Notable Names That Attended Harrow Public School

And we're not just talking about Jho Low.

  • Saturday, 19 January 2019
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Notable Names That Attended Harrow Public School
It is said that success is not about what you know, but who you know. This turned out to be true in the case of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.

The 37-year-old, by his own account, made his first million - in USD -  when he was only 20-years-old due to the connections he made with prominent families during his time at Harrow Public School in England and The Wharthon School of Business, University of Pennsylvania in the United States of America. 

Looking at some of the illustrious figures who attended Harrow School alone, it is no wonder that Jho Low developed a taste for the finer things in life and strived to the attain the level of wealth (legally or allegedly otherwise) that the members of the royal families, politicians, businessmen and generally filthy rich people who attended the elite school seem to enjoy. 

Here are some of the most notable Harrovians (as the alumnis of the school is referred as) since its inception in the early 16th century.

1) Winston Churchill

Young Winston Churchill

Perhaps one of the most famous United Kingdom Prime Minister, Winston Churchill held office twice during his lifetime (1940 - 1945, 1951 - 1955) before giving up his political career due to his failing health. 

During his years at Harrow, Churchill did't do very well academically, which eventually led to his father (Tory politician Lord Randolph Churchill) entering him into an army career. It took Churchill three attempts to be accepted by the Royal Military College, but once in, he emerged as one of its top students. 

It wasn't long before Churchill followed in his father's footsteps, but his political career didn't look too good until his response to Adolf Hitler got him elected as the Prime Minister of an all-party coalition government. 

Churchill's career was riddled with mistakes and bad decisions, but leading his country to victory during the World War II had secured his name among those who changed the course of the world history. 

2) Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

Long before the actor gained popularity through his role Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series 'Sherlock', Cumberbatch was acting in plays at Harrow. His first role was Queen of Fairies, Titania, in the Shakespearean play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. 

It has been reported that his parents, who were both television actors, sent Cumberbatch to Harrow to steer him away from the acting world but their plans didn't pan out. During his time at Harrow, Cumberbatch played rugby and painted besides dabbling in theater, but in the end his love for acting won out. 

After leaving Harrow, Cumberbatch took a short break to teach English in Tibet. Upon returning to England, he continued his education in arts and eventually started acting in theater and television. 

Not until 2010 did he reach the level of stardom he enjoys now, but it has been an uphill climb since. 

3) Jawaharlal Nehru

Nehru (left) with Mahatma Gandhi

Closer to home, another Harrow alumni went on to become the prime minister of a country. Jawaharlal Nehru was in fact the first prime minister after India's independence, a position he held from 1945 till 1964. 

Prior to that, Nehru was a lawyer and a prominent freedom fighter. His father, Motilal Nehru, was one of Mahatma Gandhi's right hand man and also fought for the country's independence. 

Nehru was homeschooled until he reached the age of 16, after which he was sent to Harrow for two years. Online encyclopedia, Britannica, mentions Nehru's lack of excellence during his time at the school as well as subsequent years at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned his bachelor degree in natural science. Nehru then went on to become a qualified barrister, before returning to India after spending a total of seven years in England. 

 Nehru joined his father and others in the fight for India's independence throughout the 1930s and 40s. It came as no surprise that he was then elected as the prime minister, a post that his only daughter, Indira Gandhi, and grandson Rajiv Gandhi also later held. 

4) Lord Byron

Lord Byron

If you're into poetry, chances are you would've heard of poet and satirist Lord Byron. While his work gained him fame, his personality also played an important part in gaining him the kind of following he enjoyed.

Byron's personal life itself had all the makings of a good story - an heiress mother, a father who impoverished the family with his spendthrift ways and left the family destitute, an unexpected windfall, unrequited love which later became material for his work, travels, politics, sex and scandals, as well as fame. 

It was upon his uncle's death that the financial situation of Byron and his mother improved, allowing him to eventually enrol in Harrow in the year 1801. Byron was there for four year, before continuing his education at Trinity College, Cambridge. 

His first poem titled 'Hours of Idleness' was published in 1807, and received a sarcastic critique, to which Byron replied with a satirical piece which earned him his initial recognition. 

Byron continued to write poetry, many of which are said to be autobiograpical, as well as plays. His plays, however, were not as well received as his poetry. Byron died of fever in 1824 at the young age of 36. 

5) King Hussein bin Talal

King Hussein bin Talal in 1988

Many of the Jordanian royal family attended Harrow, even in recent times. King Hussein bin Talal, who ruled the country from 1952 till 1999, is perhaps one of the most notable of the family to attend the school. 

King Hussein's time at the Harrow wasn't easy as he found his schoolmates to be snobbish, which led to loneliness. He, however, never gave up. He connected with his English peers through the game of rugby and was eventually accepted in their circle. 

The King did not stay long at the school, as he has to take over the throne from his father, who struggled with mental health issues and was declared to be unfit to rule. 

King Hussein was proclaimed as the ruler at the tender age of 17, before he even reached his majority. His official ascension, however, did not occur till the next year. No one expected him to last long but he proved everyone wrong, and became one of the most beloved Kings to its people towards the later part of his life. 

Forty six years is a long time to rule, especially in a region that's not always politically stable. Through the years, King Hussein brought modernisation and education to the people of Jordan. He also played an important role in promoting peace in the middle east. 

A 'commoner' among the elites

Compared to a lot of the elites who attended Harrow over the years, Jho Low came from a much more humble beginning. His family was rich, but reports shows that they weren't obscenely wealthy. It was the connections that Jho Low made during his schooling years that propelled him to the status of a billionaire playboy. 

Watch The Kleptocrats, a documentary on the involvement of Jho Low in the billion dollar scandal that shook the world, available now for all on channel 480, On Demand and Astro Go. For non-Astro subscribers, please visit this site. You can also find more information here. 

Catch Kleptocrats on Astro Best

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