She was educated at independent Cheltenham Ladies College and the College of Law.
Cheryl Gillan is one of the Conservative Party's senior female MPs.
Politically, she is regarded as being on the moderate right, and a mild Eurosceptic.
She served under John Major as junior minister in the Department for Education and Employment and was subsequently a Conservative spokesperson on trade and industry, foreign affairs and home affairs.
On becoming an MP she completed a parliamentary fellowship with the RAF and regards this experience, together with her family background, as giving her a special perspective on the future of the armed services in Wales.
A former shadow minister for constitutional and legal affairs, she also takes great interest in prisons and the legal system.
Mrs Gillan described herself as a keen supporter of the arts and sport.
Her interests include golf, music, gardening, animals and she has been Secretary of the parliamentary cricket team.
She sings with the parliamentary choir and is a fan of both Welsh male voice choirs and Gilbert and Sullivan.
Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan says she will be 'a strong voice for Wales' in the cabinet.
Mrs Gillan was one of the Conservatives named by the Daily Telegraph in the controversy over MP's expenses last year.
She repayed over £1,184 following a review of MPs expenses by Sir Thomas Legg.
She apologised and promised to pay back £4.47 claimed for dog food as part of her parliamentary expenses.
Mrs Gillan said the dog food claim was mistakenly submitted and that both of her dogs had since died.
One of Mrs Gillan's previous dogs, Tizzy, was a 1996 winner of the Westminster Dog of the Year competition.
In 1997, Mrs Gillan made headlines when she chased a mugger who opened the passenger door of her Land Rover Discovery and snatched her handbag, containing her House of Commons pass.
Cheryl Gillan (sixth from the left) at David Cameron's first cabinet meeting on Thursday
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