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Dame Norma Major

In office
28 November 1990 - 2 May 1997
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Denis Thatcher
Succeeded by Cherie Blair

Born 12 February 1942 (1942-02-12) (age 68)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) John Major
Children James Major
Elizabeth Major
Occupation Businessman
Religion Anglican

Dame Norma Christina Elizabeth Major DBE, or alternatively named Lady Major (née Johnson, born Wagstaff, 12 February 1942), is the wife of Sir John Major, the former British Prime Minister.

She is the daughter of the late Norman Wagstaff and the late Edith Johnson, and was born Norma Christina Elizabeth Wagstaff. She was born in Shropshire while her father was stationed there. He was killed in a motorcycle accident a few days after the end of World War II and her mother subsequently changed the family name back to her maiden name, so that she was called Norma Johnson as she was growing up. She was educated at a boarding school in Bexhill-on-Sea, Oakfield Preparatory School in Dulwich, and Peckham School for Girls where she was Head Girl. She was a skilled dressmaker and trained as a teacher, working at St Michael and All Angels Church of England School, Camberwell. It was at a Conservative Party meeting during the campaign for the 1970 Greater London Council elections that she was introduced to John Major by Peter Golds, a party agent who knew both. After a brief courtship, they were married on 3 October 1970.

The Majors have a son, James Major, and a daughter, Elizabeth Major. She kept a low profile during her time as wife to the Prime Minister, doing charity work and writing two books, Chequers: The Prime Minister's Country House and its History (1997) and Joan Sutherland: The Authorised Biography (1994). She was in 1993 the subject of an unauthorised but well-regarded biography Norma - A Biography by the Daily Telegraph journalist Tim Walker. She was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours, in recognition of her charity work. She and her husband are one of the few couples to both hold titles in their own right.

Titles from birth

Major's styles since her birth in chronological order are:

  • Miss Norma Wagstaff (1942–45)
  • Miss Norma Johnson (1945–70)
  • Mrs. John Major (1970–99)
  • Dame Norma Major, DBE (1999–present)
  • Lady Major, DBE (2005–present)

Norma Major is legally confined with the title "Dame" by which she is named in legal documents. As the wife of a Knight of the Garter she may use also the courtesy title of "Lady" before her surname, provided she uses her husband’s surname. As Lady she has higher precedence than as Dame. However, Norma Major prefers to use the style "Dame Norma Major" as she acquired this distinction in her own right.

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Denis Thatcher
Spouse of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
1990–1997
Succeeded by
Cherie Blair







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