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Top 10 Iconic Brits

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Trent Lee In England's finest hours, these were their kings and queens – in some cases figuratively, in some cases literally! Join http://www/watchmojo.com as we count down our picks for Top 10 Iconic Brits. For this list, we are excluding those celebrities associated with America more than Britain, so very sorry to all you Charlie Chaplin fans. Also we are solely celebrities born in England and not those of Scotland, Wales or Ireland. Special thanks to our users trentslee and KarlPilkingtonNo1for submitting the idea at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Iconic Brits


In England’s finest hours, these were their kings and queens – in some cases figuratively, in some cases literally! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Iconic Brits.

For this list, we are excluding those celebrities associated with America more than Britain, so very sorry to all you Charlie Chaplin fans. Also we are solely celebrities born in England and not those of Scotland, Wales or Ireland.

#10: Charles Dickens
1812 - 1870

Considered the greatest Victorian novelist ever, this writer and critic of 19th century England wrote of the country’s best of times and its worst of times. Often commenting on the social ills that were occurring around him – including poverty, prejudice, hypocrisy and more – Dickens used his experiences to craft some of the most beloved, known and timeless characters in all of literature. Known as well today as he was in his own time, Dickens and his legacy as an icon in British prose will continue to live on thanks to pieces of writing like “Great Expectations,” “A Christmas Carol,” “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Oliver Twist.”

#9: Richard Branson
1950 -

British Business tycoon and self-made billionaire Richard Branson is founder of Virgin Group, a multinational made up of over 400 different affiliate companies, including subsidiaries in the airline, railway and mobile phone spaces, as well as commercial space travel. But it all started in the late-1960s with his record business, and by the next decade Branson really began to amass his fortune with the Virgin Records record label. Thanks to Branson’s pioneering vison and boyish charm, the brand eventually represented many groundbreaking acts, and made Branson one of the UK’s ten richest citizens.

#8: Charles Darwin
1809 - 1882

Survival of the fittest is the game of life. So it’s no surprise Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution propelled him onto our list. His work, “On the Origin of Species,” proposed that all species of life descended over time from common ancestors. Not only has this naturalist helped the world’s understanding of natural sciences evolve, he also revolutionized how humans think of their place in the universe and history. All of this has easily made him one of history’s most revolutionary scientists, as well as one of the most famous Englishmen.

#7: Margaret Thatcher
1925 - 2013

This Conservative Party leader was the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held Britain’s highest political office. Uncompromising, ferocious and cunning, Thatcher was not only an icon in British history, but also of conservative thought, with her right-wing policies earning her adoration from the right and disapproval from the left – especially after she cut funding to social programs, diminished the power of the unions and privatized certain state-owned companies. However, regardless of your stance on her politics, it’s difficult to deny the impact this Iron Lady had on 20th century Britain.

#6: Sir Isaac Newton
1643 - 1727

Known as the father of modern science and a significant figure in the scientific revolution, this “natural philosopher” was a physicist and mathematician best known for his earth-shattering revelations in optics, calculus, the laws of motion and – famously – universal gravitation. Another man who’s considered a key figure in science history, his book, “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,” has proved invaluable to the scientific world. In fact, without him, Europe may never have undergone the scientific revolution it so desperately needed, and the phrase “what goes up must come down” may never have been proven true.

#5: Queen Elizabeth II
1926 -

Head of the Commonwealth beginning with her ascension to the throne in 1952, Elizabeth oversaw numerous significant changes throughout her tenure. Through generations of anti-monarchist sentiment, she deserves credit for maintaining the British monarchy’s overall support. Celebrating her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Her Majesty became the oldest reigning monarch in the world, as well as Britain’s longest-lived monarch, and though the public isn’t privy to the inner workings of her personality, she is still one of the most recognizable and known Brits ever. Long live the Queen.

#4: Diana, Princess of Wales
1961 - 1997

Married to the Prince of Wales in 1981 in one of the most lavish and most watched television events in history, Diana became one of the first accessible members of the Royal Family. Labelled by some as “the world’s most photographed woman,” Diana was charismatic, kindhearted and elegant – all of which made her the focus of intense media scrutiny across the globe. Although that interest ultimately contributed to her untimely death, she left behind a legacy of compassion and contributions to humanitarian aid efforts; combatting landmines, homelessness, and HIV AIDS. She truly was the People’s Princess.

#3: William Shakespeare
1564 [Baptized] - 1616

The Bard of Avon; perhaps no other Britain shaped the English language and culture as significantly as Shakespeare. Contributing thousands of new words to the English language, the legendary poet, playwright and actor scribed roughly 38 and 154 sonnets. His tales remain relevant to this day as they not only impacted English society but also reveal the timeless and universal condition of mankind and its folly; something which speaks not only to British culture but which translates to all languages and cultures. As Victor Hugo once said, “England has two books, the Bible and Shakespeare.”

#2: The Beatles

The British Invasion made many musicians world famous, and while Mick Jagger and his fellow Rolling Stones are absolute British icons, no act sold more records, earned more number ones and elicited more teenaged screams than The Beatles. These four mop-topped boys from Liverpool hold numerous records and honors, not the least of which is the unofficial title of most influential band in the world ever. Together as the Fab Four, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr changed the face of music forever, helping to bring rock and roll to the mainstream and became the best-selling band in history in the process.

Before we crown our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Alfred Hitchcock
1899 - 1980
- Freddie Mercury
1946 - 1991
- John Cleese
1939 -
- Henry VIII
1491 - 1547
- David Bowie
1947 -
- Jane Austen
1775 - 1817

#1: Sir Winston Churchill
1874 -1965

Our top spot goes to the British Bulldog himself. An officer in the British Army, a career politician, historian and a Nobel Prize-winning author, Churchill aided in the defeat of Hitler during World War II, helped popularized the peace sign – or, in his case, the “V for Victory” sign – and was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1940 and their Man of the Half-Century in 1949. Though still a flawed hero, this wartime Prime Minister was considered one of the best orators in modern times and one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.

Do you agree with our list? Which Brit do you think is the most iconic? For more jolly-good Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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