Samantha Lewthwaite is born to Andrew and Elizabeth Lewthwaite in Banbridge, County Down, Ireland. Andrew was a British soldier who served in Northern Ireland, where he met Elizabeth, during the height of the troubles. Samantha goes to Ballydown Primary School in Banbridge. When the family moves to Buckinghamshire in southeast England, she attends Elmhurst middle school and The Grange secondary school in Aylesbury. A Muslim man who knew her there says:
She had a little bit of a crush on my mate, who was three or four years older than her – it’s normal at that age. My mate wasn’t interested. I can’t say she had extreme views about anything, and she wasn’t Muslim at that time.