Rishi Sunak’s unexpected rise to power in the United Kingdom government has brought all eyes on him, especially from India. Not only is he the first British Asian prime minister of the United Kingdom, but he is also the husband of Akshata Murty, the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayan Murthy.
Sunak’s new role on top of the UK government has brought a fresh spotlight on Murty, who is a designer and entrepreneur. Now that the power couple is going to occupy news cycles around the world, it’s time for a quick lowdown on who exactly is Akshata Murty. Here are a few things you should know about the British Prime Minister’s wife.
She had a grounded childhood
Despite being the daughter of the founder of Infosys, who is also known as the Bill Gates of India, Murty had a fairly simple childhood. In the 2013 book Legacy: Letters From Eminent Parents To Their Daughters by Sudha Menon, a letter by Murty’s father revealed that they didn’t have a TV in the house while she was growing up because they wanted to place more importance on activities like “studying, reading, discussions, and meeting friends”.
She is a billionaire in her own right
With the dividend income from her Infosys shares, which amounted to INR 126.61 crores in 2022, and her earnings from her different businesses, Murty has amassed wealth that is more than the personal wealth of the late Queen Elizabeth.
She met Rishi Sunak in college
The power couple’s love story began when they met each other at Stanford University while getting their MBA degrees. On his campaign trail, Sunak revealed a little bit about their love story, saying, “You know what you mean to me, and I am incredibly grateful that 18 years ago you chose to give up your high heels and take a chance on the short kid with a backpack.” The two got married in a simple ceremony in 2009, as simple as the wedding of a billionaire’s daughter can be!
She got into a controversy over her non-dom status
Being an Indian citizen, Murty held on to a non-domiciled status in the UK. This meant that she was not required to pay taxes on her earnings outside the country. Being a then candidate’s wife, Murty’s non-dom status became controversial as it meant that she hadn’t been paying taxes in the UK, a common tactic used by wealthy immigrants to avoid getting taxed on their full income. This led to her declaring that she would be paying the taxes, not because of the law but out of her own willingness to do so.
She is a fashion designer
Murty dons several hats, including one of a designer rooted in Indian traditional crafts and sensibilities. In an old magazine profile, Murty claimed that her designs were all about “authenticity, craftsmanship and protecting a rich heritage”.