Lady Hale, president of the UK Supreme Court, unleashed an earthquake in British politics Tuesday – becoming a social media sensation in the process.
In a staggering verdict, Lady Hale announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to prorogue, or suspend, Britain’s parliament was unlawful. The Supreme Court ruled that as a result that suspension – for five weeks in the run-up to the Brexit deadline of October 31 – was null and void.
However it wasn’t just keen political watchers who were glued to footage of the 74-year-old, as social media users had their curiosity piqued by her eloquent address and a distinctive spider brooch.
Lady Hale was also labeled “the Beyonce of the legal profession,” with some posting clips from the singer’s song “Hold Up.”
Others invented thrilling back stories for the UK’s newest legal celebrity.
“Lady Hale looks like the kind of sweet old lady who’d make you tea and offer you a biscuit and then sits down to tell you about all her assassination missions she did for the resistance during the war in occupied France” wrote @EwaSR on Twitter.
Before long, garment printing firm Balcony Shirts was offering a T-shirt with an embroidered spider in Lady Hale-style, while Twitter user Ed Brody pointed out that this is not the first spectacular brooch she has worn.
After delivering such an important verdict it would be no surprise if Lady Hale were in need of a breather, and BBC journalist Emily Maitlis could picture her in a pose made famous by Emmy Award-winning Phoebe Waller-Bridge, star of TV series “Fleabag.”
“Now imagining Lady Hale slumped happily in the fleabag pose,” tweeted Maitlis.
“Fag, martini and ball dress.”
While she may have shot to fame following a stunning intervention in UK politics, Lady Hale is a fascinating character for many reasons.
Born in Leeds, northern England, in 1945, Lady Hale attended a state school before studying law at the University of Cambridge.
She then worked in academia, lecturing in law at the University of Manchester from 1966-84 while also qualifying as a barrister.
In 1984 she joined the Law Commission, a statutory body overseeing the law in England and Wales. She went on to be named a High Court judge in 1994, becoming the first person to hold the position from a background as an academic and public servant.
Her trailblazing career reached new heights in 2009, when Lady Hale became the first woman justice of the Supreme Court.
Lady Hale is not the only public figure to boast an impressive collection of brooches.
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright used the adornments to express her moods, and more than 200 of her brooches were displayed as part of an exhibition at the Smithsonian Castle in 2010.