Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Gordon Brown was born in 1951 and went to school in Kirkcaldy. He studied at Edinburgh University, where he gained a PhD and was elected the youngest ever Rector.
In 1983 Gordon Brown was elected to Parliament. Today, as MP for the constituency where he was brought up, he is proud to represent his former school friends, and their families in an area where his family roots go back three hundred years.As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown presided over the longest period of growth ever, creating two and a half million more jobs, and lifting 600,000 children out of poverty. Not afraid of taking bold, long-term decisions, one of his first acts was to make the Bank of England independent. Gordon helped to deliver agreement at the Gleneagles Summit to support the world’s poorest countries and to tackle climate change.
Gordon Brown has written a number of books: a biography of James Maxton; Values, Visions and Voices; and The Real Divide, a study with Robin Cook of poverty and inequality. More recently a collection of his speech has been published as Moving Britain Forward. His book, Courage – Eight Portraits, looks at eight of his heroes and the influence they have had.
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom
Queen of the United Kingdom (1952 ) and head of the Commonwealth, born in London, UK, the daughter of George VI. Formerly Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, she was proclaimed queen on 6 February 1952, and crowned on 2 June 1953. Her husband was created Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of their wedding (20 Nov 1947), and styled Prince Philip in 1957. They have three sons, Charles Philip Arthur George (14 Nov 1948), Andrew Albert Christian EdwardEdward Anthony Richard Louis (10 Mar 1964), and a daughter Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise (15 Aug 1950). Elizabeth’s long and mainly peaceful reign has been marked by vast changes in her people’s lives, in her country’s power, how Britain is viewed abroad, and how the monarchy is regarded and portrayed. When Elizabeth became queen, post-war Britain still had a substantial empire, dominions, and dependencies, most of which achieved independence in the 1950s–1960s. Her reign has seen a revolution in social behavior and attitudes, and increased prosperity. The 1990s in particular were a problematic period for the royal family. The Windsor Castle fire and the divorces of Prince Charles from Diana, Princess of Wales, and of Prince Andrew from Sarah, Duchess of York, were followed by Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris in 1997. This particular tragedy brought to a head the debate about the monarchy’s role and continued formality. Overall, however, Elizabeth II has provided the nation’s main symbol of continuity, and her many visits to Commonwealth and other countries have won her wide respect. In 2006 she celebrated her 80th birthday with her family at Windsor Castle, and attended various public events to mark the occasion.