House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom referred to Austen as one of Britain's 'greatest living authors'

By Sarah Weldon
July 20, 2017 at 11:04 AM EDT
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Jane Austen died 200 years ago, on July 18, 1817, but that didn’t stop one British Parliament member from claiming in error that the Pride & Prejudice writer is still alive.

House of Commons leader and Conservative Party member Andrea Leadsom referred to Austen as one of the U.K.’s “greatest living authors” on Thursday while praising the recent decision to put Austen’s face on the £10 note. Upon realizing her mistake, Leadsom tried to backtrack by adding “greatest ever authors.”

“I think many of us wish she were still living,” she added.

It didn’t take long for Leadsom’s comments to go viral, with many Twitter users having a field day with her gaffe.

Leadsom’s remark came after the quote that the Bank of England decided to use on the note had a few raised eyebrows. The quote, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” which is featured underneath Austen’s portrait was actually said by Caroline Bingley in the novel, who notoriously doesn’t read and was written in Austen’s signature satire. The note also features a portrait of one of Austen’s most beloved characters, Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet.

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