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Character spotlight: Will Duncan, Prime Minister

In Mystery in the Palace of Westminster, Theo Duncan is the son of the Prime Minister, Will Duncan. Will Duncan isn’t the real Prime Minister, he’s someone I made up to go in the book.


But who is our real Prime Minister and what do they do? Here you can find out a bit more about the Prime Minister and my inspiration for Will Duncan.


History of the role

The office of Prime Minister seems such a part of British culture today, that it’s easy to assume it has existed throughout British history. But that isn’t the case. The role didn’t really exist until the eighteenth century. Prime Ministers didn’t move into Number Ten, Downing Street until 1735.


Sir Robert Walpole is generally considered the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. He governed from 1721, under the reign of George I.



Responsibilities and day-to-day tasks

The British Prime Minister is referred to as primus inter pares. This Latin phrase means ‘the first among equals’. The Prime Minister’s equals are their other Cabinet members.


The main role of the Prime Minister is to make decisions about their government’s policies – how they will run the country. They appoint members of the Cabinet to oversee specific areas, such as Education. The Education Minister works on education plans they have agreed with the Prime Minister.


When Parliament is sitting, the Prime Minister goes there once each week to Prime Minister’s Questions or PMQs. This usually happens on Wednesday mornings. During PMQs, any MP can ask the Prime Minister a question on any topic they like and the Prime Minister must try to answer them.


They also have another important meeting to attend. The Prime Minister regularly meets with the Queen to update her on their work.


Character inspiration

Will Duncan isn’t based on any real Prime Minister, past or present. But some of you might have noticed similarities between him and David Cameron.


Just like David Cameron, Will Duncan is leading a coalition government. Both Duncan and Cameron didn’t win a majority in their first election. (David Cameron did go on to win a majority at his second general election.)


Despite their similarities, Will Duncan is actually based on several recent senior members of government. He has teenaged children, like Tony Blair did when he was Prime Minister. He speaks several other languages, just like Nick Clegg, who was David Cameron’s deputy.


And of course Will Duncan has a few special character traits that are entirely his own.


The real Prime Minister

Boris Johnson is the UK’s current Prime Minister at the time of writing. He is the leader of the Conservative Party and has been Prime Minister since July, 2019. The Prime Minister earns just over £160,000 per year.


You can find out more about him in the Who’s who section.