Many slip-ups in the spotlight

From the time she was born Cherie Blair has been dogged by controversy.

From the time she was born Cherie Blair has been dogged by controversy.

The first happened at her baptism, when to the dismay of her staunch Catholic family her grandmother gave her the unusual name Cherie.

This was unheard of in the 50s when a child from a Catholic family was expected to be baptised with the name of a Catholic saint.

It serves, though, as a fitting precursor to an unpredictable life that would see her being one of the most contentious public figures in Britain.

Born of a proud but poor working class family in Liverpool, England, her childhood was full of drama.

Abandoned by her famous actor father, Tony Booth, she was raised by her dominant grandmother and mother.

She was the first in her family to go to university and eventually became a successful barrister and specialist in labour law.

Her life changed dramatically when she married Tony Blair, who would become Britain's prime minister for 10 years.

This put her firmly in the spotlight and the glaring eye of society and the media.

Her marriage to Blair, starting with the proposal, was unconventional. For starters the setting, a toilet, was far from romantic and Tony did not "pop the question" but rather suggested that "maybe we should get married".

As the prime minister's wife she met and befriended several prominent world people. Her blunders during this period are welldocumented.

Partly because of her working class background she was fodder for the tabloids and purists who criticised her for her outspokeness and lack of decorum.

Her foibles, which she is not embarrassed to admit, did not go down well with the royal family and some of England's high society.

She candidly admits to not knowing "the first thing about protocol" and watching to see what others were doing, especially around royal figures such as the Queen Mother, before even "daring to lift a finger".