When Scotland’s people go to the polls on September 18, they might not just be deciding on their new country, they’re also voting for a first lady. That first lady will likely be Moira Salmond. She’s the long-time wife of Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. If Scotland decides to leave the United Kingdom on September 18, then it’s likely that she will no longer be able to hide away from public life.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She’s 17 Years Older Than Her Husband
The couple were married in 1981 when she was 43 and Alex Salmond was just 26. The couple have no children. They live, modestly, in a converted mill in the town of Strichen in Scotland, according to a 2010 article in The Scotsman. There were married in the area of Colinton, close to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh. The local paper wrote at the time that Alex Salmond was “now settling down to married life.”
2. Moira Salmond Hasn’t Done a Media Interview Since 1990
During her only known interview, which was quoted by the UK Independent in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum, Moria said:
I’m no Glenys Kinnock. I married Alex, not politics. That’s his life and I am happy to be in the background. I share his convictions, but one politician in the family is quite enough.
Then she offered, what the Independent call a “banal” statement, when she talked about the perils of having two homes as a result of her husband’s political career:
Sometimes I go to make a cheese-and-tomato toastie in Linlithgow, absolutely sure I’ve got a pound of cheese in the fridge, then I remember it’s in the fridge in Strichen!
According to the Independent, after that interview, Salmond was the subject of jokes from his colleagues, after which, the Salmonds decided his wife wouldn’t give any more interviews.
3. She’s Was Born Close to the England/Scotland Border
She was born in the town of Peebles, the daughter of a mechanic, on August 9, 1937. Alex Salmond was born closer to Edinburgh, in Linlithgow. Prior to marrying Moira, Salmond still lived at home, not to mention it fell upon Moira to teach the possible prime minister of Scotland how to drive. The first minister is open about his lack of domestic abilities:
Let’s just say I’m not inspired by doing household jobs. Moira gets on to me for spending a lot of time on other people’s problems and never having time for our own.
She also said in her 1990 interview:
Sometimes I switch on the six o’clock news and I’m horrified by what he’s wearing. He hasn’t a clue about the colors of ties, shirts and socks. He just puts on the nearest thing to hand.
4. They Met While Working in Scotland’s Department of Agriculture
The Daily Telegraph reports that Alex Salmond met Moira McGlashan while they were working in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Scotland. Salmond was there as an economist while McGlashan was a supervisor, she was his boss. After the couple were married in 1981, Moira quit her job.
5. Alex Salmond Has Said That He Tries to Protect His Wife From Public Life
According to Salmond, his wife enjoys looking after their home, gardening and antiquing. He explained in an interview with The Scotsman:
I regard myself as public property, but I like to protect Moira as much as I can from the limelight. We are not a political couple and I find it refreshing to come home and let off steam to someone who isn’t in the thick of it.
One of Salmond’s most prominent political colleagues, Winnie Ewing, described Moira as “an absolute cracker.” She added, “dynamic, efficient, totally dedicated and Alex is a very lucky man to have her. And we have an extra weapon – we’ve Moira as a secret weapon..”