David Cameron is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party. On Thursday, May 7th he leads his party into one of the closest General Elections in British history, with most opinion polls suggesting that no single party – indeed, no likely coalition of parties – will be able to form a majority under the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system.
Here’s what you need to know about the man who currently resides in 10 Downing Street:
1. He’s the Seventh Youngest Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Cameron was born in London on October 9th, 1966, making him 48 years of age. Cameron first stood for Parliament in 1997 at the age of 30, but was defeated as the Conservative Party was wiped out in the first of three General Election victories enjoyed by “New Labour” under Tony Blair. Cameron eventually made it to Parliament in 2001, aged, 34, standing in the seat of Witney in Oxfordshire.
In 2005, despite having been a Conservative MP for just four years, Cameron stood in and won the Conservative Leadership Election, becoming Leader of the Opposition at the age of 35 – the youngest Tory leader since William Pitt the Younger more than two centuries prior.
Despite not winning an overall majority at the 2010 General Election, Cameron led the Conservatives into a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, and was named Prime Minister on May 11th, making him the youngest Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in over 200 years.
2. He Married Into the Aristocracy
Cameron married Samantha Sheffield in 1996, whom he met through his sister, Clare, at a party. Sam Cam, as she is often referred, is the daughter of Sir Reginald Sheffield, 8th Baronet, a landowner and distant relative of King Charles II. Samantha grew up in Normanby Hall, a 300-acre estate in the north of England.
Prior to her husband becoming Prime Minister, Samantha was Creative Director of Smythson, a high-end stationers and leather goods producer situated on Bond Street, London. She currently works as a consultant for the firm.
Samantha Cameron is – probably – the first Prime Minister’s spouse to bring tattoos into Downing Street: she has a dolphin inked onto her right ankle.
The Camerons have four children together: Ivan (2002-2009), Nancy (2004), Arthur (2006) and Florence (2010). Their eldest son, Ivan, was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and died at the age of just six. David Cameron often speaks of his experiences caring for Ivan when expressing his views on the National Health Service.
3. He’s Worth at Least $6 million
As Prime Minister, Cameron earns a salary of GBP162,000 / $245,000 per annum, about six times the UK average. The Camerons own a townhouse in North Kensington, London, valued at approximately GBP3 million / $4.5 million, and a country home in David’s Oxfordshire constituency, worth around GBP1 million / $1.5 million.
While estimates vary, David and Samantha Cameron are thought to be due a combined inheritance north of GBP25 million / $37 million from their respective families. David inherited GBP300,000 in 2010 when his father passed away.
4. He’s Half-a-Foot Taller Than Vladimir Putin
Cameron stands at 6ft 1in, two inches taller than his Labour rival Ed Miliband, half-a-foot taller than Russian President Vladimir Putin and the same height as US President Barack Obama.
He’s a good deal shorter than the tallest premier ever, however: Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda Vere Bird was a full 6ft 8in.
5. He’s the 19th Prime Minister to Have Attended Eton College
David Cameron was a boarder at Eton College, one of Britain’s most exclusive and renowned public (fee paying) schools. Cameron is the 19th Old Etonian to rise to the post of Prime Minister, though probably the first to have been caught smoking cannabis while there (Eton, not Downing Street).
After Eton, Cameron attended Brasenose College, Oxford, where he read Politics, Philosophy and Economics, achieving a First Class honours degree. Cameron was a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club dining society during his time at Oxford, renowned for its excess and the privilege of its members.