6. Britain’s Laziest Prime Minister
In Britain, class is everything. It’s often said that you can be a talentless no-good, but if you’re born in the aristocracy, you’ll still do well. The case of 19th century prime minister Lord Melbourne proves this. Possibly the laziest man in history, Melbourne became PM by accident and then slept his way through seven years of British history.
In all his long life, Melbourne failed to do pretty much anything. Before becoming prime minister, he’d married the nightmarish Lady Caroline Ponsonby and stayed with her out of sheer lethargy. As he lazed around the house, Lady Caroline went out and had public affairs with men like Lord Byron and then wrote scandalous “tell-all” books about the sex they’d had right under her stupid husband’s nose. It took Lord Melbourne 20 years to get around to divorcing her.
His ascension to the highest office in Britain was no less auspicious. Lord Grey had turned down the post, and Lord Melbourne was the only man the House of Commons’s warring factions could agree on, precisely because he never did anything. In the post, Lord Melbourne spent every single meeting, debate, gathering, and sermon sleeping, usually snoring so loudly that others couldn’t hear themselves speak. Benjamin Disraeli said that he would “lounge away an Empire.” The only reason the lazy PM stayed in office so long was because he had the hots for Queen Victoria, and his post meant that she was obliged to frequently meet him. He was finally replaced in 1841, to the relief of the entire country.