Boris Johnson’s artist mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl ‘left ex-PM £400,000 in her will’ after dying ‘suddenly and peacefully’ aged 79 following 40-year Parkinson’s battle
- Charlotte Johnson Wahl passed away at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington on Monday, September 12, aged 79
- She was a professional artist who painted portraits of stars such as Absolutely Fabulous’ Joanna Lumley
- Her £1.67million estate was split between her four children: ex-PM Boris, Rachel, Leo and Jo Johnson
- In a 2015 interview Ms Johnson Wahl said she had ‘never voted Tory’ and grew up around ‘rich socialists’
Boris Johnson’s artist mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl reportedly left the ex-PM £400,000 in her will after her ‘sudden and peaceful’ death following her battle with Parkinson’s.
Ms Johnson Wahl passed away at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington on Monday, September 12, aged 79. She was said to have died after living with Parkinson’s for 40 years.
Boris is said to have called his mother, a professional artist who painted stars such as Joanna Lumley, the ‘supreme authority’ in his family. He also previously credited her with instilling in him ‘the equal value of every human life’.
The former Prime Minister has been left £400,000 by his mother in her will after her £1.67million estate was split between her four children Boris, Rachel, Leo and Jo, reported The Sun.
But, despite raising two sons who became Conservative politicians, along with journalist Rachel and entrepreneur Leo, Ms Johnson Wahl said she herself had grown up around ‘rich socialists’. And in a candid 2015 interview with the Radio Times, she admitted that she had ‘never voted Tory’.
Boris Johnson’s artist mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl (pictured in 2014) ‘left the ex-PM £400,000 in her will’ after her ‘sudden and peaceful’ death following her battle with Parkinson’s
Ms Johnson Wahl had an unhappy marriage to Boris’ father Stanley, who was accused of breaking her nose in the 1970s.
Born Charlotte Fawcett in Oxford in 1942, Mrs Johnson-Wahl was the daughter of the barrister Sir James Fawcett – who was president of the European Commission for Human Rights in the 1970s.
One of five children, she studied English at Oxford University. But she interrupted her education to travel to America with Stanley Johnson, whom she met at Oxford and married in 1963.
Speaking about meeting Stanley, she told Tatler magazine in 2015: ‘I was engaged to somebody called Wynford Hicks, who was extraordinarily beautiful to look at but actually quite boring.
‘Anyway, [after the dinner] Stanley sent me a note asking if he could come to tea and go for a walk.
‘So a few days later we went for a walk and he suddenly said, ‘Love is sweet. Revenge is sweeter far. To the Piazza. Ah ha ha har!”, which made me laugh so much I fell in love with him.’
Ms Johnson Wahl passed away at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington on Monday, September 12, aged 79
She returned to complete her degree as the first married female undergraduate at her college, Lady Margaret Hall.
Mrs Johnson Wahl turned to art and painted a variety of subjects, primarily portraits.
She is said to have completed more than 2,000 pieces in her career and was the subject of an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London in 2015.
Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley, former Evening Standard editor Simon Jenkins and author Jilly Cooper were among those whose portraits she painted.
Along with Boris Johnson, 58, she was also the mother of journalist Rachel Johnson, 57, entrepreneur Leo Johnson, 54 and former Conservative MP Jo Johnson. The ex-Prime Minister’s son Wilfred was her 13th grandchild.
The former Prime Minister has been left £400,000 by his mother in her will after her £1.67million estate was split between her four children Boris, Rachel, Leo and Jo
Talking about bringing up four children, who she taught at home for a year, Mrs Johnson Wahl said: ‘They were quite a handful but I loved them tremendously.
‘I taught them very odd things that I wanted to know, like how to draw a squirrel. It was such fun, so cosy.’
She and husband Stanley Johnson divorced in 1979, after she suffered a mental breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she remained for nine months.
She said: ‘My husband and I were not making each other happy, to put it mildly. It was ghastly, terrible.’
Mrs Johnson Wahl painted a variety of subjects, primarily portraits. She was the subject of an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London in 2015
A biography of Boris claimed her marriage became ‘irredeemably fractured’ due to her husband’s ‘neglect and philandering’.
The Gambler, by Tom Bower, alleged that doctors spoke to Stanley ‘about his abuse’ while the couple’s children were told a car door had hit their mother’s face.
The most shocking claim was that in the 1970s Stanley her in a domestic violence incident that broke her nose and left her requiring hospital treatment.
Mr Bower describes Stanley’s first marriage, to Mr Johnson’s mother Charlotte, as violent and unhappy, quoting her as saying: ‘He broke my nose. He made me feel like I deserved it.’
It was claimed that the incident took place in the 1970s when Mrs Johnson Wahl was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder and had ‘flailed’ at Stanley, who broke her nose when ‘flailing back’.
Stanley, now 81, is said to have deeply regretted the incident and denied he had been violent on any other occasion.
After moving to a flat following her divorce, she refused to accept money from her ex-husband and made a living selling paintings. She later recalled she was ‘very hard up’.
Mrs Johnson Wahl went on to marry the American professor Nicholas Wahl in 1988. She was widowed in 1996 when her second husband died of cancer.
She had moved to New York, where she worked as an artists painting mostly city skyline landscapes, following the wedding.
But she returned to the UK following her husband’s death. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1982, aged 40.
Mrs Johnson-Wahl (pictured left with Boris Johnson, his sister Rachel and brother Leo in 2015) also once explained how she settled on Boris Johnson’s full name – Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson
But she continued to paint despite condition – a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and can cause shaking and stiffness.
Speaking to the Telegraph in 2008, she said: ‘I try to paint every day if I possibly can, though I have to go to the hospital a lot.
‘I still manage to paint, though my arm will suddenly do a movement which is completely unintentional and that almost brings me to tears.’
One of five children, she studied English at Oxford University. But she interrupted her education to travel to America with Stanley Johnson (pictured left with Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie), whom she met at Oxford and married in 1963
Mr Johnson has previously spoken about his mother, and said at the 2019 Conservative Party conference she had taught him to believe in ‘the equal importance, the equal dignity, the equal worth of every human being on the planet’.
She was described in a 2015 article in the Evening Standard as ‘left-wing’.
Boris Johnson’s sister, Rachel, said in the article, about two-party families, ‘We are a very mixed-race family politically and my father tends to marry socialists.
She later described her mother as ‘the only red in the village when we lived on Exmoor’. And she herself once admitted that she had never voted Conservative, despite two of her sons being Tory MPs.
She told the Radio Times in 2015: ‘I find it extraordinary that I should have married a Tory and have four Tory children.
Mrs Johnson Wahl’s death was announced in the births, deaths and marriages section of the Times
‘I’ve never voted Tory in my life. My parents were very socialist – rich socialists with three cars and two houses, but they were socialists in the days when that happened.’
Mrs Johnson Wahl also once explained how she settled on Boris Johnson’s full name – Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
According to the Telegraph, she said: ‘When I was three months pregnant, we travelled to Mexico City by Greyhound bus,’ she said.
‘It was very uncomfortable, I was desperately sick. We stayed with a man called Boris Litwin, who drew me aside and said, ‘You can’t travel back like this, here are two first-class air tickets’.
‘I was so grateful, I said, ‘Whatever the baby is, I shall call it Boris’.’
But she later changed her mind and called him Alexander Boris de Pfeffel.
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