Philip May: UK Prime Minister's husband takes on supporting role

Well, that was quick! U.K. has a new Prime Minister
British Prime Minister Theresa May and husband Philip May wave outside 10 Downing Street on July 13, 2016 in London, England.

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Story highlights

  • Theresa May married to her investment banker husband for 36 years
  • "He is fairly quiet, keeps to himself," colleague says

(CNN)When Theresa May took over as Britain's new Prime Minister, her spouse of nearly four decades stepped out of the shadows and into the limelight.

Decked out in a dapper navy suit and blue tie, Philip May stood beside his wife of 36 years as she assumed her new role. He looked on adoringly, grinning widely as supporters cheered.
    When the spotlight fades and the hard work begins, Philip May will be right next to the political veteran as she tries to clean up the mess left behind by Brexit.
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    David Cameron faces question time for the last time

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    As the second man to serve as first husband in the UK, the investment banker will have a rare glimpse into the challenges of creating a new Britain after a divided country voted to leave the European Union.
    But while his wife is stepping into a role filled with uncertainties, being the spouse of a high-profile British politician is nothing new to him.
    The couple got married in 1980, four years after they met through another powerful woman: Benazir Bhutto.
    Bhutto, who went on to become the Pakistani Prime Minister, introduced them at a disco while they attended Oxford, according to British media.

    'A real rock'

    Through their years together, Philip May has seen his wife through tragedies -- especially the loss of both her parents shortly after they got married.
    Her father, Hubert Brasier, died in a car crash and his widow, Zaidee Brasier, died a few months later after a battle with multiple sclerosis, according to British media.
    "That was very important for me. He was a real rock for me," she told the BBC at the time.
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    British Prime Minister Theresa May and husband Philip May wave outside 10 Downing Street on July 13, 2016 in London, England.

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    But he's also seen her through powerful positions, including her latest role as home secretary since May 2010. She's also served as member of parliament for Maidenhead since 1997.
    Through it all, Philip May is happy to take a back seat.
    "Around the office, he is a fairly head down type of guy," a co-worker at Capital Group told The Guardian in Britain.
    "There is a stereotypical investment manager with a big ego -- he's not like that at all. He is fairly quiet, keeps to himself. He has very good integrity and never trades off his wife's name."
    May is not a common fixture at local bars, and prefers a laid back lifestyle that includes watching lots of cricket, a hobby he shares with his wife, local media reported.

    Veteran banker

    The career investment banker works at fund management company Capital Group in a behind-the-scenes role as client relationship manager, according to The Guardian. It said he's worked for the company since 2005.
    His resume lists a lifetime of investment-related jobs, including working as a stockbroker and head of pension funds for numerous companies based in Europe and the United States.
    Despite their influential jobs, the couple is notoriously private.
    Before their move to Downing Street, they lived in the exclusive Sonning-on-Thames neighborhood, which is also home to lawyer and activist Amal Clooney.
    Theresa May has said she loves cooking and her husband loves eating her food. In addition to cricket, they share another hobby -- hiking up the mountains.
    "On holiday, my husband and I do a lot of quite strenuous walking up mountains in Switzerland," Theresa May said in a column for Balance magazine.
    Philip May steps into the shoes of another first spouse -- Denis Thatcher.
    The latter's wife, Margaret Thatcher, served as the first female Prime Minister of the UK between 1979-1990.