Samantha Gwendoline Sheffield (born 18 April 1971) is a British business executive and wife of David Cameron MP, the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the mother of their three children as well as a now-deceased fourth child.
Until 13 May 2010 Cameron was the creative director of stationers Smythson of Bond Street. She took on a part-time consultancy role after her husband became Prime Minister.
Cameron is the elder daughter of Sir Reginald Adrian Berkeley Sheffield, 8th Baronet (a landowner descended from King Charles II of England) and his first wife Annabel Lucy Veronica Jones. Cameron is a distant cousin of Diana, Princess of Wales. Sir Reginald and Annabel married on 11 November 1969; Samantha was born in 1971, Emily in 1973; the couple divorced in 1974. Her mother remarried William Waldorf Astor, 4th Viscount Astor. They reside at Ginge Manor.
Cameron grew up on the 300-acre estate of Normanby Hall, five miles north of Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire. Her family also owns a large Yorkshire estate called Sutton Park.
Cameron was educated at the School of St Helen and St Katharine, an independent school for girls in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and then took A levels at Marlborough College, a co-educational independent school in Wiltshire. She did an art foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts and then went on to study Fine Art at the School of Creative Arts, part of the University of the West of England.
A Marlborough College school friend of David Cameron's sister Clare, the pair first met at a party at the Cameron's family house when Samantha was 16. After graduating from Bristol School of Creative Arts, Clare invited her on a Cameron family holiday in Tuscany, Italy, from where the romance with David started. The couple married on 1 June 1996 at the Church of St. Augustine of Canterbury, East Hendred, Oxfordshire, five years before he became an MP.
The couple have had four children: Ivan Reginald Ian (8 April 2002 Hammersmith and Fulham, London – 25 February 2009, Paddington, London); Nancy Gwen Beatrice (born 19 January 2004, Westminster, London), Arthur Elwen (born 14 February 2006, Westminster) and Florence Rose Endellion (born 24 August 2010, Cornwall). Ivan was born with a rare combination of cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy and died at the age of six at St Mary's Hospital, London. Florence Cameron's third given name, Endellion, is taken from the Cornish village of St Endellion. The couple's fourth child was born early while the Camerons were on holiday in Cornwall.
Cameron's work as the head of Smythson of Bond Street has won her a British Glamor Magazine Award for Best Accessory Designer. She has been noted as turning the company around and establishing it as a fashionable and popular brand. She also worked as a spokesperson for Shiatzy Chen.
Two days after her husband became Prime Minister, she announced she was stepping down from her full-time role to take on a consultancy role within Smythson for two days a week. She said that choice was hers alone and had been made after she discovered she was pregnant again and after what she described as an "understandably difficult year", attributed to the death of her first child, Ivan.
Cameron serves as Ambassador for the British Fashion Council and plays a prominent role in London Fashion Week. In 2010, she was named in Tatler’s top 10 best-dressed list.
During March 2010, the Daily Mail reported that Cameron may have voted for Tony Blair's Labor party, and that she might vote for Gordon Brown in the 2010 general election, following comments made by Shadow Arts Minister, Ed Vaizey to Andrew Rawnsley during the making of a documentary for Channel 4. However, a Conservative spokesman issued a statement to blogger Iain Dale, stating that "The Mail on Sunday story is not true. Sam has never voted Labour and never will. She took five weeks off work to campaign for the Tories in Stafford in the 1997 general election". Samantha Cameron then issued her own statement: "I did not vote for Tony Blair in 1997 and I have never voted Labor".
Cameron is credited with coining the phrase "There is such a thing as society, it's just not the same thing as the state", which has been said several times by David Cameron, including in his victory speech following his victory in the Conservative party leadership election in 2005. This is a reference to Margaret Thatcher's often misquoted phrase "There is no such thing as society". The Camerons are key members of the Chipping Norton set.
Cameron's maternal great-grandparents were Sir Roderick Jones (a Chairman of Reuters) and the novelist Enid Bagnold. Her maternal grandmother, Pandora Clifford, was the second wife of The Hon. Michael Astor. Her stepfather is William Astor, 4th Viscount Astor. On her maternal grandmother's side she is a great-great-granddaughter of John Murton Gundry, president of the Cleveland Trust Company.
Samantha has also descended from Countess Mathilde von Limburg-Stirum, former fiancée of William, Prince of Orange.
Through her Clifford of Chudleigh ancestors, who are descendants of Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII of England, Cameron is also a descendant of the Barons Arundell of Wardour and of Margaret Howard, sister of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII of England. She is also a descendant of King Charles II of England and therefore related to the Spencer family.