Philip May: Who is the man married to Britain's new Prime Minister?

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May, outside 10 Downing Street in London on July 13, 2016.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May, outside 10 Downing Street in London on July 13, 2016.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Over the past few weeks, much has been discussed about Britain's new incoming prime minister, Mrs Theresa May.

The new Conservative Party leader has been described as ambitious and shrewd, and appears to have her eyes set on making history as she promises to lead Britain out of the European Union.

However, not much is known about her husband, Mr Philip May, 57.

As Mrs May, 59, takes over the reigns as the second female prime minister in Britain's history, Mr May will be Britain's second "First Husband".

But who is the man behind the quiet exterior?

Here are some things to know about the "nice and quiet" guy.

A man of high achievements


A group of graduates gather outside the Sheldonian Theatre after a graduation ceremony at Oxford University, on May 28, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

He was born in Norfolk in 1959 and had grown up on Merseyside. His mother was a French teacher, while his father was a shoe wholesaler.

He attended Grammar School before moving on to Oxford University to study history, later graduating with a master's in modern history.

The couple were university sweethearts

The pair had met at Oxford University in 1976.

 

She was studying geography in St Hugh's College while he was enrolled in Lincoln College to study history.

They were first introduced during a Conservative Association disco by the late Benazir Bhutto, who was also a student at Oxford. Ms Bhutto, whose father was the prime minister of Pakistan at the time, would also later go on to serve as Pakistani Prime Minister twice in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Mr May became president of the Oxford Union in 1979, which is known for being the birthplace of the careers of many prominent politicians.

It has been reported that the couple bonded over their shared love for cricket.

They married in 1980.

Their marriage has a strong foundation

Mrs May has described her husband as her rock.

She had shared in an episode of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs that he had been a "huge support" to her when both her parents died.

Her father was killed in a car crash while her mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, died a few months after.

In a recent interview, the incoming prime minister opened up about the sadness she and her husband experienced over not being able to have children.

She stated that though they were "affected" by it, they have learnt to cope with the reality of their situation.

A friend of the couple told The Guardian that they "still totally love each other and have a great friendship".

Early ambitions


Mrs Theresa May (left) and her husband Philip May, outside 10 Downing Street in London, on July 13, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

As a young man, Mr May had also set his ambitions towards building an illustrious political career.

This can be seen from his presidential stint at the Oxford Union, where he met Mrs May.

However, it appears that he has abandoned his early ambitions in order to focus his energy on supporting his wife's ascent to the top.

When asked about whether his wife would make a good prime minister, he replied: "She would be excellent, she always stays calm."

A man of matched achievements

Despite forgoing his political aspirations, he has been no less ambitious.

He has built a successful career in finance after having worked in the field for 40 years.

In the past, he had worked as a fund manager at de Zoete & Bevan, Prudential and Deutsche Asset Management.

He is currently a relationship manager for Capital Group.

In 1999, his reputation in the financial sector had been prominent enough for him to be featured in The Times giving his predictions for what he believed the financial markets would do in the following year.

A budding fashion icon

As with many presidential counterparts that have come before him, Mr May's personal sense of style has been under scrutiny by style critics and netizens alike.

Many have pointed out his penchant for red ties, and his willingness to match the colour of his outfits to that of his wife's.

A man of quiet confidence


Mr Philip May stands in Downing Street in London, on July 13, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Ultimately, Mr May has been described by both friends and colleagues as a nice and quiet guy who often keeps to himself.

He appears to be one that shies away from the limelight.

His colleagues have also spoken of his great integrity as he is not one to ever trade off his wife's name.

As Theresa steps up to the plate to steer Britain through this tumultuous period, Philip's calm and stable disposition will play an important role to anchor not just Theresa, but Britain as well.

Sources: BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Marie Claire