Famous British Leaders

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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.
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 1 
Winston Churchill
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1940 - 1945, 1951 - 1955))
Winston Churchill
169
Birthdate: November 30, 1874
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Blenheim Palace, England, United Kingdom
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 
Margaret Thatcher
(The Longest-Serving British Prime Minister of the 20th Century)
Margaret Thatcher
102
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.

 3 
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1828 - 1830, 1834))
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
12
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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 4 
King James I
(King of Scotland)
King James I
8
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.

 5 
Lord Mountbatten
(Last Viceroy of British India)
Lord Mountbatten
14
Birthdate: June 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Frogmore House, Windsor, England
Died: August 27, 1979

The last Viceroy of India and the first governor-general of independent India, Lord Mountbatten was a British Royal Navy officer and statesman. Born to a prominent aristocratic family in England, he had a successful military career and was made the NATO Commander Allied Forces Mediterranean in his later career. He was assassinated in 1979.

 6 
T. E. Lawrence
(Archaeologist & Army Officer Known for His Legendary War Activities in the Middle East During World War I)
T. E. Lawrence
32
Birthdate: August 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tremadog, Carnarvonshire, 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.
 7 
Horatio Nelson
12
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.

 8 
William Wilberforce
(Abolitionist)
William Wilberforce
8
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.
 9 
Richard I of England
(King of England)
Richard I of England
9
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.
 10 
Jack Churchill
(Military Leader)
Jack Churchill
9
Birthdate: September 16, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died: December 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.

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 11 
David Lloyd George
(Former Chancellor of the Exchequer)
David Lloyd George
5
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.
 12 
Lord Byron
(Baron Byron)
Lord Byron
6
Birthdate: January 22, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 1824

Widely considered one of the greatest British poets of all time, Lord Byron remains influential as his works are widely read even today. He was also one of the most important personalities of the Romantic Movement. He is also known for his role in the Greek War of Independence, for which the Greeks consider him a national hero.

 13 
Francis Drake
(Best Known for His Circumnavigation of the World in a Single Expedition)
Francis Drake
4
Birthdate: 1540 AD
Birthplace: Tavistock, Devon, England
Died: January 28, 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.

 14 
Clement Attlee
(Former British Prime Minister)
Clement Attlee
8
Birthdate: January 3, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Putney
Died: October 8, 1967

Clement Attlee was a British politician. As the Prime Minister of the UK, Attlee organized the granting of independence to Pakistan and India. in 1947. He also oversaw the independence of Ceylon and Burma. Regarded as one of the greatest prime ministers of the UK, Clement Attlee has been the subject of several plays and TV series. 

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
21
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London
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.

 16 
Robert Peel
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834 – 1835, 1841 – 1846))
Robert Peel
6
Birthdate: February 5, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bury, Lancashire, England
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 
Timothy Laurence
(Husband of Princess Anne, Navy officer)
Timothy Laurence
4
Birthdate: March 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Camberwell, London, England
Timothy Laurence is a former officer of the British Royal Navy. He is married to Princess Anne since 1992. From 1986 to 1989, he was the equerry to Queen Elizabeth II, and met Anne during that time. He serves on the boards of various charitable and professional bodies.
 18 
Sadiq Khan
(Mayor of London)
Sadiq Khan
16
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.
 19 
Michael Portillo
(Journalist, Political Leader)
Michael Portillo
9
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.
 20 
Jo Cox
(Former British Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen (2015 - 2016))
Jo Cox
11
Birthdate: June 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Batley, West Yorkshire, England
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.

 21 
Prince Michael of Kent
(Member of the British Royal Family)
Prince Michael of Kent
5
Birthdate: July 4, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire, England

A member of the British royal family, Prince Michael of Kent is a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary. He is currently 48th in the line of succession to the British throne. He is a businessman and runs his own consultancy business with operations across the world. He has a keen interest in sports and is a Freemason.

 22 
Benjamin Disraeli
(British Prime Minister)
Benjamin Disraeli
5
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.

 23 
Edward Smith
(Captain of the British Passenger Liner 'RMS Titanic', Which Sank on its Maiden Voyage)
Edward Smith
8
Birthdate: January 27, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Died: April 15, 1912

Edward Smith was a British naval officer best remembered as the captain of the RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage. Smith, who went down with the ship, is often praised for his fortitude and stoicism in the face of adversity. Prior to his last journey, Edward Smith served as the commanding officer of many White Star Line vessels. 

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
7
Birthdate: March 31, 1900
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: York Cottage, England
Died: June 10, 1974

Son of King George V and Queen Mary, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was educated at Eton, becoming the first son of a monarch in Britain to attend school. He made headlines with his affair with Beryl Markham. Owing to his multiple strokes, he was wheelchair-bound in his final years.

 25 
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
(English Soldier and Statesman Who helped Defeat the 'Monmouth Rebellion' in 1685 )
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
12
Birthdate: May 26, 1650
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ash, Musbury
Died: June 16, 1722
 26 
William Ewart Gladstone
(Prime Minister)
William Ewart Gladstone
9
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.

 27 
Stanley Baldwin
(Former British Prime Minister)
Stanley Baldwin
5
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.

 28 
Thomas Wolsey
(Bishop, Statesman)
Thomas Wolsey
4
Birthdate: 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ipswich, England
Died: November 29, 1530
Thomas Wolsey was an archbishop and a cardinal of the Catholic Church, who was made King Henry VIII’s chief advisor, or the Lord Chancellor. He failed to negotiate an annulment of the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and thus lost his titles. He was eventually charged with treason.
 29 
Harold Wilson
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1964-1970, 1974-1976))
Harold Wilson
17
Birthdate: March 11, 1916
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Huddersfield, England, United Kingdom
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.

 30 
Rory Stewart
(Political Leader)
Rory Stewart
4
Birthdate: January 3, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: British Hong Kong

The son of a soldier and intelligence officer, Rory Stewart was educated at Eton and Oxford and was also a tutor to princes William and Harry. Apart from being a diplomat and MP later, he also traveled across several countries on foot and wrote about this remarkable journey in a bestselling book.

 31 
Robert Clive
(The First British Governor of the Bengal Presidency in British India)
Robert Clive
8
Birthdate: September 25, 1725
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Styche Hall, England
Died: November 22, 1774

Robert Clive was a military officer and the first British Governor of the Bengal Presidency in British India. Nicknamed Clive of India, Robert Clive is credited with laying the foundation of the East India Company rule in Bengal. He won the Battle of Plassey in 1757, which enabled him to establish Company rule in Bengal.

 32 
Jeremy Corbyn
(Leader of Opposition in British Parliament (2015 – 2020))
Jeremy Corbyn
14
Birthdate: May 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chippenham, Wiltshire, England

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.

 33 
Amber Rudd
(Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2018 - 2019))
Amber Rudd
11
Birthdate: August 1, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom

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.

 34 
Glenda Jackson
7
Birthdate: May 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Birkenhead, Cheshire, England

Glenda Jackson is best known for her Academy Award-winning roles in the films Women in Love and A Touch of Class. She has also won two Emmys for playing Elizabeth I in the TV series Elizabeth R and a Tony for her role in the play Three Tall Women.

 35 
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
(First Chief Scout of the World-Renowned Scout Movement.)
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
9
Birthdate: February 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England
Died: January 8, 1941
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell was a British Army officer and first Chief Scout of the world-renowned Scout Movement. He is also credited with co-founding the Guide Association, the national guiding organization of the UK. The recipient of the first Silver Buffalo Award, Robert Baden-Powell was also nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on many occasions.
 36 
Jacob Rees-Mogg
(Politician)
Jacob Rees-Mogg
16
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.

 37 
Ramsay MacDonald
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)
Ramsay MacDonald
4
Birthdate: October 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lossiemouth
Died: November 9, 1937
 38 
H. H. Asquith
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1908-1916))
H. H. Asquith
5
Birthdate: September 1, 1852
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Morley, England
Died: February 1, 1928

H. H. Asquith was an English politician and statesman best remembered for serving as the prime minister of the UK from 1908 to 1916. He was the last PM to command a majority government from the Liberal Party. Great Britain entered the First World War under his prime ministership, a move which is often criticized by modern-day critics and scholars.

Ethelred the Unready
5
Birthdate: 0968 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: April 23, 1016
 40 
Randolph Churchill
(Son of Winston Churchill and Conservative Member of Parliament for Preston from 1940 to 1945)
Randolph Churchill
6
Birthdate: May 28, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
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 
Ed Balls
(Political Leader)
Ed Balls
6
Birthdate: February 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK
 42 
John Bercow
(Former Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom)
John Bercow
10
Birthdate: January 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edgware, London, England
Conservative politician John Bercow served as the Speaker of the House of Commons from 2009 to 2019 and was also an MP from Buckingham from 1997 to 2019. He became the first MP to be elected as the Speaker without having served as the Deputy Speaker, since Selwyn Lloyd. 
 43 
William Pitt the Younger
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1783-1801, 1804-06))
William Pitt the Younger
6
Birthdate: May 28, 1759
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hayes, Bromley, England
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.

 44 
Robert Walpole
(Prime Minister of Great Britain (1721-42))
Robert Walpole
6
Birthdate: August 26, 1676
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houghton, Norfolk, England
Died: March 18, 1745
 45 
Diane Abbott
(Former Shadow Home Secretary)
Diane Abbott
10
Birthdate: September 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England, United Kingdom
 46 
Charles Edward Stuart
(Military Leader)
Charles Edward Stuart
13
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.
Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1850
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ballylongford, Ireland
Died: June 5, 1916

Horatio Herbert Kitchener is remembered for his military acumen and for his large-scale organization of troops during World War I. He had served the Egyptian army and the British army in South Africa, and was the commander-in-chief in India. He died aboard the HMS Hampshire when the cruiser drowned.

 48 
Angela Rayner
(Politician)
Angela Rayner
7
Birthdate: March 28, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stockport, England
 49 
Rachel Johnson
(Editor, Journalist)
Rachel Johnson
8
Birthdate: September 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Rachel Johnson is a British television presenter, journalist, and author. She is known for appearing in panel discussion programs and debate programs, such as The Pledge and Question Time. A well-known novelist, Johnson served as a judge of the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the UK.

 50 
Stephen of England
5
Birthdate: 1092 AD
Birthplace: Blois
Died: October 25, 1154