As the world’s longest reigning monarch — 67 years — Queen Elizabeth has worked with many British prime ministers. With Boris Johnson’s comfortable victory over Jeremy Hunt to become the new Conservative leader, he will become the 14th prime minister during the monarch’s reign.
“Today at this pivotal moment in our history,” Johnson said, “we again have to reconcile two sets of instincts, two noble sets of instincts, between the deep desire for friendship and free trade and mutual support and security and defense between Britain and our European partners, and the simultaneous desire, equally deep and heartfelt, for democratic self-government in this country.”
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May will give a farewell speech and officially submit her resignation to Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday. Shortly after, Johnson will meet with the monarch and kiss her hand, following tradition.
The 93-year-old monarch was forced to delay her planned vacation to Scotland so that she could meet the new prime minister. The Queen was supposed to travel north to her favorite residence, Balmoral Castle, last week when Buckingham Palace opened its doors to the public, but she had to postpone her plans in order to meet with Johnson on Wednesday.
Winston Churchill served as prime minister from 1940 to 1945, then again from 1951 to 1955. He was the first British prime minister the Queen worked with during her reign, when she ascended the throne in 1952.
The monarch was quite fond of Churchill and sent him a handwritten letter upon his retirement. In it, she said no one “will ever for me be able to hold the place of my first prime minister, to whom both my husband and I owe so much and for whose wise guidance during the early years of my reign I shall always be so profoundly grateful,” according to Yahoo.
Anthony Eden took over the role from 1955 to 1957, followed by Harold Macmillan until 1963. Alec Douglas-Home then served a short stint as prime minister from 1963 to 1964.
Harold Wilson served two terms as prime minister: 1964 to 1970, and again 1974 to 1976. Aside from their working relationship, Wilson also had a personal connection to the royal family and sometimes joined them for picnics at Balmoral, Yahoo reports.
In between Wilson’s terms, Edward Heath took on the position, followed by three years of James Callaghan as the prime minister.
Margaret Thatcher served as British prime minister for a long stint: 1979 to 1990. However, there was still a stiffness between them.
“It was the starchiest relationship. She was deferential, much too deferential. The Queen was not requiring so much,” said one longtime observer, according to The Daily Beast. A family friend added: “The Queen had some most amusing and well-observed lines about Thatcher.”
Thatcher was succeeded by John Major, who served in the position from 1990 to 1997. Tony Blair followed for a decade, then Gordon Brown (2007 to 2010) and David Cameron (2010 to 2016).
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Theresa May took the job in 2016, becoming the second woman to hold the position.
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