Famous British Historical Personalities

Great Britain has a long and complicated history that dates back to several millennia. King Henry VII of England, the first monarch of the House of Tudor, played an instrumental role in the vast expansion of the British Empire in the 16th century. Influential writers Richard Hakluyt and John Dee also thrived during the same period. Queen Elizabeth I, counted amongst the most popular Britons ever to have lived, brought a period of relative internal stability to the region. She is associated with the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Another famous monarch was Henry VIII, known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Political leader Oliver Cromwell, Commander of the New Model Army during the English Civil War against King Charles I is another significant historical figure. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, and Thomas Cranmer are prominent figures in British history as well. Known for its rich legacy in the fields of science and literary, England was also home to geniuses such as William Shakespeare and Sir Isaac Newton. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous British historical personalities.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II.
24
Famous As: Queen of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: April 21, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mayfair, London, England

The Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth II is the world's oldest living monarch and longest-reigning current monarch. The first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother , she ascended to the throne in 1952. Despite the press criticism of the royal family, she continues to be a popular figure in UK.

 2 Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria .
23
Famous As: Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Birthdate: May 24, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 22, 1901

The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for over six decades, Queen Victoria reigned for longer than any of her predecessors. Her rule witnessed the vast expansion of the British Empire and ushered in a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military changes. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were celebrated with great pomp and show.

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 3 Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn.
13
Famous As: Marquess of Pembroke
Birthdate: 1501 AD
Birthplace: Hever
Died: May 19, 1536

The queen of England from 1533 to 1536, Anne Boleyn played an important role in the political and religious upheaval that led to the beginning of the English Reformation. She is widely regarded as the most important and influential queen consort of England. She was charged with adultery, incest, and treason and was executed by beheading in 1536.

 4 Henry VII of England

Henry VII.
15
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: January 28, 1457
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Died: April 21, 1509

Henry VII of England played an important role in popularizing the House of Tudor by becoming the first monarch of the house; he ruled as the king of England from 1485 until his death in 1509. He is credited with several economic, diplomatic, and administrative initiatives.

 5 Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great.
10
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0849 AD
Birthplace: Wantage, United Kingdom
Died: October 26, 0899

Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, cemented his place in history as a legendary ruler who led his kingdom to victory in wars that seemed hopeless. He is known for his brilliant strategies and defensive measures. He prevented England from falling to the Danes during his rule from circa 871 to 886. He’s also credited with promoting learning and literacy and curbing corruption.

 6 Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon.
7
Famous As: Ambassador
Birthdate: December 16, 1485
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Archbishop's Palace of Alcalá de Henares, Alcala de Henares, Spain
Died: January 7, 1536

Catherine of Aragon was one of the most popular English royal consorts of all time. A patron of Renaissance humanism, she gained widespread admiration for starting a program for the relief of the poor. A woman who was ahead of her time, Catherine commissioned The Education of a Christian Woman, a controversial book promoting women's right to education.

 7 Mary I of England

Mary I of England.
13
Famous As: Queen of England and Ireland
Birthdate: February 18, 1516
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Palace of Placentia
Died: November 17, 1558

Mary I, the queen of England from 1553-1558, is remembered as the ruler who sought to return England to the Catholic Church. She persecuted many Protestants and got nearly 300 of them burned at the stake. Most of them were common citizens. Many also died in prison and hundreds fled the country. This earned her the ignominious nickname ‘Bloody Mary’.

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 8 Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne, Queen of Great Britain.
0
Famous As: Queen of Britan
Birthdate: February 6, 1665
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St James's Palace, Westminster, England
Died: August 1, 1714

Many biographers consider Anne, the Queen of Great Britain, a weak and irresolute woman. It is said that she lacked political astuteness and was easily influenced by others. Though she was troubled by poor health throughout her life, she became increasingly obese and ill during her 30s and eventually died at the age of 49.

 9 Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey.
2
Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: 1537 AD
Birthplace: Leicestershire
Died: February 12, 1554
Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days' Queen, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 10 to 19, 1553. Jane, a Protestant, was nominated to the Crown, owing to Roman Catholic Mary’s opposition to the Reformed Church of England. However, Jane was deposed, convicted of high treason, and executed.

 10 Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard.
4
Famous As: Queen of England from (1540-1541)
Birthdate: 1523 AD
Birthplace: Lambeth, London
Died: February 13, 1542
Catherine Howard, England’s queen consort from 1540 until 1541, was Henry VIII’s fifth wife. She was a cousin of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. In November 1541, Catherine was stripped of the queen’s title and imprisoned. She was later beheaded on charges of adultery with her cousin Thomas Culpeper.

 11 Boudica

Boudica.
5
Famous As: Queen of the Iceni Tribe
Birthdate: 0030 AD
Birthplace: Britannia
Died: 0061 AD

Boudica served as a queen of the Iceni tribe. She is regarded as a British folk hero for leading an uprising against the Roman Empire, which wanted to conquer her land. She has remained a prominent cultural symbol in the UK. A bronze statue named Boadicea and Her Daughters is located in London, facing the Palace of Westminster.

 12 Henry VIII of England

Henry VIII of England.
7
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: June 28, 1491
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Palace of Placentia
Died: January 28, 1547

Henry VIII, the second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, ruled England from 1509 to 1547. He married six times, leading to differences with the Roman Catholic Church, which prohibited divorce, thus forming the Anglican Church. The "father of the Royal Navy," he was known for his tyranny and extravagance.

 13 Catherine Parr

Catherine Parr.
0
Famous As: Queen of England & Ireland
Birthdate: July 31, 1512
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
Died: September 7, 1548
Catherine Parr, the most-married English queen, was the queen of England and Ireland from 1543 to 1547, as the last wife of King Henry VIII. She influenced the passing of the 1543 Third Succession Act. She was also the first English queen to publish a book using her own name.

 14 Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville.
0
Famous As: British Queen (1464-1483)
Birthdate: 1437 AD
Birthplace: Grafton Regis, United Kingdom
Died: June 8, 1492

Elizabeth Woodville was the queen of England from 1464 until her husband King Edward IV's death in 1483. Elizabeth Woodville remained politically influential even after the demise of her husband. She also played a major role in Henry VII's accession to the throne in 1485. Her life and work have inspired several books, films, and TV series.

 15 Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York .
13
Famous As: Queen Consort of England
Birthdate: February 11, 1466
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Westminster Palace, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: February 11, 1503
Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and wife of Henry VII of the Tudor Dynasty, was the queen consort of England from 1486 until 1503. She and Henry got married after Henry won at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1486, thus ending the Wars of the Roses

 16 Edward II of England

Edward II of England.
1
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 25, 1284
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Caernarfon Castle
Died: September 21, 1327
Edward II was the king of England from 1307 till his deposition in 1327. His relationship with Piers Gaveston caused the English barons to revolt against Edward, leading to the passage of the Ordinances of 1311. Edward lost to Robert Bruce at Bannockburn. Edward inspired Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II.

 17 Edward III of England

Edward III of England.
3
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: November 13, 1312
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Windsor Castle
Died: June 21, 1377
Edward III, or Edward of Windsor, was the King of England and the Lord of Ireland from 1327 to 1377. He took to the throne after his father, Edward II, was deposed by his mother, Isabella, and Roger Mortimer. He strengthened the military and participated in the Hundred Years' War.

 18 Alexandra of Denmark

Alexandra of Denmark.
2
Famous As: Queen of Great Britain (1901-1910)
Birthdate: December 1, 1844
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yellow Mansion, Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 20, 1925
Alexandra of Denmark was the queen of the U.K. and the empress of India from 1901 to 1910, as the wife of King Edward VII. Her style of dressing inspired English fashion back then. She supported her son George V’s campaign against Germany, with the Allies, during World War I.

 19 Victoria, Princess Royal

Victoria, Princess Royal.
0
Famous As: Empress of Germany
Birthdate: November 21, 1840
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace
Died: August 5, 1901

Victoria, Princess Royal was the Queen of Prussia and German Empress from 9 March 1888 to 15 June 1888. Victoria, Princess Royal had an opportunity to influence the German Empire's policy, but the death of her husband German Emperor Frederick III, just 99 days after his accession, ruined her opportunity. Victoria has been portrayed in several movies and TV series.

 20 Harold Godwinson

Harold Godwinson.
5
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1022 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: October 14, 1066
Harold Godwinson, also known as Harold II, was the last Anglo-Saxon ruler of England, and succeeded Edward the Confessor. He died at the Battle of Hastings, fighting William the Conqueror and his army during the Norman Conquest. Harold was the first English king who was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

 21 Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.
0
Famous As: King Consort of Scotland (1565-1567)
Birthdate: December 7, 1545
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Temple Newsam, Yorkshire, England
Died: February 10, 1567
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley was the great-grandson of King Henry VII of England. As the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, he reigned as the king of Scotland from 1565 till his murder in 1567. His son ruled as King James VI of Scotland and I of England.

 22 Mary Tudor, Queen of France

Mary Tudor, Queen of France
0
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: March 18, 1496
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sheen Palace, London, England
Died: June 25, 1533

 23 Lady Godiva

Lady Godiva.
0
Famous As: 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman
Birthdate: 0980 AD
Birthplace: Mercia
Died: 1067 AD

Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. A 13th-century legend stated how she rode naked through Coventry to reverse an oppressive tax imposed by Leofric. Everybody stayed indoors, except a tailor named Thomas, who watched her, giving rise to the name Peeping Tom associated with voyeurs.

 24 Mary II of England

Mary II of England.
0
Famous As: Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland
Birthdate: April 30, 1662
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: St James's Palace
Died: December 28, 1694

Mary II of England was Queen of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1689 to 1694. Although she co-reigned along with her husband William III of England, she also took major decisions by herself whenever William was abroad. Mary has been portrayed in films, such as Orlando and England, My England.

 25 Empress Matilda

Empress Matilda.
0
Famous As: Queen of Germany
Birthdate: February 7, 1102
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sutton Courtenay, United Kingdom
Died: September 10, 1167

Empress Matilda was the daughter of King Henry I of England and one of the claimants to the throne of England during the 'Anarchy'. Her participation in the civil war and tales of bravery have been the subject of historical fiction. She has also been depicted in films, stage shows, and TV series.

 26 Albert, Prince Consort

Albert, Prince Consort.
0
Famous As: Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Husband of Queen Victoria
Birthdate: August 26, 1819
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, Rödental, Germany
Died: December 14, 1861

Albert, Prince Consort was the husband of Queen Victoria who earned a reputation for promoting public causes like the abolition of slavery worldwide and educational reform. He also helped develop Britain's constitutional monarchy by guiding his wife during her dealings with Parliament. After his untimely death at age 42, Queen Victoria started wearing black for the remainder of her life. 

 27 Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom

Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom.
0
Famous As: Youngest Child of Queen Victoria
Birthdate: April 14, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
Died: October 26, 1944
Princess Beatrice of the U.K. was the fifth daughter and the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She stayed with her mother long after all her siblings married and left. She eventually married Prince Henry of Battenberg, and she and her husband continued to live with the Queen. 

 28 Catherine of Valois

Catherine of Valois.
0
Famous As: Queen Consort of England
Birthdate: October 27, 1401
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 3, 1437
Catherine of Valois, daughter of Charles VI of France, was the queen of England from 1420 to 1422, as the wife of Henry V of England. Her marriage to Henry V was supposed to be a political stance to end the Hundred Years' War, but it was not successful.

 29 Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough

Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough.
0
Famous As: Close Friend of Queen Anne
Birthdate: June 5, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St Albans, Hertfordshire, Kingdom of England
Died: October 18, 1744

 30 Anne Neville

Anne Neville.
0
Famous As: Queen of England
Birthdate: June 11, 1456
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, England
Died: March 16, 1485
Anne Neville was the younger daughter of Richard Neville. She was the Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster and the Queen of England, as the wife of King Richard III. Her marriage to Edward was a political alliance to end the Wars of the Roses.

 31 Lady Margaret Beaufort

Lady Margaret Beaufort.
0
Famous As: Mother of King Henry VII
Birthdate: May 31, 1443
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bletsoe Castle, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 29, 1509
Lady Margaret Beaufort, descendant of King Edward III, was a significant figure during the Wars of the Roses. She laid the foundation of the Tudor Dynasty by helping her son, Henry Tudor, acquire the English throne. She also established the Cambridge institutes Christ's College and St. John's College

 32 George VI

George VI.
29
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: December 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: York Cottage, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Died: February 6, 1952
The last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth, King George VI was the King of the United Kingdom for fifteen years. He served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force before reluctantly inheriting the throne and becoming a symbol of courage during WWII. His determination also helped him in his struggle with stammering.

 33 George V

George V.
40
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 3, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marlborough House, London, England
Died: January 20, 1936

George V became the King of Great Britain and the British Dominions in 1910. During the World War I, he played an active role in supporting the troops. The rise of socialism, communism, fascism and the Indian independence movement was witnessed during his rule. His reign also saw the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons established by the Parliament.

 34 Henry V of England

Henry V Of England.
3
Famous As: King of England (1413-1422)
Birthdate: August 9, 1386
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Monmouth Castle, Monmouth, Principality of Wales
Died: August 31, 1422

One of the most renowned kings in English history, Henry V ascended the throne at the age of 26 in 1413 and ruled England till his death in 1422. Though his reign was short, it was marked by great successes in the Hundred Years' War against France which established England as one of the strongest kingdoms in entire Europe.

 35 Charles I of England

Charles I of England.
6
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: November 19, 1600
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline, Scotland
Died: January 30, 1649

Charles I, the King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1625 to 1649, was said to be authoritarian and was in constant battle with the Parliament over the issue of royal prerogative. The friction led to a civil war from 1642 to 1645 between him and the English and Scottish Parliaments. He was defeated and executed in 1649 for treason.

 36 Aethelflaed

Aethelflaed
0
Famous As: Anglo-Saxon ruler
Birthdate: 0869 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: June 12, 0918

 37 Charles II

Charles II.
13
Famous As: King of England, Scotland & Ireland
Birthdate: May 29, 1630
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St James's Palace
Died: February 6, 1685
Charles II, son of King Charles I of England, ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660 to 1685. He was initially defeated by Oliver Cromwell and forced to go into exile, but returned to England after Cromwell’s death. He introduced the Clarendon Code and later sided with the Tories.

 38 Edward VI of England

Edward VI of England.
14
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 12, 1537
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, United Kingdom
Died: July 6, 1553

Edward VI of England served as the King of England and Ireland from 1547 until his death at the age of 15 in 1553. Edward VI, who took interest in religious matters, allowed Protestantism to be established in England during his reign. His reign also witnessed the introduction of written works that formed the basis for practices of the English Church.

 39 Edward IV of England

Edward IV of England.
3
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 28, 1442
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: April 9, 1483

The King of England for several years from 1461 until his death in 1483, Edward IV of England was a central figure in the Wars of the Roses. He was a brave warrior and his contemporaries described him as handsome, affable, and energetic. He died at the relatively young age of 40. The cause of his death remains unknown. 

 40 Edward I of England

Edward I of England.
3
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: June 17, 1239
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Palace of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
Died: July 7, 1307

Edward I of England ruled England as its king from 1272 to 1307. During his reign, Edward I reformed common law and royal administration. He is also credited with setting up Parliament as a permanent institution. He is also criticized for issuing the Edict of Expulsion, which expelled Jews from England. The Edict was not overturned for almost 350 years.

 41 Henry IV of England

Henry IV of England.
3
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 15, 1367
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bolingbroke Castle
Died: March 20, 1413

Henry IV of England reigned over England from 1399 until his death in 1413. Apart from spending much of his reign fighting against rebellions, Henry IV of England also established foreign relations; during his reign, Manuel II Palaiologos visited England, becoming the only Byzantine emperor to do so.

 42 Elizabeth I of England

Elizabeth I of England.
7
Famous As: Queen of England
Birthdate: September 7, 1533
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Palace of Placentia
Died: March 24, 1603
Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, ruled as the Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603. She had been declared illegitimate after her mother’s execution. Nicknamed The Virgin Queen for her unmarried status, she established an English Protestant church and served as its governor.

 43 Richard I of England

Richard I of England.
8
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: September 8, 1157
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England
Died: April 6, 1199
Richard I of England, the king of England from 1189 to 1199, was known as Richard the Lionheart, for his military prowess. He also reigned over Normandy, Aquitaine, Gascony, Cyprus, Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes. The third son of King Henry II, he fought actively in the Third Crusade.

 44 Henry VI of England

Henry VI of England.
4
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: December 6, 1421
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: May 21, 1471

The only child of Henry V, Henry VI of England served as the king of England for almost 40 years. He also served as the disputed king of France between 1422 and 1453, becoming the only English monarch to serve as the king of France. He founded educational institutions like Eton College, All Souls College, Oxford, and King's College, Cambridge.

 45 Richard III of England

Richard III of England.
19
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 2, 1452
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, England
Died: August 22, 1485

Richard III was King of England from 1483 to 1485. His defeat and subsequent death marked the demise of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of William Shakespeare's famous play Richard III. He has also been an inspiration for several other works of literature and films.

 46 John, King of England

John, King of England.
4
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: December 24, 1166
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Beaumont Palace, Oxford
Died: October 19, 1216

John, King of England reigned over England from 1199 to 1216. His inability to retain the French lands, which was acquired by King Philip II of France, contributed to the subsequent growth of the Capetian dynasty; this is widely regarded as a turning point in the history of Europe.

 47 Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham

Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham.
0
Famous As: Courtier
Birthdate: 1670 AD
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: December 6, 1734

 48 James II of England

James II Of England .
5
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 14, 1633
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: September 16, 1701

James II of England reigned as the king of Ireland, Scotland, and England from 1685 to 1688. His deposition as king, caused by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, ended a century of civil and political strife by establishing the principle that Parliament would be preferred over the Crown as opposed to the principles of divine right of kings and absolutism.

 49 George IV of the United Kingdom

George IV of the United Kingdom.
3
Famous As: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Birthdate: August 12, 1762
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 26, 1830

Regarded as the first gentleman of England, King George IV of the United Kingdom saw his empire consolidating its position as the global hegemon, particularly after the Napoleonic Wars. His regency during the illness of his father and then his 10-year reign were marked by royal extravagance. 

 50 George III of the United Kingdom

George III of the United Kingdom.
9
Famous As: King
Birthdate: June 4, 1738
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norfolk House, St James's Square, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 29, 1820

The King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for almost six decades, George III had a reign that was longer than those of any of his predecessors. His reign was marked by a series of military conflicts. He suffered from mental illness in his later years.