The Greatest Britons of all Time
chosen by the people of Britain.
In November 2002, the British public voted to find the Greatest Briton of all time. Over a million people voted.
NB. The list contains a few non British entrants includinding two Irish nationals (Bono and Bob Geldof) and Freddie Mercury, who was born in Zanzibar to Indian Parsi parents.
Here are the results:
Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was a politician, a soldier, an artist, and the 20th century's most famous and celebrated Prime Minister.
Diana, Princess of Wales
From the time of her marriage to the Prince of Wales in 1981 until her death in a car accident in Paris in 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales was one of the world's most high-profile, most photographed, and most iconic celebrities.
Charles Darwin was a British naturalist of the nineteenth century. He and others developed the theory of evolution. This theory forms the basis for the modern life sciences. Darwin's most famous books are 'The Origin of Species' and 'The Descent of Man'.
William Shakespeare was a playwright and poet whose body of works is considered the greatest in English literature. He wrote dozens of plays which continue to dominate world theater 400 years later.
Sir Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton was a mathematician and scientist who invented differential calculus and formulated the theory of universal gravitation, a theory about the nature of light, and three laws of motion.
Queen Elizabeth I
The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth 1 reigned England from 1558–1603. Her reign was marked by several plots to overthrow her, the execution of Mary Queen of Scots (1587), the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), and domestic prosperity and literary achievement. Find out more about Elizabeth 1
John Lennon was a musician and composer who was a member of the Beatles, the biggest rock band of the 1960s.
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Nelson is the greatest hero in British naval history, an honour he earned by defeating Napoleon's fleet in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
Oliver Cromwell was a military, political, and religious figure who led the Parliamentarian victory in the English Civil War (1642–1649) and called for the execution of Charles I. He was Lord Protector of England for much of the 1650s, ruling in place of the country's traditional monarchy.
Captain James Cook
James Cook was an explorer of the eighteenth century, known for his voyages to the Pacific Ocean. Cook visited New Zealand, established the first European colony in Australia, and was the first European to visit Hawaii. He also approached Antarctica and explored much of the western coast of North America.
Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher was the United Kingdom's first woman prime minister, and she held the office of PM for longer than anyone in the 20th century.
Sir Paul McCartney
McCartney was a singer, songwriter and guitarist for The Beatles, the biggest rock band of the 1960s.
Sir Alexander Fleming
British bacteriologist who discovered penicillin in 1928, for which he shared a Nobel Prize in 1945.
British physicist and chemist who discovered electromagnetic induction (1831) and proposed the field theory later developed by Maxwell and Einstein.
Queen Elizabeth II
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), is the Queen regnant and Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and fifteen other Commonwealth countries.
English conspirator who was executed for his role in a plot to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament (1570-1606) Find out more
Beckham is a leading English footballer and a former star of the legendary team Manchester United.
King Henry VIII
Henry VIII is one of the most famous and controversial kings of England. His divorce from Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, compelled him to break from the Catholic Church by the Act of Supremacy (1534).
Charles Dickens - writer
Charles Dickens wrote some of the most popular and widely read novels of the 19th century, from Oliver Twist to A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.
Sir Francis Drake
English naval hero and explorer who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world (1577–1580) and was vice admiral of the fleet that destroyed the Spanish Armada (1588).
A legendary British hero, said to have been king of the Britons in the sixth century A.D. and to have held court at Camelot.
British nurse who organized (1854) and directed a unit of field nurses during the Crimean War and is considered the founder of modern nursing. (Although Florence was born in Italy, her parents were British and from the age of one, Florence lived in Britain).
Sir Alexander Graham Bell
Scottish-born American inventor of the telephone.