owned the Beauchamp Place jewellery shop. She is now managing director of Oka interior design and lighting shops. Mrs Cameron's parents split up after five years of marriage and her mother wed again to Old Etonian, Viscount Astor, a minister in John Major's government.

Comparing consorts

Research on Mrs Cameron's family tree by Cracroft's Peerage suggests that Nell Gwyn, the mistress of Charles II, is her great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother.

Unlike Cherie Blair, the prime minister's wife, Mrs Cameron appears to have no obvious political ambitions.

Mrs Blair has always been an active supporter of the Labour Party and fought and lost the no-hope seat of Thanet North in Kent at the 1983 general election.

She is also a high profile QC and part-time judge and has been accused of "cashing in" on her position as prime minister's wife with lectures on life inside Downing Street.

Unlike in the US where the president's wife is known as the "First Lady", there is no official role for the spouse of a UK prime minister.


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