Born in Liverpool in 1809, William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth son of the merchant Sir John Gladstones and his second wife, Anne MacKenzie Robertson. The final "s" was later dropped from the family surname to make it easier to pronounce
The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 - 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister (1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886 and 1892-1894). He was a notable political reformer, known for his populist speeches, and was for many years the main political rival of Benjamin Disraeli.

Gladstone was famously at odds with Queen Victoria for much of his career. She once complained, "He always addresses me as if I were a public meeting." Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as the "Grand Old Man" or "The People's William."