Philip May: The banker and husband of Theresa May, Britain's next Prime Minister

The couple were introduced to each other by the former prime minister of Pakistan at a Tory disco at Oxford University 

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 11 July 2016 17:22 BST
Who is Philip May?

In another day of high drama in Westminster, David Cameron confirmed that Theresa May, 59, will be the new Prime Minister by Wednesday evening. He said he was “delighted” that the Home Secretary and MP for Maidenhead would succeed him.

This means that from tomorrow onwards, Philip May will become Britain’s so-called "first husband". But who is the man behind the fiercely private, steely politician about to become the second ever female Prime Minister in British history?

They met at a Tory disco

Mr May was introduced to Mrs May by Benazir Bhutto, a contemporary who later went on to become prime minister of Pakistan and who was assassinated in 2007. The pair met at a Conservative Party disco while both studying at Oxford University.

They quickly bonded over a shared fondness of cricket. He was two years her junior and the toast of the debating chamber while studying modern history, according to accounts. They were married on 6 September 1980.

He is a successful banker

Mr May left university to embark on a successful career in the City. He was a fund manager at De Zoete & Bevan and Prudential Portfolio Managers UK and later Deutsche Asset Management UK. Since 2005, he has worked as a Relationship Manager at Capital Group.

Theresa May: Profile of the UK's next Prime Minister

Their neighbours are George Clooney and Jimmy Page

The pair live in Sonning-on-Thames, a village and civil parish in Berkshire where Mrs May is the local MP. Notable residents in the area include George and Amal Clooney, Uri Geller, and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

He is Mrs May’s “rock”

Mr May was a constant, supportive presence after his wife's parents died and left her as an orphan in her mid-twenties. Her father Reverend Hubert Brasier died in a car crash and her mother died from multiple sclerosis just a year later.

Mrs May has rarely talked about what happened to her but she did open up about her husband’s “huge support” during an episode of Desert Island Discs. “That was very important for me. He was a real rock for me,” she said.

Alicia Collinson, a close friend at Oxford, who learned of the crash a good few years later, said: “It was dreadful... Theresa had Philip and Philip saw her through that. He was and remains her rock.”

He is a “just a regular, nice guy”

A friend described Mr May as a "regular", intelligent man who knows Mrs May better than anyone.

“Philip is really lovely,” a friend told The Guardian. “He's just a regular, nice guy who's bright like she is. They still totally love each other and have a great friendship. He is good for her because he's aware she's Home Secretary but she's still just Theresa to him. They are not one of those couples where one of them is a big name and the other one quite likes it [the reflected glory]. That would never even come into his mind… When they're together, they seem younger.”

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