How many prime ministers did Queen Elizabeth II see? Full list of UK PMs she had met during her 70-year reign

The late Queen was served by many Prime Ministers in her historic 70 year reign - including Tony Blair, Theresa May, Margaret Thatcher and Boris Johnson

For the first time in British history, a new monarch and a new prime minister have both taken up roles within just hours of each other.

This has occured after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday 8 September), just two days after meeting Liz Truss and welcoming her to become the new UK prime minister.

Ms Truss will now become the first Prime Minister to serve King Charles III, who became King immediately following the death of his mother.

This year, the late Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee - meaning that she became the longest serving British monarch.

Her Majesty ascended to the throne in 1952, following the death of her father King George VI, and reigned for 70 years before her death at Balmoral Castle.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that she was been served by more UK Prime Ministers than any other British monarch.

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But, just how many prime ministers served Queen Elizabeth II, who were they and what was her relationship with each of them?

Here’s what you need to know.

The Queen has been served by 14 UK Prime Ministers, including Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and more recently, Boris Johnson.

How many UK Prime Ministers was the Queen been served by?

The Queen was served by 15 UK Prime Ministers, including Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and more recently, Boris Johnson and the new Prime Minister in Liz Truss.

Who are the Prime Ministers, and what was the Queen’s relationship like with each of them?

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Each of the Prime Ministers served the Queen for a different period of time, and she had also had different relationships with them all.

Winston Churchill

Having taken office in October 1951, Winston Churchill had been Prime Minister for just a few months when the then 25 year old Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in February 1952.

It is thought that Churchill was the late Queen’s favourite of all the Prime Ministers who served her.

When he retired in April 1955, the late Queen reportedly sent him a handwritten letter telling him how much she missed him and how no successor “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”.

Anthony Eden

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Anthony Eden was Prime Minister for just less than two years, between April 1955 and January 1957.

The late Queen is said to have had a more formal relationship with him.

Harold Macmillan

Harold Macmillan, who took office between January 1957 and October 1963, was said to be the opposite of the late Queen in some ways. She preferred the country, while he chose city life.

On one occasion, however, the late Queen and Macmillan were seen listening to a transistor radio together as US astronaut John Glenn went to space in 1962.

Alec Douglas-Home

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Alec Douglas-Home was only Prime Minister for one year, between October 1963 and October 1964.

It’s reported, however, that the pair got on and shared a mutual love of dogs.

Harold Wilson

Harold Wilson had two stints in number 10 Downing Street, the first between October 1964 and June 1970 and the second between March 1974 and April 1976.

The late Queen also had a good relationship with Wilson, and he joined members of the royal family for riverside picnics at Balmoral.

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Edward Heath

Edward Health took up office between Wilson’s two stints, between June 1970 and March 1974.

He is said to have struggled to make small talk with Her Majesty each time they met.

James Callaghan

James Callaghan was Prime Minister between April 1976 and May 1979. He is said to have found a warm rapport with the late Queen and once said he enjoyed every conversation he had with her.

“One of the great things about her is that she always seems able to see the funny side of life. All the conversations were very enjoyable.”

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Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher, who was in office from May 1979 to November 1990, was the first female Prime Minister to serve the late Queen and was also one of the longest serving UK Prime Ministers.

When Baroness Thatcher died in April 2013, the Queen attended her ceremonial funeral. This was said to be a personal decision and an indication of the late Queen’s respect for her.

John Major

John Mayor took office from November 1990 to May 1997. He was Prime Minister at the time of the divorce of the late Queen’s first son Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1996, and then Diana’s death in 1997.

His concern for the then Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s children, Prince William and Prince Harry, during these times won him approval from the late Queen and the wider royal family.

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Tony Blair

Tony Blair was Prime Minister for just over 10 years, between May 1997 and June 2007. He released details of his private conversations with the Queen in his memoirs called A Journey.

Amongst other things, he revealed that during a weekend barbecue at Balmoral, which he described as “a vivid combination of the intriguing, the surreal and the utterly freaky”, the late Prince Philip did the cooking while the late Queen put on rubber gloves and washed the dishes.

The late Queen was said to have been angry by Blair’s actions.

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown, who was in office between June 2007 and May 2010, is said to have had a good but formal relationship with the late Queen and the royal family.

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David Cameron

David Cameron, who was Prime Minister between May 2010 and July 2016, was forced to apologise to the late Queen when he was caught on camera telling then New York mayor Michael Bloomberg that she had “purred down the line” when he telephoned to tell her that Scotland had decided to remain in the UK in the Scottish independence referendum.

Cameron’s actions confirmed that the late Queen had wanted Scotland to remain in the UK, although she had publicly declined to make her opinion known.

Theresa May

Theresa May was the second female Prime Minister to serve the late Queen. She was in office from July 2016 to July 2019.

May took up the post in the wake of the Brexit vote, more than a quarter of a century after Mrs Thatcher stood down.

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When she then decided to step down, due to not being able to find a way for the UK to leave the EU supported by Parliament, the late Queen was reportedly sad to see her go.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was in office from July 2019 until he resigned on 7 July 2022.

The pair appeared to have a good working relationship, with the Queen sending “warm wishes” to Johnson and his now wife Carrie following the birth of their son in April 2020 and Johnson then sending his condolences to the Queen and the royal family following the death of Prince Philip in April 2021.

Liz Truss

Liz Truss is the current Prime Minister.

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She was formally invited to form a government by Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday 6 September.

The photos of the late Queen welcoming Liz Truss are some of the last images released before the sudden death of Her Majesty, and Liz Truss is also understood to have been one of the last people - outside of the royal family - to spend time with Elizabeth II before she passed.

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When did the Queen meet with the Prime Minister?

Each week, as part of her official duties, the late Queen met the Prime Minister as all prime ministers are required to keep the serving monarch informed on all government matters.

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These meetings had taken place every Wednesday at Buckingham Palace.

This meeting is completely private. No special advisers attend and there is no official record of what is said.

Every time a new Prime Minister is elected, they are invited to Buckingham Palace. There, they are formally invited to form a new government. The late Queen also formally dissolved a government before a general election.

In a break with tradition, new Prime Minister Liz Truss was asked to travel to the Queen’s Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle, on Tuesday 6 September.