Sir John Major arrives at a Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Joan Sutherland on February 15, 2011, in London, England.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Sir John Major arrives at a Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Joan Sutherland on February 15, 2011, in London, England.
CNN —  

Here’s a look at the life of Sir John Major, former prime minister of the United Kingdom.


Birth date: March 29, 1943

Birth place: Carshalton, Surrey

Birth name: John Major

Father: Abraham Thomas Ball, stage name - Tom Major, performer

Mother: Gwen (Coates) Major, dancer

Marriage: Norma (Johnson) Major (1970-present)

Children: James and Elizabeth

Other Facts

Left school at age 16.

Worked at a bank prior to entering politics.

Was appointed financial guardian of Prince William and Prince Harry after Princess Diana’s death.


1968-1971 - Member of the Lambeth Borough Council.

1974 - Unsuccessfully runs for a seat in parliament.

1979 - Wins a seat in parliament, representing Huntingdonshire.

1983 - Becomes assistant government whip.

1984 - Becomes treasury whip.

1985-1986 - Serves as undersecretary state for social security.

1986 - Is appointed minister of state for social security.

1987-1989 - Serves as chief secretary to the Treasury.

July 1989 - Is appointed foreign secretary.

October 1989 - Is appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.

November 28, 1990 - Becomes prime minister of the United Kingdom.

1990-1997 - Serves as prime minister of the United Kingdom.

June 1995 - Resigns as the head of the Conservative Party and calls for a parliamentary election to establish leadership of the party. He wins the election.

May 1, 1997 - Loses election to the Labor Party and Tony Blair.

1999 - “John Major: The Autobiography” is published.

2001 - Retires from Parliament.

2002 - Admits to having a four-year affair with Edwina Currie, a fellow MP, during the 1980s.

2005 - Is made a Knight of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth II.

2007 - Major’s book, “More Than A Game: The Story of Cricket’s Early Years,” is published.

2012 - Major’s book, “My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall,” is published.

December 2015 - According to the BBC, Major states that “flirting with leaving the European Union at a time when the whole world is coming together is very dangerous and against our national interests.”

February 27, 2017 - During a speech at Chatham House, Major encourages the UK to avoid what he calls a “hard Brexit” as people in the UK “have been led to expect a future that seems to be unreal and over-optimistic.”

August 30, 2019 - Announces that he intends to join the legal action brought by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, who wants to stop his successor Boris Johnson from closing down Parliament for five weeks. The following month he submits written testimony outlining his opposition that Johnson’s act to suspend Parliament was “in fact substantially motivated by a desire to obstruct Parliament from interfering with the Prime Minister’s plans.” In October, the Supreme Court unanimously rules that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.