Boris Johnson was in mourning last night after the death of his mother, the painter Charlotte Johnson Wahl, aged 79.
Ms Johnson Wahl died ‘suddenly and peacefully’ at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, on Monday. Her death was recorded in a notice placed by the family in the Times today.
Boris Johnson is said to have called his mother, a professional artist who painted stars such as Joanna Lumley, the ‘supreme authority’ in his family.
The Prime Minister also previously credited her with instilling in him ‘the equal value of every human life’.
But, despite raising two sons who became Conservative politicians, along with journalist Rachel and entrepreneur Leo, Mrs Johnson Wahl said she herself had grown up around ‘rich socialists’.
And in a candid 2015 interview with the Radio Times, she admitted that she had ‘never voted Tory’.
After news broke of Mrs Johnson Wahl’s death last night, messages of support flooded in for the Prime Minister, including from opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Writing in a Twitter post, the Labour leader said : ‘I’m very sorry to learn of the Prime Minister’s loss. My condolences to him and his family.’
Tory MP Andrew Rosindell also sent his regards, writing in Tweet: ‘Deeply sad to hear of the passing of the Prime Minister’s mother. My thoughts and prayers are with Boris Johnson at this sorrowful time.’
And Connor Burns, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Canada, also shared his condolences, writing in a Tweet: ‘So sad to hear of the death of Boris Johnson’s Mum.
‘Thoughts and prayers are with him and the whole of the Johnson clan.’
Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling added: ‘Thinking of Boris Johnson and his family this evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.’
Born Charlotte Fawcett in Oxford in 1942, Mrs Johnson-Wahl was the daughter of the barrister Sir James Fawcett – who was president of the European Commission for Human Rights in the 1970s.
One of five children, she studied English at Oxford University. But she interrupted her education to travel to America with Stanley Johnson, whom she met at Oxford and married in 1963.
Speaking about meeting Stanley, she told Tatler magazine in 2015: ‘I was engaged to somebody called Wynford Hicks, who was extraordinarily beautiful to look at but actually quite boring.
‘Anyway, [after the dinner] Stanley sent me a note asking if he could come to tea and go for a walk.
‘So a few days later we went for a walk and he suddenly said, ‘Love is sweet. Revenge is sweeter far. To the Piazza. Ah ha ha har!”, which made me laugh so much I fell in love with him.’