Famous British Leaders

The British Empire was once upon a time the largest empire in history and for over a century, was the foremost global power. The expansion of the empire began in late 16th century when Queen Elizabeth I granted patents to explorers to claim newer lands for England. King James I continued her legacy and promoted the extensive expansion of the British Empire. However the British began to lose several of the territories starting from the 18th century and the country went through a political upheaval. During this time, a new kind of British leaders began to emerge; Sir Robert Walpole, a British statesman, became the first person to be considered Britain's Prime Minister. Another of the nation’s Prime Ministers, Charles Grey, a member of the Whig Party, backed significant reform of the British government and is regarded as the first modern Prime Minister. Sir Winston Churchill, one of the most popular leaders of the United Kingdom was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin, Margaret Thatcher, and James Callaghan are some others who are regarded as prominent British leaders. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous British leaders.

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 Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill.
90
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: November 30, 1874
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Blenheim Palace
Died: January 24, 1965

The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms, Winston Churchill, is known for successfully leading his country during the Second World War against the Nazi Germany. An officer in the British army, he also served as a war correspondent before venturing into politics. One of the most influential peoples in British history, Churchill was also an accomplished painter.

 2 Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
6
Famous As: Former First Lord of the Treasury of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: May 1, 1769
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 14, 1852
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, served as the British prime minister twice. He also served as the governor of Seringapatam and Mysore, and won the Battle of Assaye. He led the Hundred Days War and along with the Prussian army, won the Battle of Waterloo, defeating Napoleon.
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 3 Theresa May

Theresa May.
17
Famous As: Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: October 1, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Eastbourne, United Kingdom

Theresa May is a British politician who became the United Kingdom's second female prime minister. She served as prime minister from 2016 to 2019. During her prime ministership, May's involvement in the Brexit negotiations gave rise to the Brexit withdrawal agreement. She is also credited with co-founding Women2Win, which promotes women empowerment.

 4 T. E. Lawrence

T. E. Lawrence.
6
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: August 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tremadog, Wales
Died: May 19, 1935
T. E. Lawrence was a British army officer who participated in the Arab Revolt, against the Ottoman regime, during World War I. Nicknamed Lawrence of Arabia, he inspired a movie of the same name. His treatise of his war experiences was published as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his best-known work.

 5 William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce.
4
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: August 24, 1759
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull
Died: July 29, 1833
William Wilberforce, an independent MP from Yorkshire, was a champion for the British anti-slavery movement and made a significant contribution to the passage of the 1807 Slave Trade Act and the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act. He supported missionaries in India, founded the Church Mission Society, and was against animal cruelty.

 6 King James I

King James I.
7
Famous As: King of Scotland
Birthdate: June 19, 1566
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Died: March 27, 1625

King James I of England and Ireland was also the king of Scotland as James VI. Son of Mary, Queen of Scots, he believed in royal absolutism. He had major conflicts with the Parliament and its ever-growing powers, which eventually led to revolts against his successor, Charles I.

 7 Henry V of England

Henry V of England.
6
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.

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 8 Benjamin Disraeli

Benjamin Disraeli.
5
Famous As: British Prime Minister
Birthdate: December 21, 1804
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bloomsbury, London
Died: April 19, 1881

Benjamin Disraeli was a British politician who served two terms as prime minister of the UK. Disraeli is credited with playing a key role in the formation of the modern Conservative Party. Apart from being an influential politician, Benjamin Disraeli was also a prolific novelist; he wrote and published works of fiction even while serving as the prime minister.

 9 Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson.
7
Famous As: Admiral
Birthdate: September 29, 1758
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burnham Thorpe
Died: October 21, 1805

Horatio Nelson was a British flag officer whose inspirational leadership brought about several British naval victories, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. Regarded as one of Britain's heroic figures, Horatio Nelson's legacy remains influential and several monuments, including the Nelson Monument and Nelson's Column, have been created in his memory.

 10 Richard I of England

Richard I of England.
4
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.
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 11 Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher.
79
Famous As: Former British Prime Minister
Birthdate: October 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
Died: April 8, 2013

United Kingdom’s first female Prime Minister and also the longest serving Prime Minister in the 20th century, Margaret Thatcher served three consecutive terms in the office from 1979 till 1990. Her political views and leadership approach, known as Thatcherism, got her the nickname of Iron Lady. Though controversial, she prominently ranks high in the list of the best British Prime Ministers.

 12 Edward I of England

Edward I of England.
4
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: June 17, 1239
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Palace of Westminster, London, England
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.

 13 David Lloyd George

David Lloyd George.
4
Famous As: Former Chancellor of the Exchequer
Birthdate: January 17, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chorlton-on-Medlock
Died: March 26, 1945
David Lloyd George, or the 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was the British prime minister from 1916 to 1922 and the first Welsh to hold the position. Though he was a Liberal, he was initially supported by the Conservatives. He was a key figure in the Paris Peace Conference.

 14 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.

 15 William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.
5
Famous As: Former British Prime Minister
Birthdate: March 15, 1779
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 24, 1848

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, or Lord Melbourne, was a Whig and a close advisor of Queen Victoria. Apart from being the leader of the opposition, he had also been the British prime minister. However, he was known more for his love for theology and literature than his political exploits.

 16 Robert Peel

Robert Peel.
4
Famous As: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: February 5, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ramsbottom
Died: July 2, 1850

Statesman Robert Peel had been the prime minister of the U.K twice. He was also a two-time home secretary. He established the Metropolitan Police Service and also introduced the Tamworth Manifesto, thus co-founding the modern Conservative Party. He died of injuries after a horse he was riding fell on him.

 17 Jack Churchill

Jack Churchill.
5
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 16, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died: March 8, 1996

Better known as Mad Jack or Fighting Jack, British Army officer Jack Churchill was an iconic example of a person fighting wars on his own terms. He popularized carrying swords and bagpipes to battles and killed his enemies with his longbow. He inspired a comic strip and several books, too.

 18 Enoch Powell

Enoch Powell.
6
Birthdate: June 16, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham
Died: February 8, 1998

Enoch Powell was a British politician, linguist, classical scholar, philologist, and poet. Also a soldier, Powell served in World War II, reaching the rank of brigadier. His political career is remembered for his iconic and infamous Rivers of Blood speech, which was interpreted as a demonstration of racism. The speech became the subject of a play titled What Shadows.

 19 Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.
8
Famous As: Allied Commander in World War II
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kennington
Died: March 24, 1976

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, was a British Army officer who played important roles in World War I, World War II, and the Irish War of Independence. He commanded the British Eighth Army during the Second World War and also oversaw the operations during the Battle of Normandy. Bernard Montgomery has a couple of statues dedicated to him.

 20 Francis Drake

Francis Drake.
5
Famous As: Navigator
Birthdate: 1540 AD
Birthplace: Tavistock, Devon, England
Died: January 27, 1596

Francis Drake was an English explorer and naval officer. He is remembered for his Raiding Expedition, a prominent historical maritime event which unfolded between 1577 and 1580. Although Drake is considered a hero in the United Kingdom, his privateering led the Spanish to refer to him as a pirate. His expedition has also had a major cultural impact in Britain.

 21 Alec Douglas-Home

Alec Douglas-Home.
4
Famous As: Former PM of UK
Birthdate: July 2, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayfair, London
Died: October 9, 1995

Alec Douglas-Home was a British politician. He served as the United Kingdom's prime minister for 363 days, becoming the second briefest prime minister of the 20th century. During his premiership, his government passed the abolition of resale price maintenance legislation in 1964.

 22 Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis

Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis.
5
Famous As: Former Governor-General of India
Birthdate: December 31, 1738
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Grosvenor Square, London, United Kingdom
Died: October 5, 1805

 23 Michael Portillo

Michael Portillo.
5
Famous As: Journalist, Political Leader
Birthdate: May 26, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hertfordshire
Former Conservative MP from Enfield Southgate, and Kensington and Chelsea, Michael Portillo, later hosted the BBC documentaries Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys. A Thatcherite and an EU-sceptic, he gave rise to the term "Portillo moment" when he lost the Conservative Enfield Southgate seat in 1997.

 24 Walter Raleigh

Walter Raleigh.
6
Famous As: Politician, Writer, Explorer, Aristocrat
Birthdate: January 22, 1554
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: East Budleigh
Died: October 29, 1618
English explorer Walter Raleigh is best remembered for his involvement in the Siege of Smerwick and for colonizing North America. He made smoking tobacco popular in England. His accounts of his first voyage to South America led to the legend of El Dorado. He was executed to please the Spanish.

 25 Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon.
11
Famous As: First Minister of Scotland
Birthdate: July 19, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon is a Scottish politician. Since 2014, Sturgeon has been serving as the leader of the Scottish National Party and first minister of Scotland. Being the first woman to serve in these positions, Nicola Sturgeon is seen as a major inspiration to women across Scotland.

 26 Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan.
10
Famous As: Mayor of London
Birthdate: October 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tooting, London
Sadiq Khan, the current mayor of London, has previously been the shadow secretary of state for transport and the minister of state for transport. He has also been a solicitor specialising in human rights. Named to Time 100, he has been praised for promoting tolerance reducing polluting vehicles in London.

 27 William Pitt the Younger

William Pitt the Younger.
4
Famous As: Youngest Prime Minister of Britain
Birthdate: May 28, 1759
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hayes, Bromley
Died: January 23, 1806

British statesman, William Pitt the Younger, became the youngest prime minister of Great Britain in 1783 when he was just 24. During his stint as the prime minister, he was also Chancellor of the Exchequer. Several major political events,  including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, happened during his tenure.  He is ranked highly among all British Prime Ministers.

 28 Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg.
11
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London

Jacob Rees-Mogg is a British politician. Since 2019, he has been serving as Leader of the House of Commons. A controversial personality in British politics, Jacob Rees-Mogg is known for his traditionalist attitude, which has earned him the nickname Honourable Member for the 18th century. A conviction politician, Jacob Rees-Mogg's anachronistic upper-class mannerisms are often viewed as entertaining.

 29 Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn.
10
Famous As: Politician, Trade Unionist
Birthdate: May 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chippenham

Jeremy Corbyn had served as the Labour Party leader and the leader of the opposition in the U.K. from 2015 to 2020. He earned the Gandhi International Peace Award for his anti-war stance. He has been serving as an Islington North MP since 1983. He calls himself a democratic socialist.

 30 Harold Wilson

Harold Wilson.
12
Famous As: Former British Prime Minister
Birthdate: March 11, 1916
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Huddersfield
Died: May 24, 1995

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for two non-consecutive terms, Harold Wilson was a British Labour politician. Historians commend him for leading his party through difficult political issues with considerable skill. With a moderate approach to socialism, he was a popular politician during his first tenure as the prime minister; his second tenure wasn’t as successful.

 31 Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rochdale, England

 32 Jerry Springer

Jerry Springer.
7
Famous As: Talk Show Host, Former Politician, Former News Anchor
Birthdate: February 13, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London

English-born American television presenter, actor, politician, and musician Jerry Springer is a multifaceted man. A qualified lawyer, he shifted to politics from law as a young man. After a few years, he moved to journalism and found considerable success. As a TV presenter, he is best known for the tabloid talk show, The Jerry Springer Show. 

 33 Jo Cox

Jo Cox
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Batley, West Yorshire, England, UK
Died: June 16, 2016

British MP and Labour Party politician Jo Cox had also worked with Oxfam. The world was shocked by the news of her brutal assassination in 2016. She was shot and stabbed multiple times by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair, who believed the white race was under threat due to leftist beliefs.

 34 Stanley Baldwin

Stanley Baldwin.
4
Famous As: Former British Prime Minister
Birthdate: August 3, 1867
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bewdley
Died: December 14, 1947

Stanley Baldwin was a British Conservative statesman. He served as prime minister of the United Kingdom on three occasions during the interwar period. Baldwin's second government, which was formed by him after winning the 1924 general election, saw tenures of office by important personalities like Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Sir Austen Chamberlain.

 35 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.
5
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: May 26, 1650
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ash, Musbury
Died: June 16, 1722

 36 William Ewart Gladstone

William Ewart Gladstone.
6
Famous As: Prime Minister
Birthdate: December 29, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: May 19, 1898

William Ewart Gladstone was a British politician and statesman. During a career that spanned six decades, Gladstone served as prime minister of the UK for 12 years, which included four different terms. Often counted among Britain's greatest leaders, Gladstone has been portrayed in several films and television series, such as Parnell, The Prime Minister, Edward the Seventh, and Number 10.

 37 Robert Clive

Robert Clive.
6
Famous As: British Military Officer
Birthdate: September 25, 1725
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Styche Hall, England
Died: November 22, 1774

 38 Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd.
6
Famous As: Former Home Secretary of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: August 1, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England

Amber Rudd is a former politician who served as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom from 2018 to 2019. From 2016 to 2018, she served as Home Secretary under Prime Minister Theresa May. Also a humanitarian, Amber Rudd is part of an organization called Snowdon Trust, which helps disabled people access education.

 39 Edward Smith

Edward Smith
6
Famous As: Naval officer
Birthdate: January 27, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Died: April 15, 1912

 40 Randolph Churchill

Randolph Churchill.
4
Famous As: Journalist, Politician
Birthdate: May 28, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: June 6, 1968

Randolph Churchill was a British journalist and writer. The only son of Sir Winston Churchill, Randolph Churchill followed in the footsteps of his father and became a prominent politician, serving as a member of parliament for Preston. Randolph Churchill was portrayed by famous actors in several TV series and films like Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years and Darkest Hour.

 41 Neville Chamberlain

Neville Chamberlain.
11
Famous As: Prime Minister of the U.K.
Birthdate: March 18, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Birmingham
Died: November 9, 1940

Neville Chamberlain was a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, Chamberlain served as UK's prime minister from 1937 to 1940. Known for his signing of the Munich Agreement, which is also called the Munich Betrayal, Neville Chamberlain is regarded by many as one of the most controversial prime ministers of the UK.

 42 Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
7
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: November 2, 1767
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, England
Died: January 23, 1820

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn was the father of Queen Victoria. His army career took him to Canada and the West Indies, making him the first royal family member to stay in North America. He was also the governor of Gibraltar and played a major role in Canada’s development.

 43 Harold Macmillan

Harold Macmillan.
13
Famous As: Former British Prime Minister
Birthdate: February 10, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cadogan Place, London
Died: December 29, 1986

Harold Macmillan, also known as “Supermac” because of his witty personality, served as the British prime minister from 1957 to 1963. He was injured and rendered partially immobile while serving in World War I. He was known for supporting the nuclear test ban and for association with the Suez Crisis.

 44 Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 25, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Buckinghamshire, England

 45 Charles Edward Stuart

Charles Edward Stuart.
9
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 31, 1720
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Palazzo Muti, Rome
Died: January 31, 1788
Charles Edward Stuart, also known as "The Young Pretender” and “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was the son of Prince James, and the grandson of James II. He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, and his subsequent failure, which became the subject of many folk songs.

 46 Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell.
20
Famous As: English Statesman
Birthdate: April 25, 1599
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, Kingdom of England
Died: September 3, 1658
The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Oliver Cromwell was a military leader and a devoted Puritan who belonged to an affluent landowning family. During the English Civil War, Cromwell fought against King Charles I and caused the deaths of at least 3,000 soldiers and civilians.

 47 Tony Benn

Tony Benn.
4
Famous As: Former British Politician
Birthdate: April 3, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Marylebone
Died: March 14, 2014

 48 Annie Besant

Annie Besant.
4
Famous As: Member of the London School Board
Birthdate: October 1, 1847
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clapham
Died: September 20, 1933

Annie Besant was a British theosophist, socialist, writer, orator, educationist, women's rights activist, and philanthropist. Despite being British, Besant supported India's freedom movement and even joined the Indian National Congress. She is also credited with co-founding Banaras Hindu University. Besant also helped launch the Indian Home Rule movement to campaign for democracy in the country.

 49 H. H. Asquith

H. H. Asquith.
4
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: September 12, 1852
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Morley
Died: February 15, 1928

 50 Robert Walpole

Robert Walpole.
4
Famous As: First Prime Minister of Great Britain
Birthdate: August 26, 1676
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houghton, Norfolk
Died: March 18, 1745