Sarah Macaulay

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Person.png Sarah Macaulay  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Julia and Sarah.jpg
BornSarah Jane Macaulay
31 October 1963
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Alma materUniversity of Bristol
Children • Jennifer Jane
• John Macaulay James Fraser
SpouseGordon Brown

Sarah Jane Brown (née Macaulay) is the founder and president of PiggyBankKids, a children's charity.

Sarah Brown is the wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown whom she married in August 2000.

In 1993, she was a founding partner of Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, a public relations company.

Early life

Born Sarah Jane Macaulay in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire,[1][2] on 31 October 1963[3] to a middle-class family: her mother Pauline was a teacher and her Scottish father Iain (who died in Ireland in 2007) worked for publisher Longman.

Sarah Macaulay spent her early childhood in Fife,[4] before moving to Tanzania. When she was eight, her parents separated, both remarried, and she with her two younger brothers, Sean and Bruce,[5] went to live with their mother and stepfather in North London.[6]

She was educated in North London at Acland Burghley School and Camden School for Girls,[7] and went on to take a psychology degree at the University of Bristol.[8]


After leaving university, Macaulay worked at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. At the age of 30, she founded the public relations firm Hobsbawm Macaulay, in partnership with an old school friend, Julia Hobsbawm. Their clients have included New Statesman (owned by Geoffrey Robinson) and the British Council.

Marriage and children

Sarah and Gordon Brown

She first met Gordon Brown briefly at a Labour Party event, but they did not speak at length until 1994 when they shared a flight from London to Scotland for the Scottish Labour Party conference. After this meeting the two began seeing each other regularly.[9]

The relationship was kept secret until 1997, when the News of the World published a picture of them together in a restaurant in London.[10] They were married on 3 August 2000 in Brown's home town, North Queensferry, Fife.[11]

In 2001, she left Hobsbawm Macaulay after finding out she was pregnant with her first child.[12] On 28 December 2001 she gave birth prematurely to a daughter, Jennifer Jane, who died when she was only 10 days old.[13][14] In 2002 she founded charity Piggy Bank Kids, which began as a research fund to tackle complications in pregnancy, and has now expanded into a range of projects helping disadvantaged children. Gordon Brown has spoken of Sarah's bravery after the death of their daughter.[15]

On 17 October 2003, Sarah Brown gave birth to their second child, a boy, John[16] and then on 17 July 2006 they had another boy, James Fraser.[17] In November of that year, James Fraser was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.[18]


Friends from the worlds of politics and media have included journalist and television presenter Mariella Frostrup, Labour spin doctor Charlie Whelan,[19] Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng and his daughter Elisabeth Murdoch, the television presenter Claudia Winkleman and newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks.[20]

Public perception

As wife of the Prime Minister, Sarah Brown was by and large favourably compared with Cherie Blair, the wife of her husband's predecessor. Cherie Blair was often portrayed as eccentric and outgoing by the media. Brown has been portrayed in contrast to this as a more reserved, though nonetheless amiable, figure.[21][22][23] The Guardian noted her public image, saying, "her positive profile could be the best thing Labour has got going for it with the election looming."[24] The 2010 general election saw no party command an overall majority, but the Conservative Party led by David Cameron had the most seats, and ultimately formed a government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats on 11 May 2010 after Gordon Brown's attempts to keep Labour in power failed.


Sarah Brown published a memoir of her role as the Prime Minister's Spouse, entitled Behind the Black Door through Ebury Press in 2011.[25] The book received an unfavourable reception from most reviewers. Written in a diary style, the London Evening Standard described it as "perhaps the dimmest diary ever to have been professionally published" and "one long, formulaic press release in praise of Gordon Brown."[26] The Telegraph concluded it is a "strange book" and "plea for redemption" though the reviewer decided that Brown's description of the international charity circuit is "fun at last".[27] The Irish Independent describes the book as a "disturbingly giddy, schoolgirlish, exclamation mark-littered diary form" and "nothing in the slightest bit revelatory about it", though with "enough gossipy details to satisfy star-hungry readers."[28]

In Sarah Brown's defence, the New Statesman review decided that the "thoughtfulness and courtesy" is "genuine Sarah Brown", though "so airbrushed as to leave the diary feeling a little empty."[29]

Charitable work

Sarah Brown founded her own charity, PiggyBank-Kids, in 2002, which raises money for the Jennifer Brown Research Trust and supports a range of projects to help disadvantaged children.[30]

Sarah Brown is the patron of domestic violence charity Women's Aid (from 2004, ongoing in 2013) and of Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres (since 2007, ongoing in 2013).[31][32]

Sarah Brown is also a close friend of writer J.K. Rowling (who donated £1 million to the Labour Party in 2008),[33] and the two co-authored a children's book for the One Parent Families charity organisation.[34] She is a former patron of the charity Gingerbread.

She is a member of the High Level Panel for Global Education.[35]


Event Participated in

WEF/Annual Meeting/201422 January 201425 January 2014Switzerland2604 guests in Davos considered "Reshaping The World"


  1. "How Macaulay triumphed when so many others failed"
  2. "Can Sarah Brown rescue Labour?"
  3. "Hello! profile"
  4. "Independent profile"
  5. "PM's wife: My pain as parents split"
  6. "Sarah Brown reveals trauma of her parents' split as she launches campaign to help broken Britain"
  7. "Town vs gown: north London – Telegraph"
  8. "Lady in waiting"
  9. "Inside the world of Mrs Brown"
  10. "Snapper grabs photo of Chancellor with woman!"
  11. "Gordon and Sarah wed at home"
  12. "Chancellor's wife to quit full-time work"
  13. "Chancellor becomes a father"
  14. "Browns' baby dies in hospital"
  15. "Gordon Brown opens his heart on his baby's death, Sarah's bravery, and Blair"
  16. "Browns celebrate baby boy"
  17. "Brown names new baby James Fraser"
  18. "Brown's son has cystic fibrosis"
  19. "Inside the world of Mrs Brown"
  20. "Gordon Brown's wife Sarah holds slumber party at Chequers"
  21. "PM's wife is a hit on the fringe"
  22. "What Sarah Brown could learn from Cherie Blair"
  23. "Sarah Brown: The new 'first lady'"
  24. "The Reinvention of Sarah Brown"
  25. "Behind the Black Door", Ebury Press, 2011, ISBN 9780091940577
  26. "Behind the Black Door is inobservant, imperceptive and dull"
  27. "Behind the Black Door by Sarah Brown: review"
  28. "Review: Behind The Black Door by Sarah Brown"
  29. "Behind the Black Door"
  30. "Does my hair smell of paint? An intimate portrait of Sarah Brown and what really happens behind Downing Street's closed doors"
  32. "Why I want you to get behind Maggie's"
  33. "Harry Potter author JK Rowling gives £1 million to Labour"
  34. "Gordon's women"
  35. "Official Website of the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown"
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