When bright, ambitious PR executive Sarah Macaulay took a flight to a Labour Party conference in 1994, she had no idea how it would change her life. Next to her sat future British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the man who six years later would become her husband.
Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
Sarah Brown was born Sarah Macaulay in Buckinghamshire on October 31, 1963, to school teacher mum Pauline and father Iain, who worked for the Longman publishing company.
Sarah spent most of her childhood in Tanzania until her parents separated when she was seven. She moved to north London where she lived with her mother, brothers and stepfather.
After leaving Bristol University with a degree in psychology, she spent some time working in brand consultancy for Wolff Olins. By age 30, she had teamed up with friend Julia Hobsbawn to found the Hobsbawn Macaulay Communications public relations firm.
Sarah first met her husband Gordon Brown at a Labour Party event her firm was organising, but it wasn’t until she sat next to him on a flight from London to the Scottish Labour Party conference that they got the chance to talk. The short flight proved enough time for the two to hit it off and they soon began to date.
Their relationship remained secret for some time, with the couple enjoying romantic evenings at private members club Soho House in London.
However, a surprise wedding in 2000 at Gordon’s home in North Queensberry, Fife, made it official.
Sarah gave up her PR business in 2001 when she became pregnant with the couple’s first child. She gave birth prematurely to daughter Jennifer Jane on December 28, 2001, who sadly died 10 days later.
On October 17, 2003, she gave birth to her second child, John, and on July 17, 2006, she became mother to James Fraser. Four months later baby James was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
The new Mrs Sarah Brown at first seemed like the typical political consort. But she has gradually revealed herself to be one of the Labour Party’s biggest assets, especially since her husband became prime minister on June 27, 2007.
Though she likes to stay out of the limelight, preferring to devote time to her family, Britain’s First Lady has put her PR background to good use. Not only is she credited with sprucing up her husband’s image, but she’s also promoted a range of charity projects.
She is president and founder of PiggyBankKids, which raises money for research into pregnancy complications and supports a range of charitable projects for children and young people. She is also patron of the charities SHINE, an innovative educational organisation; Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre; and Women’s Aid, which works to keep women and children safe.
A sought-after speaker and party guest, Sarah is also the most popular UK user of Twitter, with almost 1,000,000 followers.
She has been spotted spending time with Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton and her charity events have attracted famous designers like Marc Jacobs and creative directors from Louis Vuitton.
Now one of the most influential women in British politics, mother-of-two Sarah is also close friends with writer JK Rowling. In 2002 she and the Harry Potter author wrote the introduction and foreword for a short story collection published to raise money for the One Parent Families charity.