Poets Laureate of the United Kingdom

Updated June 14, 2021 | Infoplease Staff

The National Poets of the UK

The Poet Laureate, a member of the royal household, composes poems for state occasions. Carol Ann Duffy became the first woman in the position's 341-year history when chosen for the post in 2009. The Poet Laureate of Britain is normally appointed for life; however, Andrew Motion, named to the post in 1999, accepted the position for ten years.

Edmund Spenser 1591–1599
Samuel Daniel 1599–1619
Ben Jonson 1619–1637
William Davenant 1638–1668
John Dryden 1 1668–1689
Thomas Shadwell 1689–1692
Nahum Tate 1692–1715
Nicholas Rowe 1715–1718
Laurence Eusden 1718–1730
Colley Cibber 1730–1757
William Whitehead 1757–1785
Thomas Warton 1785–1790
Henry James Pye 1790–1813
Robert Southey 1813–1843
William Wordsworth 1843–1850
Alfred Lord Tennyson 1850–1892
Alfred Austin 1896–1913
Robert Bridges 1913–1930
John Masefield 1930–1967
Cecil Day-Lewis 1967–1972
Sir John Betjeman 1972–1984
Ted Hughes 1984–1998
Andrew Motion 1999–2009
Carol Ann Duffy 2009–2019
Simon Armitage 2019-
1. First to bear the title officially.


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