Martha Hancock’s oversized sunglasses could not quite hide her devastation on Friday as she stepped out of her London home before a bank of flashing cameras.
On Friday night, Mrs Hancock was seen leaving the family home with what appeared to be overnight bags, though it was not clear where she was going.
Yet the mother-of-three has remained quietly dignified, refusing to comment on her husband’s alleged infidelity.
An old friend described her as "sweet and lovely", adding that her family was "hugely important" to her and that she would be horrified about the effect it would have on her children. Mrs Hancock, a 44-year-old osteopath, has long protected her family life, opting to keep a low profile and largely swerving big public events.
Born Martha Hoyer Millar, she enjoyed a privileged upbringing, descended from a baron and a viscount.
Her father, Alastair Hoyer Millar, 84, an Old Etonian, was secretary of The Pilgrim Trust between 1980 and 1996. The organisation supplies grants to preserve historically significant buildings or artefacts. Her mother, Virginia Hoyer Millar, 70, is an antiques dealer who co-founded North West Eight Antiques.
Mrs Hancock is the granddaughter of Frederick Millar, 1st Baron Inchyra, a British diplomat who served as an ambassador to West Germany from 1955 to 1956, and the great-granddaughter of the 1st Viscount Camrose, a Welsh newspaper publisher.
Matt Hancock and his wife Martha, pictured in London earlier this month
Credit: Greg Brennan
In 1928, Lord Camrose bought The Telegraph in partnership with his brother, James Berry, the 1st Viscount Kemsley. On his death in 1954, his son Seymour Berry, 2nd Viscount Camrose, took over the chairmanship with his brother Michael Berry, Baron Hartwell, as editor-in-chief, before The Telegraph Group was bought by the Canadian businessman Conrad Black in 1986.
Mrs Hancock’s brother, Chris Hoyer Millar, is a former journalist who retrained as a lawyer and now works in the commercial dispute resolution team for Penningtons Manches Cooper.
She is said to have met her future husband while they were both students at the University of Oxford in the early 2000s. Both are dyslexic, and the Health Secretary once said dyslexia had helped them to bond. The couple married in 2006 and have three children, a daughter and two sons aged 14, 13 and eight.
The family split their time between a house in north London and Little Thurlow, in West Suffolk, Mr Hancock’s constituency.
He told the Telegraph last year that lockdown had created the kind of educational challenges in his own household faced by countless others across the country, noting that "of course, Martha’s borne the brunt of it". He later acknowledged that he did not take on an equal share of domestic duties at home and said: "Thank God Martha is totally wonderful in looking after the children and looking after me, and it’s really tough."
In an interview with the Financial Times in 2014, the MP revealed that his "work-life balance is a challenge", adding: "I pay a lot of attention to timetabling. Both my professional and social and family time gets booked up a long way in advance, and then you have to be strict about it."
Mrs Hancock keeps a low profile online but has used her Facebook page to champion animal rights, encouraging friends to sign petitions calling for a ban on pig cages, chicken factory farms and the sale of eggs from caged hens.
She was last photographed with her husband at the England vs Scotland Euro 2020 match at Wembley a week ago.
Mrs Hancock, who was still wearing her wedding ring on Friday, works at a clinic in Notting Hill, west London.
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