Alumni of Britain’s Elite Schools

LONDON — Graduates of Britain’s famous private schools are still overrepresented in the upper tiers of British life, from government to the arts.

The following 10 schools educate only about 0.3 percent of students, but they account for about 8 percent of people listed in Who’s Who, according to a study by the Sutton Trust, a research institution focused on social mobility. Below is a sampling of some of the alumni — in common parlance, “old boys” and “old girls” (but mostly boys) — who have made names for themselves.


David Cameron, David Dimbleby and Winston Churchill.CreditCarl Court/Getty Images, Dan Kitwood/Getty Images, Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive

Eton College

Old Etonians

Boys’ school just outside London, founded by King Henry VI in 1440

David Cameron, prime minister of Britain

Damian Lewis, actor who played a tormented Marine in Showtime’s “Homeland,” and currently portrays a hedge fund titan in “Billions.”

Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England


Old Carthusians

Coeducational boarding school in Surrey, in the south of England, founded in 1611

David Dimbleby, veteran television anchor known for his uncompromising interviews

Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, former culture minister and high-profile name in the inquiry into News Corporation and press ethics

Harrow School

Old Harrovians

Boys’ school in the northwestern suburbs of London

Winston Churchill, former prime minister of Britain

King Hussein of Jordan, once the Middle East’s longest-reigning ruler

Benedict Cumberbatch, actor who plays the title character in the BBC series “Sherlock”

Rugby School

Old Rugbeians

Credited with being the birthplace of rugby football, in 1823

Salman Rushdie, novelist accused of blasphemy against Islam for his book “The Satanic Verses”

Rupert Brooke, World War I poet


Kate MiddletonCreditPool photo by Chris Jackson

Marlborough College

Old Marlburians

Founded by a group of Church of England clergymen in 1843

Kate Middleton, duchess of Cambridge

Samantha Cameron, businesswoman and wife of David Cameron

Westminster School

Old Westminsters

Boarding and day school in the heart of London

Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister of Britain

Tony Benn, once a leading figure of the British left

Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of hit musicals


Winston Marshall, George Orwell and Rupert Everett.CreditTheo Wargo/Getty Images, Associated Press, Ian Gavan/Getty Images

St. Paul’s School

Old Paulines

Originally established in the City of London in 1509, now in leafy surroundings by the Thames

George Osborne, chancellor of the Exchequer

Winston Marshall, banjo player in the band Mumford & Sons

Wellington College

Old Wellingtonians

Opened by Queen Victoria in 1859, partly to educate the orphans of army officers

George Orwell, author of “Animal Farm” and “1984”

Lord Luce, former lord chamberlain, senior officer to the British royal household

Ampleforth College

Old Amplefordians

Catholic boarding school under the care of the monks of Ampleforth Abbey

John Micklethwait, editor in chief of Bloomberg News, formerly top editor of The Economist

Rupert Everett, actor whose early performances included playing a gay student at a British private school in “Another Country”

Jean, grand duke of Luxembourg until his abdication in 2000


Richard BransonCreditSuzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Stowe School

Old Stoics

Founded in 1923 and based in Stowe House, a former country seat of the dukes of Buckingham

Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group

David Niven, actor who won an Oscar for “Separate Tables” in 1958

Correction: March 10, 2016
An earlier version of this list erroneously included Nigella Lawson as an alumna of Westminster School. She went to Godolphin and Latymer School, not Westminster.