Sir Richard Steele (bap. 12 March 1672 – 1 September 1729) was an Irish writer, playwright, and politician, remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine The Spectator. Steele became a Whig Member of Parliament in 1713, for Stockbridge. He was soon expelled for issuing a pamphlet in favor of the Hanoverian succession. When George I of Great Britain came to the throne in the following year, Steele was knighted and given responsibility for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. He returned to parliament in 1715, for Boroughbridge.
While at Drury Lane, Steele wrote and directed the sentimental comedy The Conscious Lovers, which was an immediate hit. However, he fell out with Addison and with the administration over the Peerage Bill (1719), and in 1724 he retired to his second wife's homeland of Wales, where he spent the remainder of his life.
Steele was a member of the Kit-Kat Club. Both Steele and Addison became closely associated with Child's Coffee-house in St Paul's Churchyard.