During the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II as sovereign of the United Kingdom, 15 men and women served as the nation’s prime minister. The first was Winston Churchill, who was born in 1874. The last was Liz Truss, who was born in 1975. (The Queen is one of the 20 longest reigning monarchs in history.)
To compile a list of the prime ministers who served under Elizabeth, 24/7 Tempo referred to British Heritage and numerous other media sources both British and American.
Every Tuesday for 70 years, the Queen would have a private audience with the sitting PM about matters of state, and – depending on how well she got on with him or her – matters of lesser importance. Some encounters might only last a half-hour. For prime ministers such as Winston Churchill, 52 years her senior when she ascended the throne, and Labour leaders Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, these meetings sometimes went on for up to two hours.
From the early PMs Churchill, Anthony Eden, and Harold Macmillan, the Queen learned to navigate the difficult shoals of statecraft and remain above the fray of British politics. During turbulent times involving her family, she turned to John Major for counsel and support.
The competing national interests of Margaret Thatcher and the Queen sometimes were made public, such as the question of whether or not to impose sanctions on apartheid-era South Africa. (Thatcher was against them, the Queen was not.)
She bristled at the idea of a more accessible and demystified royalty championed by a new generation of leaders such as Tony Blair during a period when the idea of abolishing the monarchy was floated.
Regardless of their working relationship with the Queen, after her passing, the living prime ministers all acknowledged her dignity and commitment to public service as the longest-serving monarch in British history. (See the most important events in the life of Queen Elizabeth in every year of her reign.)
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