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Who is the most famous UK pensioner?

11th August 2022


The older generations should not only be cherished and respected, but they should be celebrated too. This is exactly what we are doing with this study that looks at the most famous UK pensioners.

Whether a stairlift user from the Greatest Generation or a recently retired Baby Boomer, the pensioners of the UK contribute massively to society but who is the most famous person over 66 years old?

Find out in this definitive ranking of the most famous UK pensioners; ranking those celebrities who are of retirement age by various different global metrics, including Google search volume, social media interest, and Wikipedia page views.

Who do you think the winner might be? Which pensioners would you say are among the five most famous UK pensioners around the world? Read on to discover the results.



The most famous UK pensioner revealed



The 5 most famous UK pensioners

1. Queen Elizabeth II

Monthly Google searches: 4,200,000

Instagram hashtags: 1,139,636

TikTok views: 2,300,000,000

Wikipedia page views: 82,118,947

It may not be a surprise to see Her Majesty the Queen in the number one position as the most famous UK pensioner. The Queen finding herself at the top of the rankings only seems right with her Platinum Jubilee celebrations being celebrated in June of 2022.

Queen Elizabeth II is the second longest-reigning monarch of all time and the UKs longest reigning monarch, she has served her country with grace, courage, and dedication for the last 70 years and as a result of her popularity around the world, she is comfortably the most famous UK pensioner. She topped all but one of our ranking categories, finishing second for the number of hashtags on Instagram behind the iconic Paul McCartney.

However, she had the most searches on Google, the most views on TikTok, and no other pensioner had more pageviews on Wikipedia over the past 12 months.

Fame doesn’t always equate to popularity but it’s probably safe to say it does when it comes to the Queen. So, thank you Your Majesty for your service – it is only fitting that you are recognised as the most famous UK pensioner around the world.

2. Elton John

Monthly Google searches: 2,240,000

Instagram hashtags: 1,035,570

TikTok views: 675,500,000

Wikipedia page views: 28,174,067 

Coming in second place is the icon that is Elton John. One of the UK’s greatest ever musicians, Elton John has been entertaining global audiences for decades with a slew of memorable hits.

It’s no shock to see Sir Elton high up among the most famous UK pensioners, there is hardly a corner of the world that his music hasn’t touched. While the singer didn’t top any of the categories, his consistency across the board places him behind only Her Majesty the Queen.

Elton John was second to the Queen in the number of monthly searches and came in third place for the remaining three categories: Instagram hashtags, TikTok views, and Wikipedia page views.

While the music scene is an ever-changing one and stars come and go, Elton John’s fame has hardly dwindled and it’s safe to say his music will live on for a long-time.

3. Paul McCartney

Monthly Google searches: 1,500,000

Instagram hashtags: 2,292,511

TikTok views: 466,900,000

Wikipedia page views: 18,907,525

Paul McCartney rounded off the top three most popular pensioners in the UK. He initially burst onto the world scene as a key member of The Beatles and then as a popular solo artist.

His longevity as a popular musician has lasted decades and over his career, he has sold more than 100 million singles and has a staggering 60 gold records. He recently made a history-making appearance at Glastonbury as he headlined the festival’s famous Pyramid Stage in front of more than 100,000 people to become the oldest headliner in Glastonbury’s history.

Paul McCartney proved a popular hit on Instagram as he topped the rankings for the most hashtags on the social media platform. The iconic musician was ranked among the top five for average monthly searches and Wikipedia page views and came sixth for the number of TikTok Views.

4. Prince Charles

Monthly Google searches: 1,000,000

Instagram hashtags: 365,396

TikTok views: 922,200,000

Wikipedia page views: 40,976,584

The second member of the Royal family to feature in the top five most popular pensioners is the Queen’s son and next in line to the throne, Prince Charles.

The 73-year-old Prince Charles is the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held the title since July 1958. He is now taking on a lot of the official duties as it is believed the Queen is suffering from mobility issues and is unable to make as many public appearances as before.

Prince Charles ranked highly in all the categories of the study as he received the eighth highest number of monthly searches and was sixth for Instagram hashtags. He finished second in both the remaining categories: TikTok views and Wikipedia page views.

5. Ozzy Osbourne

Monthly Google searches: 1,000,000

Instagram hashtags: 766,282

TikTok views: 526,300,000

Wikipedia page views: 13,810,139 

Ozzy Osbourne, also known as the Prince of Darkness, rose to fame as the frontman of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, but after leaving the group he went on to have a successful solo career and released more than 10 studio albums.

His success has seen him sell over 100 million albums over his whole career as well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame. In the early 2000s, Ozzy Osbourne became a huge reality star as he appeared as himself in the MTV show The Osbournes.

In the study, Ozzy Osbourne ranked as the fifth most popular pensioner. He ranked fourth for the most TikTok views and number of Instagram hashtags, eighth for Wikipedia page views, and ninth for the average number of monthly searches.

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The most famous pensioner by generation


Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation, also known as the World War II generation, is generally defined as people born between 1901 to 1927.

Out of the top 10 most famous UK pensioners, there are only two people from this generation that made the list. The most famous member of the Greatest Generation is Queen Elizabeth II, who finished in first position of all age groups.

David Attenborough was the only other member from the Greatest Generation to make it into the overall list, finishing in 10th.

Silent Generation

Out of the top 10 most famous UK pensioners, the Silent Generation features just two times, running between 1928 and 1945. The most famous member of the Silent Generation is Paul McCartney, who finished third in the overall rankings.

Mick Jagger rounds out the top five when it comes to the Silent Generation. Other top-ranking members include illustrious musicians Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart, and Hollywood legend Anthony Hopkins.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, or ‘boomers’ as they are also known, are people born between 1946 to 1964 during the post–World War II baby boom.

Six Baby Boomers featured in the top 10 most famous pensioners list, making them the most represented generation. The most famous Baby Boomer is Elton John, who came second overall. Other Baby Boomers to feature in the top 10 include Prince Charles (4th), Ozzy Osborne (5th), and actor Liam Neeson who finished as the sixth most famous pensioner from the UK.

The other two Baby Boomers to make the top 10 list were Phil Collins (7th position) and Rowan Atkinson (9th position). Princess Anne and Richard Branson were other top ranking baby boomers as they made it into the top 20 most popular UK pensioners list.

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The most famous female pensioners

  1. Queen Elizabeth II
  2. Princess Anne
  3. Maggie Smith
  4. Helen Mirren
  5. Judi Dench
  6. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
  7. Sharon Osbourne
  8. Mary Berry
  9. Joan Collins
  10. Julie Walters

The Queen is the most famous female UK pensioner, and Her Majesty is joined in the top 10 by two other members of the Royal Family: her daughter Princess Anne and daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

There are five actresses in the top ten, with Maggie Smith coming out on top, beating the likes of Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Joan Collins, and Julie Walters.

The only non-royals or actresses in the top 10 are TV personality Sharon Osbourne (who joins her husband Ozzy in the top 25) and food writer/TV chef Mary Berry.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact that Her Majesty the Queen is the only female in the overall top ten, being trailed by males all the way down to number 13, after which Princess Anne enters the fray. There are only 16 females in the total top 50, however, 10 of those 16 finished in the top 30.

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The most famous male pensioners

  1. Elton John
  2. Paul McCartney
  3. Prince Charles
  4. Ozzy Osbourne
  5. Liam Neeson
  6. Phil Collins
  7. Mick Jagger
  8. Rowan Atkinson
  9. David Attenborough
  10. Eric Clapton

Elton John is the most famous male pensioner in the UK, but he is not the only musician to feature in the top 10. In fact, over half of the 10 most famous male pensioners are musicians: Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Phil Collins, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton.

The only Royal to feature in the list is unsurprisingly Prince Charles where he came third, while there were two actors who featured in the top 10. Liam Neeson won the battle of most popular male actors as he received a ranking of fifth, whilst Rowan Atkinson, the star of Blackadder, Mr Bean and the Johnny English film series, came in eighth position.

It’s no surprise that broadcaster, biologist, natural historian and author David Attenborough features in the list of most famous male pensioners, but it is a big surprise that he only ranks ninth and is not among the top five in the overall list. However, if this was a list of the most popular pensioners, rather than the most famous, surely Sir David would be flying far higher.

Overall, there are 34 males in the top 50 and nine males in the overall top 10 list of the most famous UK pensioners.

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We started with 50 people* from the UK who are at pension age or over from the YouGov study ‘The Most Famous People’. To create the ranking of the most famous UK pensioners, we utilised four different data points:

  • Google search volume for the pensioner (Average number of monthly searches for a 12-month period globally, May 2021 - April 2022)
  • Instagram Hashtags for the pensioner
  • TikTok views for the pensioner
  • Wikipedia page views for the pensioner (Total views between May 2018 - April 2022)

We then awarded points (a maximum of 50) for the pensioners in each category depending on where the pensioner ranked within that category. An overall score (out of a possible total of 200) was then awarded to each person to determine the most famous UK pensioner.

You can see the full rankings and data here.

*We removed Sting and Lulu from the rankings as their names can be too easily confused with other things in terms of Google searches or Instagram hashtags.

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READ ALSO: How accessible is the UK?

The study has revealed that despite their age, these UK pensioners are still incredibly popular with people all over the world searching for them on Google, researching them on Wikipedia, and posting about them on social media platforms.

If you are struggling at home to retain your independence or would just like to know the cost of a stairlift, please do get in touch.

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Image credits: David Shankbone, Joel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence, Kevin Burkett, Raph_PH, Dan Marsh.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.