What will life at Downing Street be like for Liz Truss’s teenage daughters?

·6-min read

Liz Truss has been announced as the new UK prime minister after beating rival Rishi Sunak in the leadership contest.

The former foreign secretary is set to take office at No 10 Downing Street, bringing with her two teenage daughters and her husband, Hugh O’Leary.

The family of four, who also have homes in Greenwich and Norfolk, plan to move to Downing Street but it is unclear whether they will choose the ministerial headquarters, or the larger abode next door at No 11 – which was recently refurbished by Boris Johnson.

It marks the first time the government headquarters will be home to teenagers since Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997.

At the time, Blair’s eldest son, Euan, made headlines after police found him drunk and throwing up in Leicester Square after celebrating his GCSE exam results.

Truss mostly keeps both of her daughters, Frances, 16, and Liberty, 13, out of the public eye, bar the occasional social media post of the back of their heads or their birthday cakes.

In an interview with The Telegraph earlier this summer, Truss said her family was still coming to terms with how her new position could affect them, but that her daughters are already getting stuck into the world of politics.

“I think there’s a dawning realisation that this is real,” Truss explained. “I think my daughter’s friends at school are quite amazed by what’s happening.

“My oldest daughter’s working on the digital team,” Truss said of her leadership campaign. “She’s done a computing GCSE so she’s helping out on that. And my younger daughter was there as well, giving general political advice.”

She also revealed that the pair had already started making requests to hold sleepovers at Number 10. But what’s in store for them once they move into their new abode? Here’s what we can learn from previous children of world leaders.

‘Amazing and very quiet’

The wife of David Cameron, Samantha, opened up about life at Downing Street during her husband’s tenure between 2010 and 2016 in an interview with Hello! earlier this year.

The couple have three children; a daughters Nancy, 18, and Florence, 12, and a son named Arthur, 16. The couple’s eldest son, Ivan, died of of cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy in 2009.

Florence was born in 2010, the same year that Cameron took office.

Samantha told Hello! her birth was a “great thing” because it insulated and protected her family from the shock of “suddenly being in the public eye”.

“It meant that I had a bit of time to adjust before I was expected to do too much. She literally arrived as we moved into Downing Street,” Samantha said.

The Cameron family leaving Downing Street (Getty Images)
The Cameron family leaving Downing Street (Getty Images)

“It gave me a chance to work out how I wanted to live and work there before I had to go out to do things in public.”

However, Samantha noted that having young children worked in her favour as it meant they were not being followed or photographed by the press.

“When they were little, it was easy, in a sense you could protect them from quite a lot,” she said.

“They didn’t really understand what was happening. I was glad we left Downing Street before my older children became teenagers because I think that would have been really difficult.”

Samantha and the children would come and go through the back door of the property and didn’t have security in a bid to keep everything “as similar” as it had been at home.

“My husband’s good at compartmentalising, he would come up into the flat in the evenings and be able to spend time with us as a normal family even though we were effectively living in the office,” Samantha recalled.

“The flat is amazing and very quiet, you don’t hear what’s going on in the rest of the building. The children were small and much more unaware of what was happening around them.”

Not a normal teenage life

A good indicator of what life at Downing Street might entail for Truss’s daughters is the experience of Blair’s son, Euan, who was 13 when his father took office and 23 by the end of his decade-long term.

Euan lived a somewhat ordinary teenage life, enjoying a few alcoholic beverages with a friend after receiving his GCSE results in 2000.

Things went downhill after he was picked up by the police, drunk and throwing up in central London, and then lied about his name and address in an attempt to disguise he was the son of the serving prime minister.

Tony Blair and his family outside Downing Street (Getty Images)
Tony Blair and his family outside Downing Street (Getty Images)

In his first public speech following the incident, Blair said being a parent is “probably tougher” than being the prime minister. “Sometimes you don’t always succeed but the family to me is more important than anything else,” he said.

Downing Street also issued a statement saying Euan was “very sorry” and is in “no doubt of the seriousness” of his actions.

In his 2010 memoir, A Journey, Blair detailed less harsher consequences for Euan and a somewhat normal familial relationship.

Recalling the night of his son’s arrest, Blair wrote: “I got no sleep that night. Around 2.30am Euan insisted on coming into my bed. Alternately, he would go into a mournful tirade of apology and then throw up.

“Had a police cell been available, I would have been all for moving him there,” Blair wrote.

‘Living in a museum’

More recently, Barack and Michella Obama’s teenage daughters, Sasha and Malia entered the spotlight as their father took office in 2007.

Michelle previously detailed how living in the White House affected her children in an interview with CBS in 2019.

The Obama family (Getty Images)
The Obama family (Getty Images)

She said the older the girls got, “the less excited they were about living in a museum”.

“My kids had armed guards with them at all times. Imagine trying to have your first kiss [around] a bunch of men [with guns] and earpieces,” Michelle said.

While Truss’s daughters have expressed excitement at the prospect of having sleepovers at No 10, Michelle said she was “surprised” her daughters had any friends as sleepovers anywhere other than the White House meant “there will be a man with a gun” sitting outside.

The Obama family in 2016 (AFP via Getty Images)
The Obama family in 2016 (AFP via Getty Images)

“Imagine having Malia and Sasha come to your house for a sleepover,” Michelle said. “This is the call, ‘OK, we’re gonna need your social security number, we’re gonna need your date of birth. There will be men coming to sweep your house.

“If you have guns and drugs, just tell them. Because they’re going to find them anyway. Don’t lie. They’re not gonna take ‘em, they just need to know where they are. And by the way, there will be a man with a gun sitting on the front porch all night. Let him come in and use the bathroom, it would just be nice.’”