Sitting next to each other at a debating society meeting in 1978, Oxford students Theresa Brasier and Philip May were already university sweethearts.
They had been introduced at a Conservative Association disco by Benazir Bhutto, the future Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Dressed in a gauzy red gown that she has matched carefully to her lipstick and earrings, the 21-year-old Theresa’s love of fashion is already in evidence — though today our new Prime Minister would surely shun the dated blue eyeshadow.
The couple married two years after this photo was taken, with the student newspaper Cherwell suggesting mischievously that Mr May, a year younger than his wife, had been issued with an ultimatum by his girlfriend.
‘I gather the same fate [of being rejected] awaits Philip if he hesitates any longer in announcing his intention to make an honest woman of the vicar’s daughter,’ it had claimed.
Samantha, 45, has wisely ditched the highlights for a more natural, flattering hair colour, but her 49-year-old husband can’t disguise that receding hairline — or the extra weight on his face.
Both shaggy-haired, it’s a rather hippy Hill and Bill pictured at Yale Law School, where they met in 1970 in their early 20s. Back then, Hillary wrote in her autobiography, Bill looked ‘more like a Viking than a Rhodes Scholar . . . He was tall and handsome somewhere beneath that reddish-brown beard and curly mane of hair.’
They first met in the library. After exchanging lingering looks, forthright Hillary walked over and said: ‘If you’re going to keep looking at me, and I’m going to keep looking back, we might as well be introduced. I’m Hillary Rodham.’
The couple married in 1975. The following year Bill was elected attorney general of Arkansas, and in 1978 he won the state governorship.
But the pressures of power — battles with Congress, strife within his own party, sexual harrassment lawsuits and being impeached after lying about sexual relations with ‘that woman’ (Monica Lewinsky) — have taken their toll.
Today, white-haired Bill, 69, cuts a much frailer figure, his forehead etched with deep lines, while Hillary — if not as haggard as her husband — cannot disguise her weariness as she campaigns to be president at 68.
In this Christmas photo taken after their marriage in 1992, but before the arrival of their eldest daughter Malia six years later, Barack’s wedding ring is clearly visible, though Michelle’s is nowhere to be seen. He’s typically relaxed in a pullover and short-sleeved shirt, while she is the spit of her teenage daughters now.
Today, the First Lady can still show off those famously toned upper arms. But the President, in particular, is much more grizzled compared to his arrival in the White House eight years ago. Battle-scarred from fighting for healthcare reform — so-called ‘Obamacare’ — and failure to exorcise America’s race demons, it’s easy to see why he attributes it to the pressures of the job.
‘When I came into office, I had no grey hair and now I have a lot,’ he’s said. ‘I don’t dye my hair and a lot of my fellow leaders do. I won’t say whom. But their barbers know.’
In 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell, a slim, shy-smiling Angela Merkel and her future husband Joachim Sauer were chemistry research scientists, pictured at a Polish summer school.
They certainly dress to type — in asexual, interchangeable jumpers and trousers — but the 35-year-old Angela’s bashful grin belies her steely ambition.
That same year, she entered politics, serving as a spokeswoman for the first democratically elected East German government.
It is a different story today. Chancellor Merkel, 62, has ditched the cable knits, while her husband — now 67 and a chemistry professor — is immaculate in a suit.
Struggling to keep hold of the reins in a post-Brexit Europe, not to mention a migrant crisis at home, she has grown rather stouter. He is silver-haired — but what truly underscores the passage of time is their guarded looks, trained by years of public scrutiny.