Philip May

Sir Philip John May (born 1957) is a British investment manager and Conservative Party supporter who worked for Capital Group as an investment relationship manager. He is married to Theresa May, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Philip May
May in 2019
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In role
13 July 2016  24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded bySamantha Cameron
Succeeded byMarina Wheeler[lower-alpha 1]
Personal details
Philip John May

1957 (age 6364)
Norwich, England
Political partyConservative
(m. 1980)
ResidenceSonning, Berkshire, England
EducationCalday Grange Grammar School
Alma materLincoln College, Oxford
Insignia of a Knight Bachelor

Early life

May was born in Norwich in 1957.[1] His father was a sales representative for a shoe wholesaler, while his mother taught French.[2] He grew up on the Wirral, attending school in Heswall and then Calday Grange Grammar School in West Kirby.[3][4] May studied history at Lincoln College, Oxford,[5] and was elected President of the Oxford Union in 1979. He succeeded future Conservative MP Sir Alan Duncan in the role before handing over the baton to journalist Michael Crick.[6]

Financial career

May has worked in finance since graduating from Oxford University. In 2005, he joined the financial group Capital Group as a relationship manager; he had previously been a fund manager for de Zoete & Bevan, Prudential Portfolio Managers and Deutsche Asset Management.[5][7] His former LinkedIn profile listed his focuses in work as pension fund and insurance relationship management.[8][9]

In regards to his persona, one of his colleagues told The Guardian that "around the office, he is a fairly head-down type of guy. There is a stereotypical investment manager with a big ego – he's not like that at all."[10]

After his wife Theresa May[11] emerged as the remaining candidate for the Conservative Party leadership, May's employer issued a statement saying his current job does not make him responsible for investment decisions: "[May] is not involved with, and doesn't manage, money and is not a portfolio manager. His job is to ensure the clients are happy with the service and that we understand their goals."[12]

Involvement in politics

May (right) by his wife's side after her being returned as PM at the 2017 general election
May (left) and PM Theresa May with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in 2019

May briefly served as chairman of the Conservative Party Wimbledon constituency association before reportedly deciding to concentrate on a career in finance.[4] Nonetheless he remained consistently active and enthusiastic as a Tory supporter, and often described as an "experienced Conservative activist".[13] He was named in the Panama Papers in 2016.[14]

May did not attend meetings to advise the Prime Minister in any official capacity but was referred to by some as the Prime Minister's 'most trusted adviser',[1][15] following her consultation with him over calling the snap general election in 2017 and her 2016 Conservative Party Conference speech.[16] He helped to canvass voters ahead of the 2017 Copeland by-election and supports his wife in her Maidenhead constituency affairs.[17]

May made his first official visit as the British PM's consort to the G20 summit in July 2017 at Hamburg, Germany. During the visit, he attended gala concerts and took boat trips with the spouses of other world leaders.[16]

On 27 January 2019, The Sunday Times reported Theresa May's chief of staff Lord Barwell broke ranks to accuse Philip May of "scuppering" plans to offer the Labour Party a permanent customs union with the EU to try to push the withdrawal agreement through parliament. May is said to have encouraged his wife to seek changes to the deal by removing the Irish backstop, in order for it to be approved by parliament with the support of the DUP and Brexiteer MPs.[18]

In July 2020, he was knighted for political service in Boris Johnson's belated (2019) Dissolution Honours.[19]

Personal life

May and his future wife, then Theresa Brasier, met as undergraduates at Oxford, being introduced by Benazir Bhutto at a Conservative Party student event.[20] They further bonded over a shared love of cricket, and were married on 6 September 1980 by Theresa's father, the Rev Hubert Brasier.[21][22]

As the spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, May avoided giving interviews or making public statements but did accompany his wife for a joint interview on the BBC One programme The One Show prior to the 2017 general election.[17] During this interview, Theresa May admitted her sadness, for health reasons, she and Philip have not been able to have children, saying: "You look at families all the time and you see there is something there that you don't have".[22][23] Also in the interview, May said: "I get to decide when I take the bins out. Not if I take them out", and commented, "I do the traditional boy jobs by and large."[1][24] Asked about the downside to being married to the Prime Minister, May insisted it was a privilege, saying: "If you're the kind of man who expects his tea to be on the table at six o'clock every evening, you could be a disappointed man."[25]


Coat of arms of Sir Philip May
Son of Robert John May, who was granted Arms, Crest and Badge by Letters Patent of Garter and Norroy and Ulster dated 10 October 1997 [26]
Per fess vert and or three pallets between four roundels in bend counter-changed.[27]
To thyself be true


  1. Boris Johnson, although separated with Wheeler upon taking office, was still legally married to her until their divorce was finalised on an unknown date in 2020; therefore, she was a spouse of the prime minister.


  1. Becket, Adam (21 November 2017). "Who is Philip May? Theresa May's husband and closest advisor". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  2. "Profile: Theresa May's husband: Philip". BBC News. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  3. "Philip May: the Prime Minister's closest political adviser". New Statesman. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  4. "Philip May: The banker husband and Theresa's 'real rock'". ITV News. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  5. Wyatt, Daisy (3 July 2016). "Who is Theresa May's husband?". I (newspaper). Archived from the original on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  6. Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Presidents of the Union since 1900". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. pp. 527–532. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  7. Goodley, Simon. "Philip May: the reserved City fixture and husband happy to take a back seat". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  8. Levine, Daniel. "Philip John May, Theresa May's Husband: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  9. Makortoff. "Who is Britain's new 'first husband'?". CNBC. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  10. "Philip May: five facts about the prime minister's husband". The Week UK. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  11. Day, Elizabeth. "Theresa May – what lies beyond the public image?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 July 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  12. "Theresa May used 'well-established' blind trust mechanism". BBC. 11 January 2017. Archived from the original on 28 May 2017.
  13. "Philip May: Tory activist, City insider . . . and Europhile?". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018.
  14. "May told to prove she has 'nothing to hide' after 10,000 sign petition to declare offshore interests". Archived from the original on 1 January 2018.
  15. Blackburn, Virginia (13 July 2016). "Meet the close-knit team of trusted advisors who will guide Theresa May as PM". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  16. "Mr. May makes global debut". POLITICO. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  17. Esther Addley (9 May 2017). "Philip May: the prime minister's husband steps out of the shadows". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 May 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  18. "MPs' next recess could be cancelled as PM dealt another backstop blow". Evening Standard. 27 January 2019.
  19. "Dissolution Peerages and Honours 2019" (PDF). 31 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  20. Mendick, Robert (9 July 2016). "The Oxford romance that has guided Theresa May from tragedy to triumph". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  21. Orr, Deborah (14 December 2009). "Theresa May: David Cameron's lady in waiting". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  22. "I was probably goody two-shoes: Theresa May interviewed". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  23. "Philip May (LinkedIn page)". LinkedIn. Retrieved 3 July 2016.[dead link]
  24. Hulme, Susan (9 May 2017). "The Mays on love, shoes, and who takes the bins out". BBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  25. Deacon, Michael (9 May 2017). "Theresa and Philip May on The One Show: sweet, but screamingly dull". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  26. "July 2016 Newsletter". College of Arms. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  27. dickson, Annabelle. "It turns out Prime Minister Theresa May has Norwich City Football Club affiliations". Eastern Daily Press.
Unofficial roles
Preceded by
Samantha Cameron
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Marina Wheeler
De jure