It was almost four months ago that Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that a General Election win for the Tories – and a green light for his Brexit deal – would provoke a baby boom similar to the one seen after the London 2012 Olympics.
'Cupid's darts will fly once we get Brexit done,' he rhapsodised. 'Romance will bloom across the whole nation.'
And, indeed, it has now come to pass – at least, behind the doors of No 10.
The official announcement brings to an end weeks of speculation.
Marriage rumours, and the suggestion that Ms Symonds was pregnant, have been an open secret in Westminster circles for the last few months.
It was noticed that Carrie had spent only a short amount of time at the boozy Brexit celebrations on January 31.
Pictures from Election night on December 12 appeared to show her with a bottle of beer – but not drinking from it – and the pair are said to have spent a quiet Christmas Day together with their mothers and their Jack Russell cross, Dilyn, in the Downing Street flat before entertaining friends in the evening.
The official pregnancy and engagement announcement from Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds brings to an end weeks of speculation. (Above, the pair after his Tory party conference speech last year)
Marriage rumours, and the suggestion that Ms Symonds was pregnant, have been an open secret in Westminster circles for the last few months
Carrie had been keeping an increasingly low profile in London and the Prime Minister, too, had notably been spending more time at Chequers and country retreat Chevening. Then, Carrie seemed to disappear completely when she went on an extended business trip to the States, sending the rumour mill into overdrive
Ms Symonds is the first unmarried partner of an incumbent British prime minister. She has largely kept out of the public eye since Mr Johnson, 55, took the reins of government in July
She had been keeping an increasingly low profile in London and the Prime Minister, too, had notably been spending more time at Chequers and country retreat Chevening.
Then, Carrie seemed to disappear completely when she went on an extended business trip to the States, sending the rumour mill into overdrive.
Snatched photographs of Carrie arriving at Downing Street in recent days via a back entrance, with what seemed to be a fuller figure, did nothing to dampen the speculation.
Despite yesterday's carefully orchestrated announcement, the cat was very nearly let out of the bag by Boris's father Stanley.
In the March edition of Saga magazine, which is already available, Stanley – the issue's cover star – told the publication how much he enjoyed his grandchildren and hinted that there may be 'more on the way'.
Political observers, meanwhile, have been primed for a significant media announcement since Carrie hired a personal spin doctor, Sarah Vaughan-Brown, a close friend of the couple, just a few days ago.
The timing appears to have been deliberately planned to come after Johnson's divorce from his estranged wife, barrister Marina Wheeler – mother of four of his children – was finalised.
Despite yesterday's carefully orchestrated announcement, the cat was very nearly let out of the bag by Boris's father Stanley (above, with Carrie in January). In the March edition of Saga magazine, which is already available, Stanley – the issue's cover star – told the publication how much he enjoyed his grandchildren and hinted that there may be 'more on the way'
The couple, who were married for 27 years, reached a private agreement ten days ago in a short court hearing. The couple's assets are thought to include £3.35 million in proceeds from the sale of the London townhouse they once shared.
It was considered then that this could pave the way for a potential marriage to Carrie, speculation which Boris has always insisted was 'a tiny bit premature'. But friends have always claimed that he would propose after his divorce went through.
And, indeed, according to sources close to the couple, marriage and a baby was 'non-negotiable' for Carrie. 'That is what she has always wanted, a condition of their relationship, almost.
And he was happy to oblige,' a source told The Mail on Sunday. Mr Johnson's romance with Carrie – who he calls Apples – the bubbly and gregarious former Conservative director of communications, first emerged after they were photographed together at the party's fundraising Black and White Ball in London in February 2018.
Just a week later, the pair were spotted enjoying an intimate dinner at a corner table of the capital's oldest restaurant, Rules.
One onlooker described how it seemed 'hardly anything to do with any great matters of the state', adding: 'It seemed quite strange for him to be meeting a young attractive woman for a meal in one of London's most exclusive restaurants.'
Boris and Carrie with the new No.10 dog, Dilyn, in the gardens of Downing Street
Political observers, meanwhile, have been primed for a significant media announcement since Carrie hired a personal spin doctor, Sarah Vaughan-Brown (above, walking Dilyn), a close friend of the couple, just a few days ago
Privately educated Carrie, a high profile figure in Westminster circles for over a decade, is understood to have first met Boris when she was working as an aide to Culture Minister John Whittingdale in 2011.
She is said to have been blown away by his charisma, and they forged a close friendship despite the 24-year age gap and the fact that Boris was then married with four children and had another daughter as a result of an extra-marital affair.
But friends insist their relationship did not begin until after he and Ms Wheeler separated.
Blonde, charming and 'waspishly gossipy', Ms Symonds had been known as the life and soul of the party who posted glamorous pictures of herself on social media, including one photograph of her striking a pose while standing on the bonnet of a car in the grounds of Parliament.
Her swanky 30th birthday party in March 2018 at a friend's North London home was attended by a slew of older Cabinet Ministers, including then Environment Secretary Michael Gove and then Home Secretary Sajid Javid, with Boris – who at the time was Foreign Secretary – performing a selection of flamboyant dance moves.
But she ruffled feathers in Government when she took them on over the planned release of taxi driver rapist John Worboys, leading a fundraising effort for his victims to sue the then Justice Secretary.
Carrie Symonds was pictured in public for the first time in more than two months, on February 14. Boris Johnson's partner was spotted leaving through the more-discreet back entrance to No 10 Downing Street in central London
Carrie likes to surprise Boris with 'fun little gifts' – most notably, the £1,000 motorbike she gave him for Christmas. But they are also hugely supportive of each other's career ambitions
She testified publicly against Worboys, waiving her anonymity and revealing herself to have been targeted by the serial sex attacker when she was 19.
Her testimony had led to his original conviction in 2009 for attacks against 12 women. But he was handed a further two life sentences for attacks on four more women and now may never be released.
Her intervention infuriated some former colleagues but she was praised for her bravery in a handwritten note from then-Prime Minister Theresa May after the row.
She left her Government job in the summer of 2018 amid claims of rows with No 10 over her closeness to Mr Johnson's camp, and moved to City news firm Bloomberg before taking on a public relations role with the Oceana project, which aims to protect the world's oceans.
But despite her long career in politics, she has told friends that she 'struggled' when Boris first arrived at No 10 in July last year, and that 'it was a tricky wave to ride and took some getting used to'.
But they say Carrie makes Boris blissfully happy and has brought a new sense of calm to his sometimes boisterous and restless nature.
The timing of Boris and Carrie's announcement appears to have been deliberately planned to come after Johnson's divorce from his estranged wife, barrister Marina Wheeler (pictured) – mother of four of his children – was finalised
The couple relax by spending their evenings painting together, a passion that Boris's political hero Winston Churchill also enjoyed, and at the weekends will go on bike rides together in the countryside.
They enjoy good meals out as much as cosy nights on the sofa. Their favourite restaurant is a neighbourhood Italian in East Sheen, eight miles from Westminster, called Mamma Mia where they often meet Carrie's mother, media lawyer Josephine Mcaffee.
'Food is a big part of their relationship,' said one source. 'She cooks him his favourite meal, a chicken curry, on big occasions like Election night.'
Carrie likes to surprise Boris with 'fun little gifts' – most notably, the £1,000 motorbike she gave him for Christmas. But they are also hugely supportive of each other's career ambitions.
One source said: 'He is very, very supportive of her working at Oceana – and is very keen that she keeps the independence of her own career – though she is looking at doing some charity patronages in the future, and that's something that she and Boris have discussed.
'While she is a sounding board for him with his politics, she is also fully respectful of the Downing Street/Conservative etiquette and errs on the side of caution.'
With two such fiery characters, it is perhaps no surprise there have been bumps along the way.
Last summer, a neighbour of the couple at their flat in Camberwell, South London, called police after recording a heated row between the couple in which he heard 'slamming and banging' and Carrie telling Boris to 'get out of my flat'.
There is also the continuing mystery of Boris's existing children – and his numerous extramarital affairs. The Prime Minister has always refused to say how many he has – but it is known he has four children from his marriage to Marina Wheeler, and a daughter born in 2009 from an affair with art advisor Helen Macintyre.
At first, Boris denied even being her father, and was not named on the birth certificate. However, his paternity was revealed after a 2013 court battle in which he sought an injunction to prevent the child's existence being reported.
This latest announcement is one more dramatic moment in a tumultuous romantic career. Carrie is no doubt banking on a calmer future.
Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds is PREGNANT: Prime Minister and his First Lady are engaged as she announces 'We've got a baby hatching early summer'
By Jack Elsom and Danyal Hussain for MailOnline and Glen Owen and Harry Cole for the Mail on Sunday
Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds are engaged and expecting a baby in early summer, they announced last night.
On her Instagram Saturday evening, Ms Symonds shared an intimate photo of her and the PM and wrote: 'I wouldn't normally post this kind of thing on here but I wanted my friends to find out from me.
'Many of you already know but for my friends that still don't, we got engaged at the end of last year... and we've got a baby hatching early summer.'
The date of their wedding has not been announced, but it will mark the first time in at least 250 years a sitting prime minister has married while in office.
The Prime Minister, 55, has at least five children, although he has never confirmed the exact number after imposing a blanket ban on talking about his family. This will be the first child born to his 31-year-old partner.
Mr Johnson, who has been married twice previously, this month finalised his divorce with estranged wife Marina Wheeler, with whom he has two daughters and two sons. Last night, Downing Street would not confirmed if the decree absolute had been granted.
While he was still married to barrister Ms Wheeler, he began dating Tory PR adviser Ms Symonds, and the couple are believed to have been in a relationship for 18 months.
However, he has known Ms Symonds since she worked on his successful bid to win a second term as London Mayor in 2012.
According to one source, the couple had come up with a plan several weeks ago to announce the pregnancy and engagement simultaneously and then 'slip away quietly abroad to marry in private' as soon as his divorce from Ms Wheeler was finalised.
A No 10 source said: 'Boris and Carrie are both delighted at this news. They have both known for a while but have kept it under wraps until the pregnancy progressed.
'It partly explains why he has been lying low recently – although he works flat-out and that won't change. Carrie is thrilled and she will also continue to work on her environmental projects.'
Ms Symonds is the first unmarried partner of an incumbent British prime minister. She has largely kept out of the public eye since Mr Johnson, 55, took the reins of government in July (pictured February 14, the last time Ms Symonds was seen)
Charlotte - 6/1 James - 7/1
Stanley - 10/1 Winston - 12/1
Emmeline - 16/1 Victoria - 16/1
Frederick - 16/1 Josephine - 16/1
Thomas - 16/1 George - 16/1
Arthur - 20/1 Elizabeth - 20/1
Margaret - 20/1 Alexander - 20/1
Tarquin - 20/1 Harry - 25/1
Hugo - 25/1 Oliver - 25/1
Olivia - 25/1 John - 33/1
Emily - 33/1 Lucius - 33/1
Rebecca - 33/1 Rosie - 33/1
Valentine - 40/1 Boris - 50/1
Ron - 50/1 David - 50/1
Jessica - 100/1 Theresa - 500/1
Jeremy - 500/1 Brexit - 1000/1
Ms Symonds and Mr Johnson, who live together in Downing Street, recently enjoyed a luxury Christmas Caribbean vacation in Mustique where he is believed to have proposed.
The couple's relationship has been firmly in the public spotlight, and a row in her Camberwell flat during last summer's Tory leadership election wobbled Mr Johnson's bid for the top job.
Yesterday, it emerged Ms Symonds had hired a media professional to handle her communications and help on her campaigns as she molds into the role of the UK's first lady.
But she has already been described as the power behind the throne, with reports of her and Downing Street supremo Dominic Cummings in a tug of war for the PM's ear.
Ms Symonds is the first unmarried partner of an incumbent British prime minister. She has largely kept out of the public eye since Mr Johnson, 55, took the reins of government in July.
She was scarcely seen at the PM's side on the general election campaign trail, but waved with her soon-to-be husband on the steps outside the famous black door following the Conservatives' thumping victory.
The couple chose to live at the larger four-bedroom flat at No 11 Downing Street instead of the smaller two-bedroom official residence at No 10.
They already share a dog, Dilyn, with the PM saying that he helped keep his stress down during the election campaign.
It has been suggested in the past that Ms Symonds could not become a fully-fledged 'first lady' until the couple were married.
Mr Johnson was coy when asked about the subject last year, telling reporters that marriage speculation was 'a tiny bit premature'.
Charlotte, James and even Winston are the bookies' favourites for potential baby names - with odds for the name 'Brexit' at 1000/1.
The couple have their own affectionate names for each other, with her reportedly calling him 'Bozzie Bear', while he refers to her as 'Otter'.
The Prime Minister leaving Downing Street on Valentine's Day, shortly before he and partner Ms Symonds announced their engagement last night
Ms Symonds waved with her soon-to-be husband on the steps outside the famous black door following the Conservatives thumping victory
While he was still married, he began dating PR guru and Tory adviser Ms Symonds, and the couple are believed to have been dating for close to two years (pictured in 2019 at the party conference in Manchester)
Boris Johnson Election Night. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds watch the 2019 Election results on the TV in his study in No10 Downing Stree
Boris Johnson with estranged wife Marina Wheeler (pictured together in 2018)
Boris Johnson only settled his divorce with estranged wife Marina Wheeler 11 days before announcing he and girlfriend Carrie Symonds are engaged and expecting a baby.
The Prime Minister and Marina Wheeler, who separated in 2018, were given the go-ahead to officially end their marriage of more than 25 years on February 18.
Based on Mr Johnson's estimated cash and assets, Ms Wheeler could be receiving around £4million if split equally between the two.
Just 11 days after the settlement, a spokesperson for Mr Johnson, 55, and his 31-year-old partner announced that the couple are expecting their first baby together.
Last Tuesday, Judge Sarah Gibbons oversaw a private hearing in the Central Family Court in London, which neither party attended.
During the short hearing, she gave Ms Wheeler permission to apply for a Decree Absolute, which would bring the marriage to an end.
A case number revealed Mr Johnson and Ms Wheeler were involved in a dispute over money or assets.
Marina Claire Wheeler was named as the 'petitioner' and 'applicant' in the case, while Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson was named as the 'respondent'.
Mr Johnson was said to have had £6.5million in cash and assets as of September 2018, but will have likely seen his wealth rise since becoming Prime Minister last July.
It is therefore plausible that Ms Wheeler will be receiving around £4million if it is an equal split.
However, the judge said no detail from the case relating to money can be revealed in reports, apart from what is already in the public domain.
Judge Gibbons gave Ms Wheeler permission to apply for the decree absolute 'out of time'. This suggests that she was granted a decree nisi by the courts more than a year ago.
Ex-Chancellor Sajid Javid, who was defenestrated by the PM in the recent reshuffle, was one of the first to offer congratulations to Mr Johnson Ms Symonds, who is his former special adviser.
Former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson wrote: 'Congratulations to Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds.'
Ms Davidson, who had been critical of Mr Johnson during the European referendum campaign, stepped down as Scottish leader last year to spend more time with her young family.
Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, called the baby and wedding announcement 'lovely news'.
The Conservative MP said: 'Congratulations to both Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds. Happy news!'
But Mr Johnson's political rivals questioned the convenience of the timing of the announcement, which comes as the government is taking fire for its slow response to the coronavirus outbreak, the PM going AWOL during the flooding crisis and bitter rifts at the top of the Home Office.
Labour MP Charlotte Nichols tweeted: 'Congratulations to the happy couple notwithstanding, it's truly remarkable that the announcement JUST HAPPENED to be on the day of the unprecedented resignation of top Home Office official Sir Philip Rutnam who will be taking a case of constructive dismissal against the Govt.'
And Labour MP Florence Eshalomi said it was 'very convenient' for the Prime Minister and Ms Symonds to make their announcement last night.
Several political commentators also mooted the announcement as a distraction to keep embattled Home Secretary Priti Patel out of the headlines.
Previous prime ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair both had Downing Street babies - Florence in 2010, and Leo in 2000, respectively.
The last babies born to prime ministers before Leo and Florence arrived more than 150 years ago, when Lord John Russell's wife gave birth to two sons, George and Francis, during her husband's first stint in office between 1846 and 1852.
Mr Johnson is first prime minister to be divorced in office in modern times, and his union with Ms Symonds will be his third marriage.
Earlier this month, a court heard that the Prime Minister and his estranged second wife Marina Wheeler were preparing to end their marriage after reaching an agreement over money.
A family court judge approved a financial settlement and gave Ms Wheeler permission to apply for a divorce decree.
Ms Wheeler and Mr Johnson, who have four children, separated in 2018 after marrying in 1993.
He was a childhood friend of Ms Wheeler - the daughter of BBC journalist Charles Wheeler - when both were pupils at the European School in Brussels.
They have two daughters, Lara Lettice, 26, and Cassia Peaches, 22, and two sons Milo Arthur, 24, and Theodore Apollo, 20.
He also has a fifth child, Stephanie Macintyre, with art consultant Helen Macintyre.
The future PM met his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, while they were students at Oxford. They married in 1987, but the marriage was annulled in 1993.
In 2013 it emerged during another court hearing that Mr Johnson had fathered a daughter during an adulterous liaison while Mayor of London in 2009.
In 2004, he was sacked from the Tory frontbench over a reported affair with journalist Petronella Wyatt.
The couple chose to live at the larger four-bedroom flat at No 11 Downing Street instead of the smaller two-bedroom official residence at No 10
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with partner Carrie Symonds, they have announced that they are expecting a baby in the early summer and that they have got engaged
Former chancellor Sajid Javid put his recent differences with the PM to one side and congratulated the couple on their baby