Boris Johnson’s first wife marries again

Jan 8, 2010
Rachel Helyer-Donaldson

Allegra Mostyn-Owen’s marriage to a mystery Muslim man 22 years her junior is likely to be worlds apart from life with Boris

The mayor of London's first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, has married again, 17 years after she divorced Boris Johnson. Her second marriage is likely to be worlds apart from her life with fellow Oxford graduate Boris: Mostyn-Owen's new husband is a Muslim, 22 years her junior.
Yesterday Mostyn-Owen, 45, revealed how she shocked her family by secretly marrying the 23-year-old, who she has not named because his Pakistani family is unaware of their relationship. The couple married in a mosque and then in a register office.
Mostyn-Owen - who is the only daughter of Italian writer Gaia Servadio and art historian William Mostyn-Owen - described how she announced the marriage to her family on Christmas day. The news did not go down well, she admitted in the London Evening Standard yesterday.
"My mum accused me of spoiling her Christmas and was sure I am heading for a nervous breakdown," she wrote. Her father, meanwhile, was "very annoyed, saying he'd only tolerated 'him' - the Muslim - because our relationship had kept me off the booze."
She added: "Nobody asked his name, whether we were happy, what our plans are and what his livelihood is."
Mostyn-Owen met Johnson when they were students at Oxford University. Boris went on to become president of the Oxford Union while Allegra was one of society's most glamorous debutantes, gracing the cover of Tatler in 1984 (see inset, above). They married in 1987, both aged 23, in a shambolic ceremony in which Johnson forgot his morning suit and was forced to borrow clothing and cufflinks from Tory MP John Briffen. Within an hour of being married, he had lost his wedding ring.
Perhaps not surprisingly after that inauspicious start, the couple eventually split up, divorcing in 1993. Both were working as journalists, Allegra for the Evening Standard while Boris was based in Brussels for the Daily Telegraph. Twelve days after the divorce came through Johnson married Marina Wheeler, his current wife, who was already heavily pregnant.  
Following her split with Johnson, Mostyn-Owen dropped out of society and became an artist. She now runs workshops for young Muslims at an East London mosque.
Mostyn-Owen may have to her share her new husband with other wives - as sanctioned by the Prophet Muhammed. She wrote in her Standard article: "At my current ripe/mature/middle-aged stage in life, I realise that I am unlikely to conceive children so we have agreed that so long as he chooses a good partner, then I am happy to live together in an extended family."

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