In contemporary democratic politics, conforming to major institutions like marriage is seen as a vital part of appealing to the majority electorate. And yet there are many influential politicians, heads of state even, who felt more married to the job than any need for a flesh-and-blood mate. Here is a brief list of ten powerful politicians who never married.
- James Buchanan
James Buchanan, Jr. Was the 15th President of the United States and served in office from 1857 to1861. He is the only president of United States who never married and yet there was a time in his life when he was engaged. In 1819, Buchanan proposed to and was accepted by Ann Caroline Coleman, the daughter of wealthy iron manufacturing businessman Robert Coleman and sister-in-law of Philadelphia judge Joseph Hemphill, one of Buchanan's colleagues from the House of Representatives. The two got engaged but Buchanan could spent little time with his fiancée her during the courtship. He was extremely busy with his law firm and political projects during the Panic of 1819, which took him away from Ann for weeks at a time. The relationship felt prey to rumors of various kinds; after Buchanan paid a visit to the wife of a friend, Ann broke off the engagement. She died soon afterward, on December 9, 1819. Buchanan was overwhelmed by Ann’s death and decided to stay a lifelong bachelor. During his tenure as president, Buchanan turned to Harriet Lane, an orphaned niece, whom he had earlier adopted, to act as his official hostess of the White House.
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- Julia Goddard
Julia Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia and most importantly the first woman to hold the office in her country. Gillard became the Deputy Prime Minister upon Labor's victory in the 2007 federal election, also serving as Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. On 24 June 2010, after Rudd lost the support of his party and stood aside, Gillard became federal leader of the Australian Labor Party and thus was made the Prime Minister on 24 June 2010. Gillard has never married and has no children. However she has a partner, Tim Mathieson, with whom she has been in a relationship since 2006.
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- Elizabeth I
The most famous Queen of England perhaps, Elizabeth I was famously known as the Virgin Queen since she never married. She reigned for almost half a century from 1533 to March 1603, until her death. Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, even though her journey to the crown was chequered with deaths and imprisonment as was typical of succession politics of the time. Known as the Elizabethan era her reign was famous for flourishing of the arts and sciences, relatively higher religious harmony as well as the military success, especially of the British navy. Even though there was no dearth of suitors for the Queen’s hand, Elizabeth I remain unmarried. However she was in the center of marriage negotiations till she was fifty and her possible suitors ranged from childhood friend and lover Robert Dudley to Henry, Duke of Anjou, and later his brother Francis, Duke of Anjou who was twenty-two years her junior. In the end Elizabeth I died unmarried and childless, and the throne passed to the Stuarts with James VI of Scotland being proclaimed s king of England.
- William Lyon Mackenzie King
More commonly known as Mackenzie King, he was the tenth and longest serving Prime Minister of Canada. As a Liberal, he came to office on December 29, 1921 and held it till November 15, 1948, thus having served twenty-two years as Prime Minister of the country. Trained in law and social work, he played a major role in laying the foundations of the Canadian welfare state. Even though he was cautious as a politician, King was highly individualist in his private life. He is believed to have a lifelong interest in the occult which was kept secret during his years in office, and only became publicized later. King never married, but had several close women friends, including Joan Patteson, a married woman with whom he spent some of his leisure time.
- R. B. Bennett
Richard Bedford Bennett was the 11th Prime Minister of Canada and served in office from August 7, 1930, to October 23, 1935. His tenure as Prime Minister covered the worst years of the Great Depression in North America. Following his defeat as prime minister, Bennett moved to England, and was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Bennett. Even though he cultivated and profited from a number of friendships during his early adult years including one with Max Aitken who would later become the industrialist and British press baron, Lord Beaverbrook and another with Jennie Shirreff who would marry the head of the Eddy Company and make Bennett the lawyer for her extensive interests, he developed no romantic attachment. Since he remained unmarried and had no children, Bennett was survived by nephews William Herridge, Jr., and Robert Coats and by brother Ronald V. Bennett. The viscountcy became extinct on his death.
- Francois Hollande
Francois Hollande is 24th President of France and has been in office from May 2012. He previously served as the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008 and as a Deputy of the National Assembly of France for two terms. He was elected President of France on 6 May 2012, defeating the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. Even though Hollande has never married, For over 30 years, his partner was fellow Socialist politician Ségolène Royal, with whom he has four children. However In June 2007, just a month after Royal's defeat in the French presidential election of 2007, the couple announced that they were separating. Since then Hollande has been romantically linked to French journalist Valérie Trierweiler by a French website. This disclosure was controversial as it breached the country’s strict stance on the privacy of politicians' personal affairs. In November 2007 though, Valérie Trierweiler confirmed and openly discussed her relationship with Hollande in an interview with the French weekly Télé 7 Jours.
- Eugene Charles
Dame Mary Eugenia Charles was Prime Minister of Dominica from 21 July 1980 until 14 June 1995. Till date she remains Dominica's first, and only, female prime minister, as well as the nation's longest serving prime minister. Born in the fishing village of Pointe Michel in Saint Luke parish, Charles’s early education was in her country but She attended university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada before moving to the United Kingdom to attend the London School of Economics. Eventually she became the island’s first female lawyer, with a specialty practice in property law. Charles never married nor had children; it is believed that her single status made others uncomfortable in the male-dominated sphere of Caribbean politics. Her popularity declined during her third term, and she announced her retirement in 1995August 2005, Charles was taken to a hospital in Fort-de-France, Martinique, for hip replacement surgery and died from complications at 86 years of age.
- Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee is the Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal in eastern India and the first woman to hold the office. Even though she has been a politician for over two decades in her state, she became a powerful force in national politics when she overthrew the communist government in her state which had been in power for thirty-four long years. Banerjee previously served as a Minister of Railways twice, Minister of Coal, and Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and Women and Child Development in the cabinet of the Indian government even though critics tend to write off Banerjee as emotional and reactionary, her mass appeal is undeniable and with her party Trinamool Congress, she continues to play an important role in the coalition politics of the country.
Banerjee has never been married and Throughout her political life, she has maintained an austere lifestyle. She is always seen dressed in simple traditional Bengali cotton sarees, while consciously eschewing all signs of makeup and jewelry. She is one of the rare foremost politicians to have a completely clean image in the murky world of Indian politics.
- Atal Behari Vajpayee
Indian statesman Atal Behari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of the country on two occasions, the first for a mere thirteen days first for 13 days in 1996 since his party was unable to muster majority support in the Parliament and the second time from 1998 to 2004. A parliamentarian for over four decades and the first Prime Minster to head a non-Congress government for the full term, he is regarded as one of the best leaders that the country ever saw. A poet and philosopher at heart, Vajpayee nevertheless remained a bachelor all this life. He however continued to maintain close ties with extended family and friends from his ancestral town Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and had two adopted daughters Namita and Neharika. In 2012 he was chosen third greatest Indian in a nationwide poll held by History TV and CNN-IBN.
- Rahul Gandhi
Known as the most eligible bachelor of India, Rahul Gandhi is keeping many fingers crossed. Even though he does not hold any ministerial office, Rahul Gandhi’s influence as a politician emanates from his famous surname and the fact that he belongs to the Gandhi-Nehru family, the premier political family of India. Currently he is a Member of Parliament from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh but more importantly he is the general-secretary of the Indian National Congress, the ruling political party at the center. As yet, Rahul Gandhi remains unmarried even though In 2004, Rahul Gandhi told the press that he has a girlfriend Veronique Cartelli, a Spanish architect who lives in Venezuela1.