The moment the future Mrs Sunak beams with joy as she poses alongside a Beefeater while touring the capital’s landmarks (including Downing Street!) as it’s revealed she later gushed about falling in love with ‘magical’ Britain
- EXCLUSIVE: Old photos show Akshata Murty’s first visit to the UK back in 1989
- The Prime Minister’s wife is seen posing, nine-years-old, at the Tower of London
- One of Akshata’s close friends Amrita Naik said she raved about the UK on return
- ‘She had fallen in love with the UK from that moment,’ she told The Mail last night
The young girl smiling with delight as she posed with a Beefeater at the Tower of London was enthralled by her first visit to the UK, breathlessly telling her friends back home in India that it was a ‘magical’ place.
As she toured the capital’s landmarks, including Downing Street, little Akshata Murty could hardly have imagined that one day she would return – and end up living in No 10.
The fascinating picture of Rishi Sunak’s wife, aged around nine, shows her posing with her little brother Rohan and her father Narayana during the family’s first holiday abroad in 1989.
The fascinating picture of Rishi Sunak’s wife, aged around nine, shows her posing with her little brother Rohan and her father Narayana during the family’s first holiday abroad in 1989 pictured outside the Tower of London with a Beefeater
Narayana, wearing a hooped jumper and a yellow backpack as he trod London’s streets, had saved up with his wife Sudha, an engineer, to afford the expensive holiday.
At the time he was trying to get his fledgling IT company Infosys off the ground. It would be several years until the company’s fortunes soared, earning Narayana billions and turning him into one of India’s richest businessmen.
One of Akshata’s close friends, Amrita Naik, recalled her childhood pal returning home from the London holiday raving about Britain.
Amrita Naik with young Akshata Murty in their teens. Amrita, recalled her childhood pal returning home from the London holiday raving about Britain. ‘I think she had fallen in love with the UK from that moment,’ she told The Mail on Sunday
‘I think she had fallen in love with the UK from that moment,’ she told The Mail on Sunday. ‘It was all she spoke about for weeks. She gave me the picture of her with her brother and father and a Beefeater at the Tower of London.
‘It was an amazing thing to see as an Indian girl. It was a world so far away, like something you only see in books.’
Amrita, now 43, grew up a few streets from the Murty family home in the middle-class Jayanagar district of Bangalore. She said that despite amassing an estimated £4 billion fortune, Akshata’s parents still live in the same house they moved into more than 40 years ago.
Amrita (left) and Akshata (right) in their early 20s. Amrita, recalling Akshata’s first trip to London said: ‘It was an amazing thing to see as an Indian girl. It was a world so far away, like something you only see in books’
‘Everyone focuses on Akshata being so rich but her upbringing was not like that,’ Amrita said. ‘That is not the Akshata I know. She had a humble upbringing – simple, middle-class and lovely. I remember her being so excited about everything. She was a cute, petite girl with giant glasses on her face.’
She recalled how she would squeeze into a tuk-tuk with other pupils to attend Baldwin Girls’ High School where Akshata, now 42, excelled at her studies and ‘always had her nose in a book’.
She also said Akshata would use the pocket money she earned from doing chores for her parents to treat fellow pupils to street food. They would also borrow each other’s clothes, with a polka-dot dress of Amrita’s being a particular favourite of her bookish but fashion-conscious friend.
Akshata met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2006 while studying for an MBA at Stanford University. They married three years later and went on to have two daughters Krishna, 11, and Anoushka, nine
Today Akshata was seen overseeing removal men moving their belongings from their £6.6 million Kensington townhouse into Downing Street
Wearing slippers Akshata was seen assisting movers bring their belongings into No 10 today
Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister earlier this week following the resignation of Liz Truss
Amrita, who still lives in Bangalore, added: ‘There used to be power outages all the time back in those days. Her dad had one light that was solar-powered so I would go to her house to study and sleep over. And when that light ran out, we would study by candlelight.’
All that studying paid off and Akshata went on to study economics and French at the private Claremont McKenna College in California, then earn a diploma from an LA fashion college before studying for an MBA at Stanford University, where she met Mr Sunak in 2006. They married three years later and went on to have two daughters Krishna, 11, and Anoushka, nine.
Amrita said she attended their ‘beautiful’ wedding celebrations in New York and India, adding: ‘Akshata is a really loyal friend. She has stayed by me in some difficult times. We may live many miles apart now but she is still in touch. It is just amazing that she is the First Lady of the UK now. Your country is very lucky to have her.’
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