Heartbreak for Mark Drakeford as First Minister of Wales' beloved wife Clare dies suddenly - 'Married for 45 years'
Published: 28/01/2023- 15:18
Updated: 28/01/2023- 15:42
The wife of Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford, Clare Drakeford, has died suddenly, the Welsh Government has confirmed.
A statement read: "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.”
Mark and Clare Drakeford were married in 1977 and have three grown-up children together.
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, following the death of Clare Drakeford. “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.”
Mr Drakeford’s wife kept herself out of the limelight and the First Minister has often spoken about his desire to keep his family from the public eye.
The Covid pandemic in 2020 left Mrs Drakeford confined to the four walls of the couple’s Cardiff home, as she followed medical advice to shield from coronavirus.
In February 2021, Mr Drakeford revealed he had been forced to temporarily stay away from his “vulnerable” wife for most of the preceding year in order to keep her safe.
It was revealed the First Minister had been living in a separate building in the garden of his family home while Clare stayed inside the main property.
Speaking at the time, Mr Drakeford said: "It is a bit emotional.
Mark Drakeford had spoken of his desire to keep his family out of the public eye
"I’ve been married for a very long time and not to be in the house and to be at a physical distance, even though we saw each other every day and talked every day, it was a puzzling experience in that sort of way and for that to be over it is a bit emotional for everybody.”
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.”
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said she is sending Mark Drakeford “love and strength” following the news that his wife, Clare, has died suddenly.
“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.”
Welsh Conservatives leader 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.”