Today, Theresa May announced she would resign as prime minister of the United Kingdom. Unpopular among voters and embattled even within her own Conservative Party, she will not go down in history as a popular politician.
She will, however, have the distinction of being perhaps the first world leader to serve after a type 1 diabetes diagnosis, or at least to openly serve after such a diagnosis.
Prime Minister May was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her fifties after receiving an initial misdiagnosis of type 2 diabetes in 2012. A politician who has tended to be private about her personal life, May has been open about her condition, and has been seen wearing sleeveless outfits with what appear to be an Abbott Freestyle Libre sensor on her arm. She also has been active in promoting diabetes charities in the United Kingdom.
May took office in the wake of a divisive ballot referendum in which U.K. voters narrowly opted to leave the European Union, a vote known as Brexit. She has been unsuccessful in negotiating a Brexit deal that could pass Parliament, and sometimes has faced harsh criticism among her fellow politicians and the press.
However, throughout this long and tortured process, there hasn’t been any real discussion about her physical fitness for office because of her type 1 diabetes. In this, she may very well have done a service for future politicians with type 1 diabetes who seek national office.
You can read more about Prime Minister May’s life with type 1 diabetes in a Diabetes UK profile of her here.