Wife of Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford dies suddenly

Mark and Clare Drakeford  (AFP via Getty Images)
Mark and Clare Drakeford (AFP via Getty Images)

Clare Drakeford, the wife of Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford, has died suddenly, the Welsh Government has announced.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “It is with deep sadness that we confirm the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford, wife of the First Minister.

“The thoughts of everyone in the Welsh Government are with the family at this time and we ask that their privacy is respected.”

Mr Drakeford worked as a probation officer and with the charity Barnardos before entering academia and becoming a professor at Cardiff University.

He was elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2011 and was appointed First Minister in 2018.

The couple married in 1977 and have three children.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Drakeford moved into a building in his garden to protect his wife and mother-in-law, who he said had been shielding.

He told the PA news agency in February 2021 they were in the top four priority groups for vaccination “due to their conditions”.

Mr Drakeford added at the time: “I’m hugely grateful, because they’re both vulnerable. And although they’ve been incredibly careful and don’t do anything that puts them at risk, the fact they’ve had the vaccine is a relief.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales said they were “sending our thoughts and prayers to Mark Drakeford and his family”.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price tweeted: “My heart is absolutely breaking for @PrifWeinidog after hearing of the sudden passing of his wife, Clare Drakeford. I know how close you were and there are no words to describe the pain you must be feeling. My thoughts are with you and your family. We’re all here for you Mark.”

His opposite number in the Welsh Conservative, Andrew RT Davies said: “My thoughts and prayers are with Mark Drakeford and his family at this exceptionally difficult time.

“On the occasions I met Clare, she was always a lovely lady and was very warm and kind. I’m shocked and deeply saddened to hear of her passing.”

Mark and Clare Drakeford (PA)
Mark and Clare Drakeford (PA)

The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said she is sending Mark Drakeford “love and strength” following the news.

“My thoughts are with Mark and his family at this terribly sad time,” Ms Sturgeon tweeted.

“On the occasions I met Clare it was obvious how strong the bond between her and Mark was, and I can only imagine the depth of grief he is feeling.

“Sending him love and strength.”

Downing Street said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had passed on his deepest condolences to the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford privately.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sent his condolences.

“I’m deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford,” he said in a statement.

“On behalf of the whole Labour Party, I send our deepest condolences to Mark and all the family. I know just how close they were as a couple, and I can only imagine the sense of loss Mark and the whole family are feeling.

“They are all in our thoughts and prayers.”