Rachel Johnson is a British editor, journalist, politician, and author. She is the sister of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Her father, Stanley Johnson, and her brother, Jo Johnson, are also politicians, while her other brother, Leo Johnson, is a strategist. Originally a Conservative, she joined the Liberal Democrats on the backdrop of the Brexit crisis, and later became the lead candidate for Change UK for the South West England constituency in the 2019 European Parliament election. She often appears on political discussion panels on 'Question Time' and 'The Pledge'. She was a participant in the twenty-first series of 'Celebrity Big Brother'. As a journalist, she worked with publications like 'Financial Times', 'BBC', 'The Daily Telegraph', 'The Sunday Times', 'The Evening Standard' and 'The Spectator'.
Childhood & Early Life
Rachel Sabiha Johnson was born on September 3, 1965 in Westminster, London, England to writer, environmentalist and former Conservative MEP Stanley Johnson, and painter Charlotte Johnson Wahl. She is the second child of her parents after Boris, and has two younger brothers named Leo and Jo.
She attended the schools Winsford First School on Exmoor, Primrose Hill Primary in Camden, European School of Brussels, independent Ashdown House School in East Sussex, Bryanston School in Dorset and St Paul's Girls' School. She completed her graduation in Classics (Literae Humaniores) with a 2:1 from New College, Oxford, where she edited the student paper 'Isis'.
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Rachel Johnson began her journalism career as the first female graduate trainee at the 'Financial Times' in 1989. During 1992-93, she spent a year on secondment to the Foreign Office Policy Planning Staff.
She began working at 'BBC' in 1994, but left for the US in 1997 to work as a columnist and freelancer in Washington D.C. She continued to write regular columns for 'Financial Times', and for magazines like 'Easy Living' and 'She', apart from writing weekly columns for 'The Sunday Telegraph', 'The Daily Telegraph', and 'The Evening Standard'.
In 2009, she became the ninth editor of the weekly magazine 'The Lady', following which she rebranded the magazine and introduced several well-known contributors. This became the subject of the 'Grierson Award' nominated Channel 4 documentary 'The Lady and the Revamp'.
She oversaw a redesign of 'The Lady' by creative director Stefano Arata which made it capable of competing with other mainstream women's magazines. While she was replaced as editor in January 2012 by Matt Warren, she presented an hour-long BBC Four documentary, 'How to Be a Lady: An Elegant History', in March 2013.
She appeared in 'Famous, Rich and Hungry' on BBC1 in March 2014 and was a judge in the BBC 'Woman's Hour' power-list the following month. She is also a panelist on Sky News' weekly debate show, 'The Pledge'.
She is a member on the boards of Bright Blue, the modernizing Tory think-tank, and the international debate forum, Intelligence Squared. She currently writes weekly columns for 'The Mail on Sunday' and 'The Big Issue', and is a contributing editor of 'The Spectator'.
In 1988, while Rachel Johnson was still an undergraduate at Oxford, she commissioned and edited 'The Oxford Myth'. She portrayed a hilarious picture of her life as a mother in her 2004 book, 'The Mummy Diaries'.
In 2006, she published the novel 'Notting Hell', about couples living in the Notting Hill area of London, which produced two more follow-ups, 'Shire Hell' (2008) and 'Fresh Hell' (2015). She won the '2008 Bad Sex in Fiction Prize' for 'Shire Hell', which she described as being an "absolute honour".
Her other books include 'A Diary of The Lady, My First Year as Editor' (2010) and the novel 'Winter Games' (2012). She was one of the judges at the 'Women's Prize for Fiction' in 2013.
While Rachel Johnson was a member of the Conservative Party in 2008-11, she differed with her brother Boris on Brexit and joined the Liberal Democrats before the 2017 general election. She considered candidacy from the West Country, but was not allowed.
She joined the new anti-Brexit party Change UK in April 2019 and was its lead candidate in South West England at the 2019 European Parliament election. However, she recently criticized the party stating it doesn't have a proper decision making structure.
Family & Personal Life
In 1992, Rachel Johnson married Ivo Dawnay, a descendant of William Dawnay, 7th Viscount Downe, and of the Earls of Glasgow, who is a director and consultant with the National Trust. She has three children, Ludo, Charlotte and Oliver, and often travels between London and Exmoor, Somerset.