Carrie Johnson, the new wife of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has taken her first step onto the global stage as she welcomed United States President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden to Cornwall, southwest England.
Her debut as Britain’s “first lady” comes only two weeks after she and the Prime Minister, with whom she has a one-year-old son, married in a ceremony kept secret until after the event.
On Friday, the 33-year-old will take center stage as she and her husband welcome the remaining leaders of the Group of Seven nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan – and their partners to the G7 summit at Cornwall’s Carbis Bay Hotel.
The Bidens and Johnsons met on the seafront Thursday in Carbis Bay before the wives left to take tea together and the two leaders headed into a bilateral meeting.
As the two leaders posed for photos ahead of the talks, Biden noted that it was a pleasure to meet Johnson’s new wife and quipped that both he and Johnson had “married way above our station.”
Johnson replied: “I’m not going to dissent on that one, I’m not going to disagree with the President on that, or indeed on anything else. I think it highly likely.”
Carrie Johnson, nee Symonds, will not be the only spouse notching up her first G7 appearance as the summit gets under way Friday.
Jill Biden is also attending for the first time, as are Mariko Suga, wife of the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and Maria Serenella Cappello, wife of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Brigitte Macron, spouse of French President Emmanuel Macron, has a number of G7 summits under her belt already and helped host the leaders for their last face-to face meeting in Biarritz in 2019. Although she was Boris Johnson’s girlfriend at the time, Carrie did not attend.
Last year’s G7, due to have been hosted in the US by then-President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, was canceled because of the pandemic.
Carrie Johnson’s summit debut in Cornwall, coming so soon after the news of her wedding, has already prompted wide British media interest.
While The Telegraph focused on the opportunity for her to exercise some “soft power diplomacy,” The Guardian highlighted her “political nous” as a former director of communications at the ruling Conservative Party’s headquarters. There’s also been the inevitable interest in her G7 wardrobe, with some reports suggesting she will be flying the flag for rental fashion.
What Carrie wears in the traditional “family photo” taken as the summit begins Friday will no doubt come under close scrutiny, as will the program of entertainment she has devised for her fellow spouses while the summit sessions are under way.
All the leaders and their partners will attend a reception Friday evening with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, before sitting down to a dinner featuring turbot caught by Cornish fishermen and a selection of Cornish cheeses.
On Saturday evening, the Johnsons will welcome the leaders and their partners to a barbecue on the beach in Carbis Bay. The meal will be preceded by a fly-past by the Red Arrows and followed by a performance of sea shanties.
Carrie and Boris Johnson were married in a “small ceremony” on May 29 at Westminster Cathedral and will celebrate again with family and friends next summer, according to a Downing Street spokesman.
The marriage came just days after the couple were said to have sent save-the-date cards to family and friends for an event on July 30, 2022.
The two announced they were engaged to be married in February 2020. On April 29, 2020, Symonds gave birth to the couple’s first child, Wilfred. In the same month the Prime Minister was hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Later in 2020, she made her first joint television appearance with Johnson to thank NHS workers for treating him in hospital and delivering their baby.
Johnson, 56, has four children from his second marriage with Marina Wheeler. The two announced they were splitting after 25 years of marriage in September 2018, shortly after which Johnson’s relationship with Symonds was confirmed.
He was also previously married to Allegra Mostyn-Owen for six years.
CNN’s Sarah Dean and Luke McGee contributed to this report.