Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have chosen a photo of their rescue dog Dilyn rather than baby Wilfred for their official Christmas card, despite previous Prime Ministers sharing family photos of their children.
The couple’s son Wilfred is now seven months old, and was first seen in July being held by Carrie during a Zoom call to thank midwives who helped deliver him at University College Hospital on April 29.
But neither Wilfred nor his parents featured on the Downing Street Christmas card this year, with the honour instead given to Jack Russell Dilyn, who is pictured donning green tinsel around his neck as he gazes into the distance.
Twitter wags couldn’t resist noting one comparison to his owner, with several joking that they ‘must share the same hair stylist’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has chosen his beloved Jack Russell cross, Dilyn, to star on the front of his Christmas card which he has jointly sent out with his fiancee, Carrie Symonds
Many of Mr Johnson’s predecessors, including Tony Blair and David Cameron, put themselves and their (human) loved ones in the spotlight
Twitter wags couldn’t resist noting one comparison to his owner, with several joking that they must share the same hair stylist
The Camerons’ card in 2008 featured David and Samantha with their children Nancy, four, Arthur, two, and six-year-old Ivan, who tragically died the following year.
In 1998, Tony and Cherie Blair’s card featured Euan, 14, Nicky, 13, and Katherine, 10.
Theresa and Philip May did not have children and instead opted for illustrations by youngsters in Maidenhead, the PM’s constituency.
Gordon Brown has three children but choose to feature drawings by artists instead, including The Gruffalo illustrator Axel Schleffer.
Although Wilfred was not pictured on this year’s card, his name did appear underneath a message inside, alongside those of his parents.
‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,’ it read.
Social media users poked fun at the card, with one writing ‘bit of a snub to Larry’, in reference to the Number 10 cat brought in by Mr Cameron.
Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds are believed to be determined to avoid making their newborn into a ‘public figure’ – which is likely to have influenced decision not to picture him.
For Wilfred’s first photo, Ms Symonds is understood to have deliberately turned his face away from the camera.
The approach contrasts with the path taken by previous Prime Ministers who had babies wile in office.
Carrie and Boris together with Wilfred during a Zoom call in July with midwives who helped deliver their son
2008 – David and Samantha Cameron’s Christmas card, showing their children Nancy, Arthur and Ivan, who tragically died
1998 – Tony and Cherie Blair’s card, including their children Euan (left), 14, Nicky (right), 13, and Kathryn (front), 10
Both Mr Cameron and Mr Blair regularly posed for photographs in and around No10 with their newborns Florence and Leo.
However Mr Brown maintained strict rules against photographing his young sons when he lived in Downing Street, with the world only ever seeing the boys when they accompanied the departing premier on his last day in office.
An insider said shortly after Wilfred’s birth: ‘I would expect Boris and Carrie to be more Gordon than Tony.’
The Prime Minister and his fiancee revealed the blond boy’s full name to be Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, in part a tribute to two leading NHS doctors who ‘saved Boris’ life last month’ following his touch-and-go battle with Covid-19.
Ms Symonds said that ‘my heart is full’ in the caption accompanying the first picture of the pair’s first child.
She added: ‘Thank you so, so much to the incredible NHS maternity team at UCLH that looked after us so well. I couldn’t be happier.’
Mr Johnson was understood to have told friends he was ‘utterly thrilled’ with the arrival of his new son, who is believed to be his sixth child.
2006 – Gordon Brown’s Christmas Card designed by Axel Schleffer, best known for his illustrations of The Gruffalo (left). 2018 – Theresa May’s card, (right) which was drawn by nine-year-old Dexter Van Elkan who attends a school in her Maidenhead and Twyford constituency
2016 – Mrs May released several different cards in 2016, including this one illustrated by Sophie Brazil
Meanwhile, Dilyn has undergone a remarkable turnaround in fate since Mr Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds, an animal rights campaigner, rescued him last year.
He was discarded as a puppy from a breeder in South Wales and was due to be put down until the couple adopted him from Friends of Animals Wales (FOAW) rescue centre.
They had hoped to promote Lucy’s Law – a crackdown on puppy farms by taking in the mutt, who has a misaligned jaw.
After moving into Downing Street last September, a spokesman for the prime minister said: ‘The PM has always been a passionate supporter of animal welfare and believes in giving animals the best start in life.’
Dilyn, now two, is not new to the limelight having previously been pictured in Ms Symonds arms on the Prime Minster’s family holiday to the Scottish Highlands in August.
The adorable dog even helped Ms Symonds earn the ‘person of the year’ award from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The animal rights group cited Dilyn as evidence that the 32-year-old was setting a personal example as a ‘fearless force for good’ for animal welfare.
Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds with the No10 dog Dilyn in the gardens of Downing Street