2024 Elections

Proposing on Valentine’s Day, Albanese becomes Australia’s first leader to get engaged in office

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Anthony Albanese has become the first Australian prime minister to get engaged while in office, revealing Thursday that his partner accepted his marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day.

He and Jodie Haydon, a financial services professional, have been together for three years. Albanese said he proposed on a balcony of his official residence, known as the Lodge, following a romantic dinner at an Italian restaurant.

“She said yes,” Albanese posted with a love heart symbol on the X social media platform.

The first-term prime minister said he had planned both the date and place of the proposal and even helped design Haydon’s diamond ring. But he did not know if the wedding would be held before he sets the date for Australia’s next election, sometime between this August and May of next year.

“We’ll now have those discussions between us, which I think people would understand, and sort out those details, but we just want to live in the moment at this point,” Albanese told reporters at a brief news conference on a lawn outside the Lodge.

“It is such a joy to be able to share this news with people and it’s wonderful I found a partner who I want to spend the rest of my life with. Last night was a very great occasion here at the Lodge. We couldn’t be more happy,” he added.

Haydon thanked friends, family and strangers for their messages of congratulation. “It’s just been overwhelming, but beautiful,” Haydon said.

Albanese, 60, has an adult son with his first wife. They divorced after a 19-year marriage.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton offered Albanese lighthearted congratulations in Parliament, hinting at their differences over whether King Charles III should remain Australia’s head of state.

Dutton wants the British monarch to remain Australia’s monarch. Albanese wants Australia to become a republic with an Australian head of state.

“We look forward to our version of the royal wedding some time in the near future,” Dutton said, prompting laughter from his colleagues.

“I’ll be there, throwing roses out in front of you, prime minister. Whatever it takes to get an invite to the gala wedding,” Dutton added.

Albanese is only the second prime minister to live with a common law partner at the Lodge. Julia Gillard led the government from 2010 until 2013, and the unusual status of her partner reportedly delayed Indonesia issuing him a visa when she made an official visit to the country in 2011.

In neighboring New Zealand, former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern married longtime partner Clarke Gayford in January after becoming engaged while she was in office almost five years earlier. She resigned as prime minister last year.

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Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP

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