Keir victoria starmer
Britain's incoming Prime Minister Keir Starmer and leader of the Labour Party, and his wife Victoria wave as they pose on the steps of 10 Downing Street in London on July 5, 2024, a day after Britain held a general election. Image Credit: AFP

London: Victoria Starmer, whose husband Keir is the new UK prime minister, works in the public health service, is hardly photographed and has kept a low profile on the campaign trail.

But in the coming days, many Britons will begin to recognise the face of the elegant 50-year-old brunette who has been married to the head of the Labour government for more than 15 years.

Since Keir Starmer became Labour leader in 2020 and during the election campaign, Victoria Starmer has not given an interview and has only rarely partaken in politics.

Her public appearances are few and far between: at the polling station on election days, in the stands at the Wimbledon tennis tournament and Taylor Swift’s London concert, or at Buckingham Palace for state dinners and receptions.

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A rare exception was when she joined her husband on the stage at the party’s annual conference in 2023, donning a red dress in Labour’s colours.

Even with the move into Downing Street, the former lawyer intends to continue as an occupational health worker in the NHS.

Former lawyer

Victoria Alexander was raised in north London. Her father is a former accountant from a Polish-Jewish background and her mother was a community doctor.

She studied law at Cardiff University in Wales where she was head of the student union.

She also volunteered in Labour’s campaign headquarters under Tony Blair before becoming a solicitor in a law firm.

After that, she joined the NHS.

The new prime minister has recounted their first encounter several times, meeting back when they were both working on a court case in the early 2000s.

He called her up to ask if all the documents she prepared were accurate.

Soon after, he asked her on a date to a pub in Camden in north London.

The couple married in 2007 and have two children - a 16-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter whom Starmer never mentions by name in public to protect their privacy.

They live in Kentish Town, in his north London constituency.

‘Down to earth’

While the prime minister says he is not religious, his wife has passed on Jewish traditions to their children, including going to the synagogue and Friday night dinners.

Always ready with a compliment for “Vic”, as he refers to her, Keir Starmer told Vogue magazine that his wife was “very sassy, very down to earth”.

In another interview, he said her current job gave him a “direct line of sight on a daily basis into the challenges of the NHS and the morale of the staff”.

A family friend once said Victoria complemented her husband and was “literally the yin to his yang”.

Seen by many Labour advisors as an asset to her husband, she has nevertheless kept a safe distance from the media during the election campaign.

Keir Starmer insisted that she wished to focus on their son, who was taking his school-leaving exams this year.

But she could not stop the press mentioning her testimony in court last month in a case where three pro-Palestinian activists went on trial for protesting outside the family home against Labour’s stance on Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

“I felt a bit sick, to be perfectly honest. I felt apprehensive and uncomfortable”, she said.

In Downing Street, the Starmers intend to be “fiercely protective” of their children from the media spotlight to come, the Labour leader has said.