Jason Watkin's wife and children - everything to know about Clara Francis and the couple's family life

They've been married for nine years.

Actor Jason Watkins and his wife Clara Francis posing together on the BFI red carpet
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

Jason Watkins and his wife Clara Francis have opened up on the loss of their 2-year-old daughter in ITV documentary Jason and Clara: In Memory of Maudie.

We're used to seeing Jason Watkins put in scene-stealing performances on screen in a number of drama series. Many will know the actor from his roles in TV shows such as The Catch, Line of Duty and McDonald and Dodds, plus films Nativity and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies - with the latter earning Watkins a Best Actor BAFTA in 2015. March 2023 however, sees Jason appear as himself, alongside wife Clara Francis, in a documentary thats set to make for emotional viewing. The husband and wife are opening up on the death of their daughter Maude who died from sepsis back in 2011. Jason and Clara hope to raise awareness around the condition and the symptoms to spot.

We've shared more details on Jason Watkin's wife Clara Francis, their marriage and everything to know about their children.

Who is Jason Watkin's wife, Clara Francis?

Actor Jason Watkins is married to Clara Francis, a jewellery and fashion designer. The couple became engaged in 2009 and tied the knot on January 25, 2014.

Clara opened up on how she met her husband in an interview with Love My Dress. "Jason and I have had a chequered past," she said. "We met 24 years ago when I was working in the wardrobe department at the Young Vic Theatre and Jason was working there. We were together for 2 years then went our separate ways (although always remained friends)".

Clara and Jason then rekindled their relationship and have been together ever since.

She continued: "We then got back together 10 years ago, older but not necessarily wiser and had been engaged for 5 of those years before our wedding took place on 25th January this year.”

The ceremony took place at Wilton's Music Hall in London, surrounded by close family and friends. The bride wore a vintage Edwardian wedding dress and walked down the aisle to ‘Moon River’, sung by Danny Williams.

Clara's love for vintage clothing led to a new business venture in 2019. She co-founded fashion retailer O Pioneers with PR and seamstress Tania Hindmarch, selling vintage-inspired dresses, jumpers and other accessories. 

"Our main idea: a few simple, feminine and flattering designs, hand-crafted in the most beautiful, end of stock, heritage fabrics. This means most of our pieces are limited editions and one offs," explains their website.

Prior to O Pioneers, Clara was a jewellery designer specialising in bespoke beaded pieces. Whilst her fashion business is now her main priority, Clara's website states that she is "still available for special commissions and one off pieces".

Does Jason Watkins have children?

Yes Jason Watkins shares two children with wife Clara - daughter Bessie and son Gilbert. Jason also has two sons, Freddie and Pip, from his first marriage to actress Caroline Harding.

Jason and his second wife Clara were also parents to daughter Maude who passed away aged 2 on New Year's Day 2011. Maude died from sepsis - when the body experiences a life-threatening reaction to an infection.

The couple have opened up about their daughter's death in a new ITV documentary titled Jason and Clara: In Memory of Maudie. In an emotional clip, Jason recalls the moment he found out his daughter had died.

"Bessie came in and said 'I can't wake Maude. And so I went into her room and I saw her on the cot and she was lying flat," he said. "And there was a trickle of blood that had dried in her mouth so I knew she died straight away. I felt fate had been cruel and we had been smashed around in a storm. That's how it felt."

Jason and Clara took Maude to A&E twice. Suffering from the flu, the parents believe that these flu symptoms masked the sepsis which led to her misdiagnosis of croup and being sent home to rest instead.

"I suppose you blame yourself, well, I do," Jason said in an interview with Good Morning Britain. "I was there when she was discharged from hospital for a second time."

He added: "She had breathing difficulties, which is a common symptom of sepsis. Her eyes were rolling in the back of her head. Didn't they see what she was like when we came into A&E."

Clara similarly harbours regrets over her daughter's death. "Because the doctors kept saying, 'its fine' I thought 'oh ok'. (…)," she told Giovanna Fletcher on her Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast. "Because, before something like this happens you are trusting of doctors (…) you kind of go 'if the doctor, who went to medical school, is telling me this then I'm going to believe it.' But when I look back my instinct was, no this is really serious. And I wish I had been more trusting of my instinct, which I am now."

12 years on from Maude's passing, Jason and Clara continue to campaign for better awareness of recognising the signs of sepsis.

For further support or information about bereavement and grief, contact mental health charity Mind on 0300 123 3393 or via their website.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.