of Jacob Rees-Mogg's niece who's set to steal her uncle's tag as Britain's poshest MP

Daily Mail Online 1 month ago

Jacob Rees-Mogg is set to lose his tag as Britain's poshest MP if his even posher niece manages to win the seat of Stafford for the Tories next month.

MailOnline can reveal that Theodora Roosevelt Clarke is not only a descendant of one of America's most revered presidents and the daughter of a baronet, she is currently dating the step-son of an Earl.

Indeed, her new beau is the 34-year-old's only connection to Stafford, where she beat 87 other hopefuls to secure the Conservative nomination.

So supported is she by No 10 that she has been pictured standing alongside Carrie Symonds while hugging the PM's beloved pooch Dilyn.

Theodora Clarke, 34, pictured on the campaign trail yesterday with Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds, is bidding to become a new Conservative MP by taking the seat of Stafford
Theodora Clarke, 34, pictured on the campaign trail yesterday with Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds, is bidding to become a new Conservative MP by taking the seat of Stafford 
Ms Clarke is pictured out canvassing with the Tory leader Boris Johnson. She has associates in in high places with Mr Johnson's girlfriend calling her 'one of her oldest friends in politics'
Ms Clarke is pictured out canvassing with the Tory leader Boris Johnson. She has associates in in high places with Mr Johnson's girlfriend calling her 'one of her oldest friends in politics'

But a blue-blooded battle could yet unfold on the green benches because Ms Clarke is no fan of her 'uncle' Mr Rees-Mogg, dubbed the Honourable Member for the 18th century.

When Mail Online contacted Ms Clarke, she made clear there was no blood link between the two of them, insisting we refer to him as, 'uncle by marriage'.

Ms Clarke is the niece of Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured)
Ms Clarke is the niece of Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured) 

Their feud erupted in February of last year after Mr Rees-Mogg was pictured on the steps of Downing Street handing in a petition calling for the slashing of the Foreign Aid budget.

This infuriated Ms Clarke, the founder and CEO of the Bill Gates-funded Coalition for Global Prosperity, whose mission is to present Britain as a 'force for good in the world'.

She sent a series of retweets including one from the Guardian's Matthew D'Ancona who described Rees-Mogg as, 'a well-spoken mortician come to collect the corpse of compassion'.

One former work colleague said: 'Poor Theo. If there was one thing she kept quiet about it was her family link to Rees-Mogg.

'She was mortified when he used the Oxfam scandal (in which staff were implicated in sex-for-aid revelations) to campaign against International Aid. It's something she is passionate about.'

That is not their only point of conflict.

She has also campaigned on women's issues, not something the Leader of the House was known for, and when it comes to the family pecking order her family line is so steeped in privilege that it makes his look positively ordinaire.

The Tory hopeful, seen outside Number 10 Downing Street, stayed in an apartment at her uncle's ancestral Somerset home, but relations between the pair are strained, say friends
The Tory hopeful, seen outside Number 10 Downing Street, stayed in an apartment at her uncle's ancestral Somerset home, but relations between the pair are strained, say friends
Ms Clarke is dating dating the Earl of Harrowby's step-son, Henry Coram James. One of his two family seats is Sandon Hall, a 19th Century house conveniently, just five miles from Stafford
Ms Clarke is dating dating the Earl of Harrowby's step-son, Henry Coram James. One of his two family seats is Sandon Hall, a 19th Century house conveniently, just five miles from Stafford

The clue to her background is in her name, Theodora Roosevelt – one letter different from Theodore Roosevelt, America's President from 1901-9 and one so highly-regarded that his face adorns Mount Rushmore.

This wasn't a case of her father being an obsessive fan but because, through his line, she is actually related to the great man as first cousin four times removed.

Ms Clarke's boyfriend Henry (above) was educated at the £12k-a-term Stowe School
Ms Clarke's boyfriend Henry (above) was educated at the £12k-a-term Stowe School

Her father, Sir Charles Mansfield Tobias Clarke, was the 6th Baronet of Dunham Lodge, but he died in September. 

Were it not for Britain's reliance on primogeniture, she, as his eldest child, would have become only the fifth baronetess in history.

Instead, that honour passes to her younger brother and only male heir – Sir Charles Lawrence Somerset Clarke, a 29-year-old former Olympian, who finished fourth in the London 2012 110m hurdles.

Most of the country's 1,314 baronetcies were created by James I in 1611 to pay for the war he was waging on Ireland but Dunham Lodge was created by William IV in 1831.

It ennobled Theodora's great, great, great, great, great grandfather who was Royal Physician to Queen Adelaide and became the 1st Baronet in the family. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg's wife wife Helena de Chair (pictured handing out election leaflets with their children) is the half-sister to Theodora's mother, Teresa Loraine Aphrodite de Chair
Jacob Rees-Mogg's wife wife Helena de Chair (pictured handing out election leaflets with their children) is the half-sister to Theodora's mother, Teresa Loraine Aphrodite de Chair
When relations with her uncle were better Ms Clarke fought two general election campaigns for the Conservative's in Bristol East from her uncle's Gournay Court home in Somerset (above)
When relations with her uncle were better Ms Clarke fought two general election campaigns for the Conservative's in Bristol East from her uncle's Gournay Court home in Somerset (above)

His son, the 2nd Baronet was a rector and Justice of the Peace and since then, every generation has been educated at Eton and most have gone on to glittering careers in the service of Empire or finance.

Ms Clarke's connection to the American President is, like her connection to Jacob Rees-Mogg, by marriage, but this one gives her a great deal more pride.

One friend told Mailnline: 'Two of Theo's inspirational quotes on her Facebook page are from Theodore Roosevelt. Hell would freeze over before she quoted uncle Jacob on there.'

It was the 4th Baronet, Orme Bigland Clarke, her great grandfather and a man credited with designing the Palestinian legal system after World War I, who married Elfrida Roosevelt to provide the familial link.

Her mother's side of the family provides her connection to Mr Rees-Mogg.

His wife Helena de Chair is half-sister to Theodora's mother, Teresa Loraine Aphrodite de Chair, sharing a father Somerset de Chair who edited several volumes of Napoleon's memoirs.

If Ms Clarke (with party leader Boris Johnson) is successful in taking the parliamentary seat on Stafford in the Dec 13 general election she will eclipse Rees-Mogg as Britain's poshest MP
If Ms Clarke (with party leader Boris Johnson) is successful in taking the parliamentary seat on Stafford in the Dec 13 general election she will eclipse Rees-Mogg as Britain's poshest MP
Ms Clarke is seen far right with 'good friend' Carrie Symonds alongside Boris Johnson. Carrie said yesterday that she first met Ms Clarke 10 years ago when they worked for Zac Goldsmith
Ms Clarke is seen far right with 'good friend' Carrie Symonds alongside Boris Johnson. Carrie said yesterday that she first met Ms Clarke 10 years ago when they worked for Zac Goldsmith

Relations between the two sides of the family dynasty were not always so tense. Back in 2015 and 2017 Theodora fought two general election campaigns for the Conservative's in Bristol East, using the Rees-Mogg's country pile in nearby Somerset as her base.

It didn't go well. Across the two elections, Labour's majority increased from 3,722 to 13,394.

One friend who helped out on the campaign trail said: 'She is very enthusiastic about big issues but when she heard people complaining about mundane stuff like bus services and defective traffic lights, her eyes did rather glaze over.'

But that record didn't stop members of Stafford Conservative Association choosing her to replace retiring MP Jeremy Lefroy.

And she has recently discovered a suitably aristocratic local connection to the area, by dating the Earl of Harrowby's step-son, Henry Coram James.

One of his two family seats is Sandon Hall, a 19th Century house set in 400 acres of parkland and, conveniently, just five miles from Stafford.

Henry's mother, Lady Harrowby, an author of racy novels, declined to comment when asked her about Theodora's campaign. 'I've been asked to say nothing,' she said.

In aristocratic circles, for the daughter of a humble Baronet, widely regarded as 'lesser noblity' an Earl's stepson represents some catch. 

h
Ms Clarke's father, Sir Charles Mansfield Tobias Clarke (pictured with her mother Teresa, left), was the 6th Baronet of Dunham Lodge. Her brother is Sir Charles Lawrence Somerset Clarke, a 29-year-old former Olympian, who finished fourth in the London 2012 110m hurdles (right)
Ms Clarke's illustrious family tree shows she is a first cousin four times removed from the late, great US President Theodore Roosevelt, whose face adorns Mount Rushmore (above)
Ms Clarke's illustrious family tree shows she is a first cousin four times removed from the late, great US President Theodore Roosevelt, whose face adorns Mount Rushmore (above)

And in a curious way replicates the trajectory of the very first female MP ever to be elected to the House of Commons.

Constance Georgine Gore-Booth was also a London-born baronet's daughter who married higher up the nobility chain and became Countess Markievicz, winning her place in history in the 1918 general election.

There the similarities end. The Countess won in Dublin St Patrick but being a member of Sinn Fein never took up her seat whereas if Ms Clarke beats off Labour's challenge in Stafford next month she will certainly be heading to the Commons. 

Uncle (by marriage) Jacob, you have been warned.

Tags: Sinn Fein

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