Mary Wilson, Baroness Wilson of Rievaulx

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The Right Honourable
The Lady Wilson of Rievaulx
Mary Wilson, wife of the Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.jpg
Lady Wilson in 1974
In role
4 March 1974 – 5 April 1976
Preceded by Vacant[nb]
Succeeded by Audrey Callaghan
In role
16 October 1964 – 19 June 1970
Preceded by The Lady Douglas-Home
Succeeded by Vacant[nb]
Personal details
Born Gladys Mary Baldwin
(1916-01-12)12 January 1916
Diss, Norfolk, England
Died 6 June 2018(2018-06-06) (aged 102)
St Thomas' Hospital, London, England
Resting place St. Mary's Old Church
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx
(m. 1940; d. 1995)
Children 2, including Robin
Father Reverend Daniel Baldwin
Education Milton Mount College
Occupation Poet, stenographer
n.b. ^ The Prime Minister from June 1970 to March 1974 was Edward Heath, who was unmarried.

Gladys Mary Wilson, Baroness Wilson of Rievaulx (née Baldwin; 12 January 1916 – 6 June 2018) was an English poet and the wife of Harold Wilson, who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She is the only spouse of any Prime Minister to have died a centenarian.

Biography

She was born in Diss, Norfolk, the daughter of Reverend Daniel Baldwin, who was a Congregationalist minister.[1] She attended boarding school at Milton Mount College near Crawley,[2] leaving aged 16 to attend a secretarial course for two years.[3] She was employed as a stenographer at Lever Brothers in Port Sunlight before marrying Harold Wilson on New Year's Day 1940.[1] She and Wilson had two sons, Robin (born 1943) and Giles (born 1948).[4]

In 1970 her volume of poetry Selected Poems was published and, in 1976, Wilson was one of three judges of the Man Booker Prize, the other judges being Walter Allen and Francis King.[5] According to the Dictionary of National Biography entry for Harold Wilson, written by Roy Jenkins,[6] Mary was not satisfied with life in politics. It was this detachment which gave the Private Eye spoof Mrs Wilson's Diary, the supposed diary of Wilson, written in the style of the BBC's daily radio serial Mrs Dale's Diary, a spurious look of authenticity.[4]

Politically she opposed her husband in the 1975 European Communities membership referendum, by voting against continued membership, and in her support for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[7]

Mary was widowed on 24 May 1995 when her husband died of colorectal cancer and Alzheimer's disease after ten years of illness. They were married for 55 years. She continued to live in Westminster,[8] a short distance from Downing Street. She retained the couple's holiday home in the Isles of Scilly.[9]

In 2013, aged 97, she attended the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.[10]

Wilson died on 6 June 2018, of a stroke,[7] in London aged 102.[11] She was the longest-lived spouse of a British prime minister and the first and only one to become a centenarian.[8][3]

Titles from birth

  • 1916–1940: Miss Mary Baldwin
  • 1940–1976: Mrs Harold Wilson
  • 1976–1983: Lady Wilson
  • 1983–2018: The Rt Hon The Lady Wilson of Rievaulx

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ a b Langdon, Julia (7 June 2018). "Mary Wilson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 
  2. ^ Pullein-Thompson, Diana (1985). Five at 10: Prime Ministers' Consorts Since 1957. Trafalgar Square. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-233-97733-1. 
  3. ^ a b McSmith, Andy (7 June 2018). "Lady Wilson of Rievaulx: Poet and wife of former Labour prime minister Harold Wilson". The Independent. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 
  4. ^ a b "Lady Wilson of Rievaulx obituary". The Times. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 
  5. ^ "Tears, tiffs and triumphs". The Guardian. 6 September 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Wilson, (James) Harold, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/58000.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ a b Elliott, Francis. "Mary Wilson, widow of the prime minister Harold Wilson, dies aged 102". The Times. Retrieved 7 June 2018. 
  8. ^ a b McSmith, Andy (8 January 2016). "Mary Wilson: Wife of former Prime Minister Harold turning 100 years-old". The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "BT Broadband Brings Together Two Remote UK Communities Further Apart Than London to Venice". objectiveone.com. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "Final guest list for Lady Thatcher's funeral" (PDF). gov.uk. 17 October 2013. p. 19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Mary Wilson, poet and wife of ex-prime minister Harold, dies aged 102". BBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2018. 

External links

  • Media related to Harold and Mary Wilson at Wikimedia Commons
  • "In praise of ... Mary Wilson. Mrs Wilson was and remains a lady of firm convictions, and at 94 is as alert as ever". The Guardian (Editorial). 16 March 2010. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. 
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lady Douglas-Home
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
1964–1970
Vacant
Title next held by
Herself
Vacant
Title last held by
Herself
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
1974–1976
Succeeded by
Audrey Callaghan
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