First Lady of Sri Lanka

First Lady of Sri Lanka refers to the wife of the president of Sri Lanka. To date, there have been eight women who have served in the role. The current First Lady of Sri Lanka is Professor Maithree Wickremesinghe, wife of President Ranil Wickremasinghe, who has held the position since 20 July 2022.[1][2] There have been no first gentlemen of Sri Lanka to date, since former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the country's only female head of state, was a widow while in office.

First Lady of Sri Lanka
Maitree Wickremesinghe at Hyderabad House 2016 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Maithree Wickremesinghe
since 20 July 2022
ResidencePresident's House
AppointerRanil Wickramasinghe
as President of Sri Lanka
Inaugural holderSeelawathie Gopallawa
Formation22 April 1972 (1972-04-22)

In recent years the holders of the title have been formally or informally referred to by the title First Lady or First Lady of Sri Lanka, though there are no provisions for such in the constitution.[3]

OriginsEdit

The office of the president of Sri Lanka was created in 1972 when Sri Lanka became a republic. William Gopallawa, who was the governor-general of Ceylon at the time, became the country's inaugural president. His wife, Seelawathie Gopallawa, became the first wife of a president of Sri Lanka. When J. R. Jayewardene became the next president, his wife was known as Lady Elina Jayewardene during and after his presidency.[4] During the presidency of Ranasinghe Premadasa, his wife Hema Premadasa took on a very viable role and became a public figure unlike before.[5]

Chandrika Kumaratunga who was president from 1994 to 2005 was a widow as her husband, film star Vijaya Kumaratunga, was assassinated in 1987. When Mahinda Rajapaksa became president, his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa took a higher profile role, using the title of first lady and becoming a public figure during her husband's presidency, with her own naval aide and staff funded by the Presidential Secretariat.

ListEdit

#
Image
First Lady
Birth Marriage
President
(Husband, unless noted)
Tenure began
Age at tenure start Tenure ended Length of retirement
Death Lifespan
Notes
1   Seelawathie Gopallawa
(née Rambukwella)
8 March 1928 William Gopallawa 1972 1977† 0 days (1977-10-04)4 October 1977
Position vacant Position fell vacant upon the death of Seelawathie Gopallawa.
2 Elina Jayewardene
(née Rupasinghe)
(1913-12-15)15 December 1913 28 February 1935 J. R. Jayewardene 1978 64 years, 51 days 1989 18 years, 319 days (2007-11-17)17 November 2007 93 years, 337 days
3 Hema Premadasa
(née Wickrematunge)
(1934-10-27)27 October 1934 23 June 1964 Ranasinghe Premadasa 1989 54 years, 67 days 1993 29 years, 282 days Living 88 years, 103 days
4 Wimalawathi Kumarihami Dingiri Banda Wijetunga 1993 1994
Position vacant Chandrika Kumaratunga Kumaratunga's husband, Vijaya Kumaratunga, was assassinated in 1988 before she became president.
5   Shiranthi Rajapaksa
(née Wickramasinghe)
(1953-01-23)23 January 1953 1983 Mahinda Rajapaksa 2005 52 years, 300 days 2015 8 years, 29 days Living 70 years, 15 days
6   Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari 1970s Maithripala Sirisena 2015 2019 3 years, 81 days Living
7 Ioma Rajapaksa Gotabaya Rajapaksa 2019 2022 208 days Living
8   Maithree Wickremesinghe
(née Wickremasinghe)
(1964-08-11)11 August 1964 1994 Ranil Wickremasinghe 2022 57 years, 343 days Incumbent Living 58 years, 180 days

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "How did Ranil Wickremesinghe become Sri Lanka's president after six terms as PM?". The National (Abu Dhabi). 2022-07-20. Archived from the original on 2022-08-03. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  2. ^ "First Lady travels alone in London". The Morning (Sri Lanka). 2022-09-25. Archived from the original on 2022-09-27. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  3. ^ "Shiranthi Wickremesinghe Rajapaksa - First Lady of Sri Lanka". Office of the First Lady of Sri Lanka. Archived from the original on 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  4. ^ Welilaka, Clarence (2 December 2007). "Memoirs of a just, caring and endearing personality". The Sunday Leader.
  5. ^ "President Premadasa's death anniversary commemorated with military honours on President's directive - Azwer". Daily News. 18 May 2006.