First picture of Carrie Symonds' grandfather Joseph Lawrence released

Picture of Carrie Symonds’s dapper grandad – Joseph Lawrence – solves the final riddle of the name of her and Boris Johnson’s baby Wilfred LAWRIE Nicholas

  • PM and Carrie Symonds’s son was named after their grandfathers and doctors
  • Middle name Lawrie inspired by Carrie’s maternal grandfather Joseph Lawrence
  • First time public has been able to see a picture of the gynaecological surgeon 
  • Lawrence served in the RAF Medical Brigade during the Second World War 
  • He married an Austrian cook and domestic servant and they had three children

The clothes are appropriately dapper for a young man on the rise in the 1930s. But a closer look at this picture reveals something more distinctive – a recognisable jawline and familiar broad smile, perhaps.

This is the first time the public has seen a picture of Joseph Lawrence, the grandfather of Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds.

And although Joseph could never have imagined it at the time, this handsome chap in his 20s, descended from domestic servants and impoverished Welsh mining stock, has lent his name – or least a variant of it – to the Prime Minister and Ms Symonds’s new son.


Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds’s son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas was named after her grandfather Joseph Lawrence (right)

Joseph, who was known as Lewis, was a squadron leader in the RAF Medical Brigade during the Second World War and went on to become a gynaecological surgeon. He died before Carrie was born in 1988.

But his legacy is now assured after Ms Symonds and Mr Johnson chose his name for their first child, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas, who was born last month.

The stories behind two of the names are well known. The couple said Wilfred was after the Prime Minister’s heroic RAF pilot grandfather, and Nicholas was a tribute to the NHS doctors who saved the PM’s life during his coronavirus battle. 

But until now there has been scant information about the choice of Lawrie. Joseph Lawrence’s grandfather had been a haulier in Monmouthshire, but two generations later, Lewis was able to graduate as a surgeon in 1940.

The next year he married Ms Symonds’s grandmother, Berta Treichl, a 27-year-old Austrian who was a cook and domestic servant at Battramsley House, a 19th Century country estate owned by the Baring banking family in Hampshire’s New Forest.

Because Berta was born in Austria, which was annexed by the Germans at the start of the Second World War, she was registered as an ‘Alien Internee at Liberty’ between 1939 and 1945.

The couple’s son was born last month and was named after their grandfathers and NHS doctors who saved the PM’s life


The boy’s first name is a tribute to Mr Johnson’s paternal grandfather, Osman Wilfred Kemal (pictured)

About 80,000 potential ‘enemy’ foreigners, feared to be spies or willing to help the Germans, were recorded in Britain at the outbreak of the war. 

A special tribunal would have determined whether Berta was a risk or could remain at liberty. Luckily it was the latter.

She and Lewis, who after the war worked at Redhill County Hospital in Edgware, North London, went on to have three children, including Ms Symonds’s mother, Josephine.

If it was unusual to marry a German during the war, Lewis’s sister Marian flouted convention by living with a much older married man and bearing two children out of wedlock. 

This is something echoed in Downing Street today, of course, where the PM and Ms Symonds are yet to marry.

Marian’s granddaughter, Anna Grigg, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s like history repeating itself. The parallels are uncanny. I didn’t find out my mother was illegitimate until after she died. I think it’s nice these days that there’s not the same stigma attached to it. Boris and Carrie’s relationship very much reflects history.’

Lewis died of cancer in 1975 aged 59. But now, thanks to his granddaughter and the PM, his name lives on.

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