Sarah Brown (wife of Gordon Brown)

Sarah Brown (wife of Gordon Brown)
Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown in 2008
Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
In office
27 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Cherie Blair
Succeeded by Samantha Cameron
Personal details
Born Sarah Macaulay
31 October 1963 (1963-10-31) (age 48)
Beaconsfield, Bucks, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Gordon Brown
(m. 2000–present)
Children Jennifer Jane (b.2001-d.2002)
John (born 2003)
James Fraser (born 2006)
Residence North Queensferry (private)
Alma mater University of Bristol

Sarah Brown (née Macaulay; born 31 October 1963) is the wife of Gordon Brown, a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She is also the founding partner of Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, a public relations company.


Early life

Brown was born Sarah Macaulay in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire,[1] on 31 October 1963[2] to a middle-class family: her mother Pauline was a teacher and her Scottish father Iain[2] (who died in Ireland in 2007)[3] worked for publisher Longman. Brown spent her early childhood in Fife,[4] before moving to Tanzania. When she was eight, her parents separated, both remarried, and she with her two younger brothers, Sean and Bruce,[3] went to live with their mother and stepfather in North London.[5]

She was educated in North London at Acland Burghley School and Camden School for Girls, and went on to take a psychology degree at the University of Bristol.[6]


After leaving university, she worked at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. When she was 30, she went into partnership with her old school friend Julia Hobsbawm, starting the Hobsbawm Macaulay public relations firm together. The firm landed contracts with the New Statesman, owned by Geoffrey Robinson.[6] The firm has also won contracts with the British Council, a UK government-funded body, which led to allegations from the Conservative Party that these contracts ought to have been disclosed by Gordon Brown. No action was taken by the Government in respect of this alleged breach of the Ministerial Code.[7]

Marriage and children

She first met Gordon Brown briefly at a Labour event, but they did not speak at length until 1994 when they shared a flight from London to Scotland for the Scottish Labour Party conference. After this meeting the two began dating.[8]

The relationship was kept secret until 1997, when the News of the World published a picture of them together in a restaurant in London.[9] Allegedly, the scene was staged by spin doctor Charlie Whelan and had to be reshot when Brown failed to look suitably loving.[6]

They were married on 3 August 2000 in Brown's home town, North Queensferry, Fife.[10]

In 2001, she left Hobsbawm Macaulay after finding out she was pregnant with her first child.[11] On 28 December 2001 she gave birth prematurely to a daughter, Jennifer Jane, who died when she was only 10 days old.[12][13] In 2002 she founded charity Piggy Bank Kids, which began as a research fund to tackle complications in pregnancy, and has now expanded into a range of projects helping disadvantaged children. Gordon Brown has spoken of Sarah's bravery after the death of their daughter.[14]

On 17 October 2003 she gave birth to her second child, a boy, John[15] and then on 17 July 2006 she had another boy, James Fraser.[16] In November of that year, James Fraser was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.[17]

Brown listening to her husband's speech at the Diversity Reception, Labour conference, 2009

She is the patron of domestic violence charity Women's Aid and of Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre, set up in memory of a breast cancer victim, among others.[18] Brown is also a close friend of writer J.K. Rowling (who donated £1 million to the Labour Party in 2008),[19] and the two co-authored a children's book for the One Parent Families charity organization.[20]


Friends from the worlds of politics and media have included jounalist and television presenter Mariella Frostrup, Labour spin doctor Charlie Whelan,[21] Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi and his daughter Elisabeth, the television presenter Claudia Winkleman and newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks Brock Lesnar, Floyd Mayweather, Gary Oak, Lil Kim, DMX .[22]

Public perception

Brown is by and large favourably compared with Cherie Blair, the wife of her husband's predecessor. Cherie Blair was often portrayed as eccentric and outgoing by the media. Brown has been portrayed in contrast to this as a more reserved, though nonetheless amiable, figure.[23][24][25] The Guardian noted her public image, saying, "her positive profile could be the best thing Labour has got going for it with the election looming."[26] The 2010 general election saw no party command an overall majority, but the Conservatives (led by David Cameron) had the most seats, and ultimately formed a government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats on 11 May 2010 after Gordon Brown's attempts to keep Labour in power failed.

Brown, a member of the social networking site Twitter, has over a million members on Twitter following "SarahBrownUK", resulting in Jan Moir of the Daily Mail dubbing her "the high priestess of Twitter".[27]

Brown is scheduled to publish her biography through Ebury Press in 2011, under the working title "Behind the Black Door".[28]


  1. ^ Andy Beckett (2009-09-25). "Can Sarah Brown rescue Labour?". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  2. ^ a b Home. "Hello! profile". Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  3. ^ a b By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON Political Editor (2008-12-18). "PM's wife: My pain as parents split". Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Independent profile". London: 2007-06-03. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  5. ^ "Sarah Brown reveals trauma of her parents' split as she launches campaign to help broken Britain". London: 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  6. ^ a b c Gaby Hinsliff "Lady in waiting", The Observer, 2 October 2005, Retrieved on 30 March 2008
  7. ^ Gordon Brown is dragged into spat over funds Times Online, 9 March 2008
  8. ^ Gaby Hinsliff (3 December 2006). "Inside the world of Mrs Brown". The Observer (London:,,1962892,00.html. 
  9. ^ "Snapper grabs photo of Chancellor with woman!". The Independent ( 29 June 1997. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Gordon and Sarah wed at home". BBC News. 3 August 2000. 
  11. ^ "Chancellor's wife to quit full-time work". BBC News. 18 October 2001. 
  12. ^ "Chancellor becomes a father". BBC News. 28 December 2001. 
  13. ^ "Browns' baby dies in hospital". BBC News. 7 January 2002. 
  14. ^ Nicholas Watt (2010-02-12). "Gordon Brown opens his heart on his baby's death, Sarah's bravery, and Blair | Politics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  15. ^ "Browns celebrate baby boy". BBC News. 17 October 2003. 
  16. ^ "Brown names new baby James Fraser". BBC News. 18 July 2006. 
  17. ^ "Brown's son has cystic fibrosis". BBC News. 26 November 2006. 
  18. ^ Sarah Brown (11 November 2006). "Why I want you to get behind Maggie's". The Scotsman. 
  19. ^ Ben Leach (20 September 2008). "Harry Potter author JK Rowling gives £1 million to Labour". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  20. ^ "Gordon's women". London: The Guardian. 13 May 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Emma Griffiths (21 September 2008). "PM's wife is a hit on the fringe". BBC News. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  24. ^ Liz Hunt (30 July 2008). "What Sarah Brown could learn from Cherie Blair". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  25. ^ "Sarah Brown: The new 'first lady'". BBC News. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  26. ^ "The Reinvention of Sarah Brown". London: The Guardian. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2009. 
  27. ^ Jan Moir (7 April 2010). "War of the wives: How did Sarah Brown and SamCam compare in the fashion stakes?". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  28. ^ "Sarah Brown announces her book deal on Twitter". 13 June 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Cherie Blair
Spouse of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Samantha Cameron

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