Rishi Sunak: Everything to know about the new Prime Minister

He's the one of the richest and youngest Prime Ministers in British history, and the first first person of South Asian origin to take on the role

A head and shoulders shot of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak is making history as one of Britain's youngest and richest Prime Ministers, and the first person of colour to lead the country. So how did he get to where he is today?

The former Chancellor is no stranger to the limelight, his face well-known during the pandemic for schemes such as furlough and Eat Out to Help Out, while more recently he's been in the headlines for his participation in both of the Conservative leadership races.

It's hardly surprising that the public want to know more about both the new PM's personal life and policies - from what is Rishi Sunak's net worth to how did he vote on Brexit, just like they were asking does Liz Truss have children when she took up office. But while he's not one to shy away from the spotlight, there remains some questions about Rishi Sunak that people want answered.

Rishi Sunak: Background Q&As

How tall is Rishi Sunak?

Rishi Sunak is 5ft 6. That makes him roughly six inches shorter than the average man in the UK and one foot and 3 inches shorter than the tallest man in Parliament, Daniel Kawczynski. 

As Prime Minister, Sunak is now the shortest male PM in the UK since Winston Churchill, who was also around 5ft 6.

Rishi Sunak walking with Dominic Raab and Alistair Jack

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How old is Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak is 42 years old, making him Britain's youngest Prime Minister in modern political history. Previously, David Cameron and Tony Blair were jointly the youngest Prime Minister of modern times, as both were 43 when appointed. 

Other than Liz Truss, who is 47, only two other Prime Ministers have taken office under the age of 50: John Major and Harold Wilson.

However, during the 18th Century there were a number of Prime Ministers appointed in their 30s, while William Pitt the Younger holds the record of youngest British Prime Minister in history, just 24 years old when he was appointed.

Where is Rishi Sunak from?

Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton on 12 May 1980. He is the eldest of three siblings and from a Hindu family - a religion he still practices. Rishi Sunak takes the Oath of Allegiance at the House of Commons on Bhagavad Gita.

According to Tatler, Sunak worked as a waiter in a curry house in Southampton the summer before he went to university.

Sunak has also lived in Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and California, where he studied at Stanford University for his MBA.

He now lives in Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton, where he has been the MP for Richmond (Yorkshire) since 2015, succeeding another Conservative Party leader, William Hague.

However, he maintains a connection with his home town and is a supporter of Southampton Football Club.

Which school did Rishi Sunak go to?

Rishi Sunak first attended a preparatory school in Southampton called Oakmount, before moving to the prestigious Stroud School in Hampshire, after his first school closed down.

He then went on to attend Winchester College, an independent boarding school for boys, where he was head boy and edited the school newspaper, The Wykehamist.

Sunak went on to graduate from Lincoln College Oxford in 2001, and then became a Fulbright Scholar - which allowed him to study at Stanford University in California and earn a Masters degree in Business Administration.

In an interview with Sky News in April 2022, Sunak talked about his prestigious education at Winchester College, saying: "I was really lucky… it was something that was really extraordinary. It certainly put my life on a different trajectory… it’s part of the reason I’m sitting here. I’m really grateful.

"I look back on that time, it’s helped make me who I am as a person. I’m sure it helps me do the job [of Chancellor] in the way I do it."

Who are Rishi Sunak's parents?

Sunak's father was a GP and his mother ran a local chemist shop in Southampton, which he worked in when he was young.

His parents, Yashvir and Usha Sunak, were both born in East Africa and had since moved to the UK. In a video Sunak released to kick of his initial campaign for the Conservative leadership on Twitter, he talks about his mother first arriving in the UK. He said, "Let me tell you a story about a young woman almost a lifetime ago who boarded a plane armed with hope for a better life and the love of her family."

Sunak's paternal grandfather, Ramdas Sunak, was from Gujranwala (in present-day Pakistan), but moved to Nairobi in 1935 to work as a clerk and was later joined by his wife Suhag Rani Sunak from Delhi, in 1937.

According to Business Standard, Rishi Sunak speaks basic Hindi and Punjabi, though growing up his links with India were tenuous because all of his close relatives had emigrated.

In a BBC TV debate during the previous Conservative leadership campaign, Rishi Sunak talked about his experience growing up in an immigrant family: "My parents were part of an immigrant family that came here. They didn’t start with very much, but they worked day and night, saved and sacrificed to provide a better future for their three children.

"And I am nothing but enormously grateful for everything that they did for me. I’m certainly not going to apologise for the fact that they worked hard, and they aspired to do that for their kids."

Who is Rishi Sunak's wife?

Rishi Sunak is married to Akshata Murthy. The couple met while studying at Stanford - where they were both studying for an MBA - and got married in 2009 in Murthy's home town of Bengaluru. 

Murthy is believed to be richer than King Charles, and it is largely her wealth that propelled the couple onto the Sunday Times Rich List earlier this year. She is the daughter of the sixth richest man in India, billionaire N.R. Narayana Murty, who is co-founder of Infosys. As well as having shares in her father's company, she has her own fashion label called Akshata Designs.

Akshata was recently embroiled in scandal after it emerged she had potentially avoided up to £20m in UK tax by being non-domiciled. She has since said she will now pay UK tax on overseas income.

The couple's wealth has been a hot topic, with Rishi drawing attention ahead of the 2020 budget when he was photographed with a £180 'smart mug', while Akshata made headlines when she offered tea and coffee to journalists camped outside their house in £39 designer mugs.

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was also revealed that the new PM owns four cars - a Volkswagen Golf, a Range Rover, a Lexus and a BMW - after he faced backlash for borrowing a Kia Rio worth about £12,000 to promote a temporary 5p fuel duty cut in his Spring Statement.

Does Rishi Sunak have children?

Sunak and Murthy have two daughters, Krishna and Anoushka. Though he keeps his daughters out of the public eye, Sunak says on his website that his two girls keep him and his wife "busy and entertained."

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.