In an age of on-message machine politicians, Boris Johnson – who has just been elected mayor of London – is a one-off.
Often described as a buffoon, even by his admirers, his bumbling, self-deprecating persona has long made him one of the best known politicians through his appearances on TV chat shows.
He has the typical upper class English background of Eton public school, Oxford University and a father who is a Conservative politician.
But he is no stereotypical aristocrat – he was born in New York and was a US citizen until recently, his early schooling was in Brussels, he is descended from a minister in the Ottoman Empire and his children are, as he put it, a quarter Indian.
Nothing about the 43-year-old now given huge powers over one of the world’s great cities is as straightforward as it appears.
His academic records prove him to have powerful intellect, while colleagues and friends attest to an equally powerful sense of ambition.
And yet he has also had an unerring ability to sabotage his own career with his sense of fun – and apparent refusal to take things too seriously – proving his undoing on more than one occasion.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (he is still known to family members as Al) was born in New York to English parents in 1964 and was, until recently, an American citizen.
He is of Turkish descent. His great-grandfather, Ali Kemal, a Turkish journalist, was briefly interior minister in the government of Ahmed Tevfik Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
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"This guy knows all the gossip, the ins and outs, the lashon hara of the Orthodox world. He’s an [expert] in... all the inner workings of the Orthodox world." (Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff)
"This generation's Hillel." (Nathan Cofnas)