The prime ministers who served under Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth and Harold Wilson

In seven decades on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II saw 15 British prime ministers come and go, from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher to Boris Johnson to Liz Truss.

Here is a list of the leaders who served under her and their years in office:

— Winston Churchill, 1951-1955. When Elizabeth’s father died in 1952, Churchill initially complained that she was “only a child.” But within days, the leader reportedly gushed over her: “All the film people in the world, if they had scoured the globe, could not have found anyone so suited to the part.” The pair went on to enjoy a close relationship.

— Anthony Eden, 1955-1957. Eden resigned shortly after the 1956 Suez Crisis.

— Harold Macmillan, 1957-1963. Macmillan once noted that Elizabeth “means to be a queen and not a puppet,” and that she had the “heart and stomach of a man.”

— Harold Wilson, 1964-1970, then 1974-76. Wilson, the first Labour prime minister during the queen’s reign, reportedly enjoyed a relaxed relationship with Elizabeth.

— Edward Heath, 1970-1974. The Conservative leader took Britain into the European Economic Community, a predecessor to the European Union.

— James Callaghan, 1976-1979. Callaghan’s years in government were dominated by economic recession and trouble with unions.

— Margaret Thatcher, 1979-1990. Thatcher was Elizabeth’s longest-serving prime minister, but the two women’s relationship was widely reported to be frosty.

— John Major, 1990-1997. Major once said: “One can say to the queen absolutely anything. Even thoughts you perhaps don’t want to share with your Cabinet.”

— Tony Blair, 1997-2007. Blair was the first prime minister to have been born during the queen’s reign — a fact that the monarch brought up at their first meeting. He recalled that she told him: “You are my 10th prime minister. The first was Winston. That was before you were born.”

— Gordon Brown, 2007-2010. Brown’s brief time at Downing Street ended after a disastrous election performance for Labour in 2010.

— David Cameron, 2010-2016. Cameron was the youngest serving prime minister during Elizabeth’s reign. He attended the Heatherdown school with the queen’s son, Prince Edward.

— Alec Douglas-Home, 1963-1964. Douglas-Home, who was a family friend of the queen’s mother, served for just under a year.

— Theresa May, 2016-2019. The three-year tenure of May, Britain’s second female prime minister, was almost entirely consumed by Brexit. May tried three times to get Parliament to back her Brexit deal and resigned after she repeatedly failed.

— Boris Johnson, 2019 to 2022. Johnson will go down in history as the prime minister who “got Brexit done,” but his tenure was defined by his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and scandals over rule-breaking government parties and lapses of ethical judgment. In July 2022 members of his government began to quit en masse, forcing him to announce his resignation.

— Liz Truss, September 2022 to present. Truss won a Conservative leadership contest to replace Johnson as leader of the governing party. The queen formally appointed her prime minister in a ceremony at Balmoral Castle on Sept. 6, two days before the queen died.

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