Who is Marina Wheeler?
Marina Wheeler is the estranged wife of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The two of them are separated and their divorce proceedings are going on. Marina is a lawyer by profession and she specialised in public law and human rights. The daughter of the renowned journalist and broadcaster Sir Charles Wheeler, Marina was born in Berlin and grew up all over the world, as her father’s job as BBC’s foreign correspondent required the family to move on a regular basis. During her time in Brussels, when she was studying at a European school, she met her future husband, Boris Johnson, for the first time. Before she became a member of the bar in 1987, Wheeler earned a Master’s Degree in EC law from Brussels University and worked there for four years. In the ensuing years, she has done a significant amount of work for the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, National Health Service, and Home Office. In 2016, she received her appointment to the post of Queen’s Counsel.
Childhood & Early Life
Marina Wheeler was born in 1964 in Berlin, Germany. Her father, Sir Charles Wheeler, began his service as a BBC foreign correspondent in 1947 and was affiliated with the organization until his death in 2008. He was the longest-serving foreign correspondent in the history of BBC. While he was stationed in Delhi, India as BBC’s South-east Asia correspondent, he met Marina’s mother, Dip Singh. They exchanged wedding vows in 1962. She was his second wife. Marina’s maternal ancestors lived in a town named Sargodha in West Punjab, modern-day Pakistan. They came to India following the partition of India. She has a sister named Shirin, who currently works as an EU spokeswoman.
In 1965, when she was about a year old, her father became the Washington correspondent, and the family moved to the United States. In 1973, he was appointed the European correspondent. Marina subsequently relocated there and enrolled at the European School of Brussels. She would often go to school wearing an “Impeach Nixon” batch and developed a friendship with a boy of her age, who had asked her the meaning of the word “impeach”. This boy was Boris Johnson. Their roads forked when Wheeler returned to England to attend Bedales, a private boarding school in Hampshire.
After graduating from there, she enrolled at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in the 1980s. During this period, she was a regular contributor to the student magazine Cantab. She later went back to Brussels and got a Master’s degree in EC law from Brussels University.
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Marina Wheeler spent four years working in Brussels, earning valuable experience by handling cased related to competition, trade, and environmental law. In 1987, she once more came back to the UK and was called to the bar. She set up her chambers in London at 1 Crown Office Row and started practising law from there.
In January 2004, she was selected to join the B-Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown and later was promoted to the A-Panel. She helmed large volumes of projects for the central government departments and agencies during this period, working closely with the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, and Home Office on issues involving prisons, mental health, armed conflict, radicalisation, and employment. She has done extensive work for local government on child protection and adult social care, generally with definitive privacy or human rights element. Her work for the NHS includes solving employment disputes and reconfiguring hospital services, encompassing the adequacy of consultation, alleged breaches of legitimate expectation, and the Public Sector Equality Duty.
Marina Wheeler obtained her qualification as a mediator in 2011 and serves as a part-time teacher of the mediation and alternative dispute resolution course at Regents University, London. In 2009, she became part of the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal as a barrister member. In February 2016, she was named the Queen’s Counsel.
She co-authored the non-fiction book ‘State Aids and Public Enterprises’, which was published in 1994. She also co-wrote ‘The Civil Practitionerʹs Guide to the Human Rights Act’ (1998).
Relationship With Boris Johnson
After their brief time together at the European School of Brussels, Marina Wheeler and Boris Johnson did not see each other for about 15 years. Their next meeting happened when they were in their mid-20s, in London. The couple tied the knot on May 8, 1993, and have four children together: Lara Lettice (born 1993), Milo Arthur (1995), Cassia Peaches (1997) and Theodore Apollo (1999).
Throughout their marriage, Johnson has been accused of infidelity multiple times, and some of these accusations were later proven true. After seven years of marriage, Wheeler came to know that Johnson was having an affair with journalist Petronella Wyatt. The tabloids claimed that Wyatt had an abortion in November 2004. In April 2006, the News of the World reported that Johnson was cheating on Wheeler with another journalist, Anna Fazackerley. Johnson had another extra-marital relationship with arts consultant Helen MacIntyre, who gave birth to their daughter in 2009.
Ironically, Marina Wheeler and Boris Johnson’s relationship began when he was still married to his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen. In September 2018, it was revealed to the media that they had separated “some time ago”, and the divorce proceeding had begun.