Famous Welsh Women

Wales has long since lived under the shadow of Great Britain but has a lot more to it than an eclipsed existence. It is its extraordinary nationals and their outstanding feats that have carved a niche for Wales in the world map. From the land of fathers, come a female sect, strong and influential, whose achievements have shaped history and whose names will resonate for centuries at large. Welsh women have been pioneers – the have left a trail of their geniuses for others to follow. Their achievements are so profound that they sure would leave your startled for good. Megan Llyod George was the first woman to serve as the Welsh MP. Her campaigns for women’s rights and underprivileged gave her an iconic status.

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

Vote for Your Favourite Welsh Women

 1 

Catherine Zeta-Jones
46
Birthdate: September 25, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales

Catherine Zeta-Jones is one of the most popular and successful actresses from Wales. Starting out as a child actress, Catherine went on to cement her place in the American film industry with roles that accentuated her sex appeal. She is the recipient of several awards. Also a well-known humanitarian, she was appointed CBE for her humanitarian and film endeavors.

 2 

Shirley Bassey
14
Birthdate: January 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales

Shirley Bassey is one of the most popular Welsh singers of all time. Blessed with an expressive voice, Shirley Bassey is renowned for recording the theme songs of popular James Bond movies, such as Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, and Goldfinger. In 2000, she was appointed a DBE for services to performing arts.

 3 
Bonnie Tyler
(Singer Known for Her Distinctive Husky Voice and Debut Album 'The World Starts Tonight')

Bonnie Tyler
11
Birthdate: June 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Skewen, Neath, Wales

Known for her signature raspy voice and blonde locks, Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler soared to fame with her Billboard-charting track It's a Heartache. The 3-time Grammy-nominated singer has previously also sung for the UK at Eurovision. She is also a philanthropist and invests in property, too.

Recommended Lists:

 4 
Perdita Weeks
(Actress)

Perdita Weeks
10
Birthdate: December 25, 1985
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cardiff, United Kingdom

British actress Perdita Weeks is known for her role in the CBS reboot series Magnum P.I. An alumnus of the Courtauld Institute of Art, she always knew she wanted to be an actress. She began acting as a child and her passion for the profession only intensified with time. She primarily acts on TV and a done a few films.

Recommended Lists:

 5 

Charlotte Church
9
Birthdate: February 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales

Charlotte Church is a Welsh actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, and television presenter. She achieved popularity after hosting her own chat show for Channel 4, The Charlotte Church Show. As a recording artist, Church has won many awards, including a Hollywood Reporters Young Star Award and Classical BRIT Award. She has also published an autobiography named Voice of an Angel.  

 6 
Marina Diamandis
(Singer-Songwriter Known for Her Albums: 'The Family Jewels', 'Electra Heart' and 'Froot')

Marina Diamandis
2
Birthdate: October 10, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brynmawr, Gwent, Wales
Welsh singer Marina Diamandis initially soared to fame as Marina and the Diamonds. Though she studied classic composition in university, she dropped out later to create her own music. She created the character Electra Heart to promote her album of the same name. She claims she is synesthetic.

 7 
Katherine Jenkins
(Mezzo-Soprano Singer Known for Her Song Performance in Honour of Pope John Paul II's Silver Jubilee)

Katherine Jenkins
2
Birthdate: June 29, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Neath, Wales

While Classic FM named her The Biggest Selling Classical Artist of the Century, Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins released 13 number-1 albums by age 23. Initially a singing teacher, Jenkins had also worked as a tour guide and a model. Her $10 million record deal with Warner Bros. was the biggest-ever in classical music.

You May Like

 8 
Sian Phillips
(Actress)

Sian Phillips
7
Birthdate: May 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, United Kingdom

Sian Phillips is a respected Welsh actress whose achievements over the course of her career spanning over seven decades were honored with a Radio Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 BBC Audio Drama Awards. Sian Phillips, who has won prestigious awards, such as BAFTA TV Award, was appointed DBE during the New Year Honours in 2016.

 9 
Joanna Page
(Actress who appeared as Stacey Shipman in the BAFTA-winning television series Gavin & Stacey)

Joanna Page
4
Birthdate: March 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Treboeth, Swansea, Wales

 10 
Jessica Sula
(Actress)

Jessica Sula
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1994
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gorseinon, Swansea, Wales

 11 
Alex Jones
(Television presenter)

Alex Jones
7
Birthdate: March 18, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ammanford, Carmarthen, Wales, UK

 12 
Erin Richards
(Actress Best Known for Her Role in the TV Series 'Breaking In' and 'Gotham')

Erin Richards
4
Birthdate: May 17, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

Welsh actor-director Erin Richards is best known to audiences for her roles in the series Gotham and Breaking In. She has also appeared in films such as The Quiet Ones and That Good Night. She likes doing her own stunts and is fond of low-budget productions with good storylines.

 13 

Aimee-Ffion Edwards
5
Birthdate: November 21, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales

Initially aspiring to be a classical singer, Aimee-Ffion Edwards had her first stint with showbiz on the show Wawffactor. As a teenager, she was the only girl in a rugby team. She is equally at ease playing a working-class mother in The Left Behind and a gypsy in Peaky Blinders.

 14 
Ruth Jones
(Actress Best Known as Co-writer and Star of the Hit BBC Television Comedy 'Gavin & Stacey')

Ruth Jones
4
Birthdate: September 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bridgend, Wales

Welsh actor Ruth Jones apparently wasn’t too confident of her being accepted into a drama school and thus had only applied to one, the Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she ended up being accepted. The fine comedian is known for appearing in and co-writing the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey.  

 15 
Eve Myles
(Actress)

Eve Myles
8
Birthdate: July 8, 1978
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ystradgynlais, Wales

Known for her trademark gap between her front teeth, Welsh actor Eve Myles is best known for her roles series such as Belonging. Her phenomenal performance in an episode of Doctor Who in 2005 earned her the lead role in the spin-off Torchwood. She is also an award-winning stage actor.

 16 

Mandy Rice-Davies
4
Birthdate: October 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Died: December 18, 2014

Mandy Rice-Davies was a British model and a showgirl, best remembered for her involvement in the Profumo affair that damaged the credibility of Harold Macmillan's Conservative government in early 1960s. Later, she opened a restaurant and a nightclub in Tel Aviv and publishing three books including her autobiography. She also appeared in a number of films and television productions.  

 17 
Tegan Nox
(Wrestler)

Tegan Nox
5
Birthdate: November 15, 1994
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bargoed, Wales

 18 

Alexandra Roach
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1987
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Wales

Actor Alexandra Roach was already a regular on the Welsh soap Pobol Y Cwm by her teens. She later trained at the National Youth Theatre and then at RADA. She played the younger version of Margaret Thatcher in the biographical drama The Iron Lady. She also played Mary Boleyn in The Tudors.

 19 
Paula Yates
(Television presenter)

Paula Yates
8
Birthdate: April 24, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Wales
Died: September 17, 2000

 20 
Laura Ashley
(Founder of 'Laura Ashley' Brand)

Laura Ashley
5
Birthdate: September 7, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil,, Wales
Died: September 17, 1985

Laura Ashley was a Welsh businesswoman and fashion designer. She is credited with co-founding a British textile design company called Laura Ashley plc, which became an international retail chain after some 20 years from its founding. Two years after her death, the Laura Ashley Foundation was established in order to fund arts and social welfare projects.

 21 
Doris Hare
(Best Known for Her Portrayal of ‘Mrs. Mabel "Mum" Butler’ in ‘On the Buses’)

Doris Hare
0
Birthdate: March 1, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bargoed, Wales
Died: May 30, 2000

 22 
Jade Jones
(Taekwondo athlete)

Jade Jones
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1993
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bodelwyddan, Wales

 23 

Rachel Roberts
5
Birthdate: September 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Died: November 26, 1980

BAFTA-winning actor Rachel Roberts is best remembered as Mrs. Margaret Hammond from This Sporting Life, a role that also earned her Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. A theater veteran, she has also won a Drama Desk Award. Her journals were published following her suicide by drug overdose.

 24 
Jem
(Singer-songwriter)

Jem
1
Birthdate: May 18, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Penarth, Wales

While she began singing at age 13, Welsh singer Jemma Griffiths, better known as Jem, also earned a law degree, pushed by her lawyer father. Experimenting with both electronica and pop/rock, she created masterpieces such as They and Wish I. Her music has been featured in movies such as Monster-in-Law.

Mali Harries
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD

Cardiff-born actor Mali Harries is best known for her roles in Pobol y Cwm and Hinterland. She has been nominated for a BAFTA Cymru and was once voted one of the 10 Sexiest Woman in Wales in an online poll.  She has also been part of films such as Leap Year.

 26 
Lisa Scott-Lee
(Welsh Singer and Member of the Pop Group 'Steps')

Lisa Scott-Lee
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: St Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales

While she was catapulted to fame with the 90s’ pop group Steps, famous for hits such as 5,6,7,8, Lisa Scott-Lee later launched her solo career. She also ventured into reality TV, with the show Totally Scott-Lee and now works as a head teacher at a performing arts academy in Dubai.

 27 
Ruth Ellis
(British Nightclub Hostess and Convicted Murderer who Became the Last Woman to be Hanged in the UK)

Ruth Ellis
9
Birthdate: October 9, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales, UK
Died: July 13, 1955

 28 
Cerys Matthews
(Founding Member of Welsh Rock Band 'Catatonia' and a Leading Figure in the 'Cool Cymru' Movement)

Cerys Matthews
6
Birthdate: April 11, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

Best known for hosting music shows on various BBC Radio networks, singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews had also previously established the Welsh band Catatonia. She also writes and presents documentaries and has been a reporter for the TV magazine The One Show. Her album Tir has been the best-selling Welsh album in a decade.

 29 
Margaret John
(Actress)

Margaret John
1
Birthdate: December 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales
Died: February 2, 2011

While BAFTA-winning veteran actor Margaret John initially wished to be a vet or a nurse, her aversion to blood made her choose acting. Known for her role in Pobol y Cwm, she was one of the 31 actors to be part of both the Doctor Who series of the 1960s and the 2000s.

 30 
Sarah Waters
(Novelist, Writer)

Sarah Waters
4
Birthdate: July 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Neyland, Wales

British author Sarah Waters soared to fame with her debut novel, Tipping the Velvet, and is known to include lesbian protagonists in her writings. Three of her books have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Initially an academic, she also has a PhD in LGBT fiction. She is herself openly lesbian.

 31 
Sophie Evans
(singer)

Sophie Evans
2
Birthdate: February 13, 1993
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tonypandy

Known for her stage roles in Wicked and The Wizard of Oz, Sophie Evans has also had a long association with the Mid-Rhondda Operatic Society. She was also the runner-up on Over the Rainbow and has been part of films such as Pride. She has performed at numerous charity and sports events, too.

 32 
Penelope Mortimer
(Journalist)

Penelope Mortimer
0
Birthdate: September 19, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rhyl, Wales
Died: October 19, 1999

Costa Book Award-winning Anglo-Welsh journalist Penelope Mortimer is best remembered for her iconic novel The Pumpkin Eater, which was later made into a film. An expert in writing feminist fiction, her works included plots of broken marriages. Her father, a clergyman, had apparently sexually abused her in childhood.

 33 
Hannah Mills
(Skipper)

Hannah Mills
1
Birthdate: February 29, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

 34 
Hannah Stone
(Harpist)

Hannah Stone
0
Birthdate: April 27, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mumbles, Swansea, Wales

Welsh harpist Hannah Stone had started performing at age 8 and has since played for the British Royal Family quite a few times. She was also named the Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales back in 2011. She is now married to bass-baritone opera singer Sir Bryn Terfel.

 35 
Lucy Walter
(Mistress of Charles II)

Lucy Walter
2
Birthdate: 1630 AD
Birthplace: Roch Castle, Wales
Died: 1658 AD

 36 
Sarah Siddons
(Actress)

Sarah Siddons
1
Birthdate: July 5, 1755
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brecon
Died: June 8, 1831

Born to traveling actors, Sarah Siddons began appearing on stage as a child actor. Regarded as one of the finest tragediennes of the time, she added magic to the role of Lady Macbeth, and in her last appearance in Macbeth, the audience didn’t let the play proceed beyond the sleepwalking scene.

 37 
Tessie O'Shea
(Actress)

Tessie O'Shea
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1913
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Died: April 21, 1995

Known as Two Ton Tessie for her plus-size built, Tessie O'Shea was a Welsh entertainer who had begun performing at age 6. Known for her signature hats and striped stockings, she later soared to fame singing bawdy tracks. She also won a Tony Award for The Girl Who Came to Supper.

Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke
4
Birthdate: 1172 AD
Birthplace: Leinster, Ireland
Died: March 11, 1220

 39 
Gwen John
(Painter, Visual artist, Model)

Gwen John
1
Birthdate: June 22, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Haverfordwest
Died: September 18, 1939

 40 
Judith Owen
(Singer-songwriter)

Judith Owen
3
Birthdate: January 2, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England

Born to a Welsh opera singer, Judith Owen was never a stranger to music. A talented singer-songwriter in her own right, she is known for tracks such as Hand on My Heart, which was featured on the soundtrack of As Good As It Gets. She now co-owns a record label with her husband.

 41 
Elaine Morgan
(Writer for television and the author of several books on evolutionary anthropology)

Elaine Morgan
0
Birthdate: November 7, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pontypridd, Wales
Died: July 12, 2013

Best remembered for her book The Descent of Woman, author Elaine Morgan was a 2-time BAFTA-winning TV write, who had penned many adaptations, and a scientific theorist. She propagated the aquatic ape theory of human evolution, suggesting that all other theories had been negligent of a woman’s role in evolution.

 42 

Victoria Thornley
0
Birthdate: November 30, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: St Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales

 43 
Catrin Finch
(Harpist)

Catrin Finch
1
Birthdate: April 24, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Llanon, Ceredigion, Wales

Catrin Finch began playing the harp at 6 and was part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain by 10. Once the Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales, she is also a breast cancer survivor. A mother of two by her previous husband, she is now married to her lesbian partner.

 44 
Margaret Price
(Opera singer)

Margaret Price
1
Birthdate: April 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Blackwood, Wales
Died: January 28, 2011

Welsh soprano Margaret Price was regarded as one of the greatest singers of her time. Starting her singing lessons at age 9, she won a scholarship to the Trinity School of Music at 15. Born with a leg deformity, she struggled with leg pain throughout her life. Post-retirement, she became a dog breeder.

 45 

Hester Thrale
2
Birthdate: January 27, 1741
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wales
Died: May 2, 1821

A close associate of Samuel Johnson, Hester Thrale was married to an affluent brewer named Henry Thrale but, following Henry’s death, got married to her daughter’s Italian music teacher. A renowned diarist, she released volumes of letters and anecdotes of Samuel Johnson after Johnson’s death.

 46 
Kate Roberts
(Welsh writer)

Kate Roberts
2
Birthdate: February 13, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rhosgadfan, Wales
Died: April 4, 1985

Author Kate Roberts was perhaps the first woman to make a significant impact in Welsh literature. The poverty and harsh living standards of Welsh villages was the predominant theme of most of her writings. She was mostly known for her short story collections, such as Tea in the Heather.

 47 
Catherine Tregenna
(Playwright known for Torchwood (2006), The Bench (2001) and Lucky Man (2016))

Catherine Tregenna
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Wales

 48 
Claire Jones
(Harpist)

Claire Jones
0
Birthdate: 1985 AD
Birthplace: Crymych, Wales

Starting to play the harp at age 10, Welsh harpist Claire Jones grew up to be named the Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales in 2007. She soared to fame with her performance at the wedding ceremony of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She also promotes the Welsh jewelry brand Clogau.

 49 
Myfanwy Piper
(Art Critic)

Myfanwy Piper
0
Birthdate: March 28, 1911
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1997

 50 
Anna Hursey
(Table tennis player)

Anna Hursey
4
Birthdate: June 22, 2006
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Carmarthen, Wales

Baroness Tanni Grey is a standing example of the phrase ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. A differentially abled woman, she went on to become the most accomplished disabled athlete in British history. She has 11 gold Paralympic medals and 13 World Championship medals in her kitty. Every time when Dame Shirley Bassey goes up the stage, the heart of the audience melts with her melodious voice. She is truly the best musical export of Wales. Did you know that former Australian President Julia Gillard is actually a Welsh? Unravel more unusual and interesting facts about Welsh women and their accomplishments with this segment.