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List of English monarchs

  (Redirected from King of England)

This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, one of the petty kingdoms to rule a portion of modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the Anglo-Saxons and while he was not the first king to lay claim to rule all of the English, his rule represents the first unbroken line of Kings to rule the whole of England, the House of Wessex.[1] The last monarch of a distinct kingdom of England was Anne, who became Queen of Great Britain when England merged with Scotland to form a union in 1707.

Family tree of monarchs of England and Great Britain since the Norman Conquest

Arguments are made for a few different kings deemed to control enough of the ancient kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons to be deemed the first King of England. For example, Offa, king of Mercia, and Egbert, king of Wessex, are sometimes described as kings of England by popular writers, but not by all historians.[citation needed] In the late eighth century Offa achieved a dominance over southern England that did not survive his death in 796. In 829 Egbert conquered Mercia, but he soon lost control of it. By the late ninth century Wessex was the dominant Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Its king, Alfred the Great, was overlord of western Mercia and used the title King of the Angles and Saxons, but he never ruled eastern and northern England, which was then the Danelaw. His son Edward the Elder conquered the eastern Danelaw, but Edward's son Æthelstan became the first king to rule the whole of England when he conquered Northumbria in 927, and he is regarded by some modern historians as the first king of England.[2][3] The title "King of the English" or Rex Anglorum in Latin, was first used to describe Æthelstan by one of his charters in 928.

The Principality of Wales was incorporated into the Kingdom of England under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, and in 1301 King Edward I invested his eldest son, the future King Edward II, as Prince of Wales. Since that time, except for King Edward III, the eldest sons of all English monarchs have borne this title. After the death of Queen Elizabeth I without issue, in 1603, King James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, joining the crowns of England and Scotland in personal union. By royal proclamation, James styled himself "King of Great Britain", but no such kingdom was created until 1707, when England and Scotland united to form the new Kingdom of Great Britain during the reign of Queen Anne.

Contents

House of WessexEdit

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Alfred the Great
23 April 871

26 October 899
(28 years, 187 days)
  849
Son of Æthelwulf of Wessex
and Osburh
Ealhswith
Gainsborough
868
5 children
26 October 899
Aged about 50
Son of Æthelwulf of Wessex
Treaty of Wedmore
[4]
[5]
[6]
Edward the Elder
26 October 899

17 July 924
(24 years, 266 days)
  c. 874
Son of Alfred
and Ealhswith
(1) Ecgwynn
c. 893
2 children
(2) Ælfflæd
c. 900
8 children
(3) Eadgifu
c. 919
4 children
17 July 924
Aged about 50
Son of Alfred [7]

Disputed

There is some evidence that Ælfweard of Wessex may have been king for up to four weeks in 924 (timing itself is unclear, as he died 16 days, not 28 days, after his father), between his father Edward the Elder and his brother Æthelstan, although he was not crowned.[8] However, this is not accepted by all historians. Also, it is unclear whether—if Ælfweard was declared king—it was over the whole kingdom or of Wessex only: one interpretation of the ambiguous evidence is that when Edward died, Ælfweard was declared king in Wessex and Æthelstan in Mercia.[9]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Ælfweard
c. 17 July 924

2 August 924[10]
(16 days)
Does not appear   c. 901[11]
Son of Edward the Elder
and Ælfflæd[11]
Does not appear Unmarried?
No children
2 August 924[9]
Aged about 23[i]
Son of Edward the Elder

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Æthelstan
924
King of the Anglo-Saxons (924–927)

King of the English (927–939)
27 October 939
(14–15 years)
  894
Son of Edward the Elder
and Ecgwynn
Does not appear Unmarried 27 October 939
Aged about 45
Son of Edward the Elder [13]
[14]
Edmund I
27 October 939

26 May 946
(6 years, 212 days)
  c. 921
Son of Edward the Elder
and Eadgifu of Kent
(1) Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
2 sons
(2) Æthelflæd of Damerham
944
No children
26 May 946
Pucklechurch
Killed in a brawl aged about 25
Son of Edward the Elder [15]
[16]
[17]
Eadred
26 May 946

23 November 955
(9 years, 182 days)
  c. 923
Son of Edward the Elder
and Eadgifu of Kent
Does not appear Unmarried 23 November 955
Frome
Aged about 32
Son of Edward the Elder [18]
[19]
[20]
Eadwig
23 November 955

1 October 959
(3 years, 313 days)
  c. 940
Son of Edmund I
and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
Ælfgifu
No verified children
1 October 959
Aged about 19
Son of Edmund I [21]
[22]
[23]
Edgar the Peaceful
1 October 959

8 July 975
(15 years, 281 days)
  c. 943
Wessex
Son of Edmund I
and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
(1) Æthelflæd
c. 960
1 son
(2) Ælfthryth
c. 964
2 sons
8 July 975
Winchester
Aged 31
Son of Edmund I [24]
[25]
[26]
Edward the Martyr
8 July 975

18 March 978
(2 years, 254 days)
  c. 962
Son of Edgar the Peaceful
and Æthelflæd
Does not appear Unmarried 18 March 978
Corfe Castle
Murdered aged about 16
Son of Edgar the Peaceful [27]
[28]
(1st reign)[ii]
Æthelred
Æthelred the Unready
18 March 978

1013
(34–35 years)
  c. 968
Son of Edgar the Peaceful
and Ælfthryth
(1) Ælfgifu of York
991
9 children
(2) Emma of Normandy
1002
3 children
23 April 1016
London
Aged about 48
Son of Edgar the Peaceful [30]
[29]
[31]

House of DenmarkEdit

England came under the control of Sweyn Forkbeard, a Danish king, after an invasion in 1013, during which Æthelred abandoned the throne and went into exile in Normandy.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Sweyn
Sweyn Forkbeard
25 December 1013

3 February 1014
(41 days)
  c. 960
Denmark
Son of Harald Bluetooth
and Gyrid Olafsdottir
(1) Gunhild of Wenden
c. 990
7 children
(2) Sigrid the Haughty
c. 1000
1 daughter
3 February 1014
Gainsborough
Aged about 54
Right of conquest [32]
[33]
[34]

House of Wessex (restored, first time)Edit

Following the death of Sweyn Forkbeard, Æthelred the Unready returned from exile and was again proclaimed king on 3 February 1014. His son succeeded him after being chosen king by the citizens of London and a part of the Witan,[35] despite ongoing Danish efforts in wresting the crown from the West Saxons.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(2nd reign)
Æthelred
Æthelred the Unready
3 February 1014

23 April 1016
(2 years, 81 days)
  c. 968
Son of Edgar the Peaceful
and Ælfthryth
(1) Ælfgifu of York
991
9 children
(2) Emma of Normandy
1002
3 children
23 April 1016
London
Aged about 48
Son of Edgar the Peaceful [30]
[29]
[31]
Edmund Ironside
23 April 1016

30 November 1016
(222 days)
  c. 990
Son of Æthelred
and Ælfgifu of York
Edith of East Anglia
2 children
30 November 1016
Glastonbury
Aged 26
Son of Æthelred [35]
[36]
[37]

House of Denmark (restored)Edit

Following the decisive Battle of Assandun on 18 October 1016, King Edmund signed a treaty with Cnut in which all of England except for Wessex would be controlled by Cnut.[38] Upon Edmund's death on 30 November, Cnut ruled the whole kingdom as its sole king.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Canute
Cnut the Great
18 October 1016

12 November 1035
(19 years, 26 days)
  c. 995
Son of Sweyn Forkbeard
and Gunhilda of Poland
(1) Ælfgifu of Northampton
2 sons
(2) Emma of Normandy
1017
2 children
12 November 1035
Shaftesbury
Aged about 40
Son of Sweyn
Treaty of Deerhurst
[39]
[40]
Harold Harefoot
12 November 1035

17 March 1040[iii]
(4 years, 127 days)
  c. 1016
Son of Canute
and Ælfgifu of Northampton
Ælfgifu?
1 son?
17 March 1040
Oxford
Aged about 24
Son of Canute [42]
[41]
[43]
Harthacnut
17 March 1040

8 June 1042
(2 years, 84 days)
  1018
Son of Canute
and Emma of Normandy
Does not appear Unmarried 8 June 1042
Lambeth
Aged about 24
Son of Canute [44]
[45]
[46]

House of Wessex (restored, second time)Edit

After Harthacnut, there was a brief Saxon Restoration between 1042 and 1066.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Edward the Confessor
8 June 1042

5 January 1066
(23 years, 212 days)
  c. 1003
Islip
Son of Æthelred
and Emma of Normandy
Edith of Wessex
23 January 1045
No children
5 January 1066
Westminster Palace
Aged about 63
Son of Æthelred [47]
Harold Godwinson
6 January 1066

14 October 1066
(282 days)
  c. 1022
Son of Godwin of Wessex
and Gytha Thorkelsdóttir
(1) Edith Swannesha
5 children
(2) Ealdgyth
c. 1064
2 sons
14 October 1066
Hastings
Died in battle aged 44
Supposedly named heir by Edward the Confessor
Elected by the Witan
[48]
(Title disputed)
Edgar Ætheling
15 October 1066

17 December 1066[iv]
(64 days)
  c. 1051
Son of Edward the Exile
and Agatha
Does not appear Unmarried c. 1126
Aged about 75
Grandson of Edmund Ironside [49]
[50]

House of NormandyEdit

In 1066, several rival claimants to the English throne emerged. Among them were Harold Godwinson, elected king by the Witenagemot after the death of Edward the Confessor, as well as Harald Hardrada, King of Norway who claimed to be the rightful heir of Harthacnut, and Duke William II of Normandy, descendant of Rollo, founder of the royal House of Normandy, vassal to the King of France, and first cousin once-removed of Edward the Confessor. Harald and William both invaded separately in 1066. Godwinson successfully repelled the invasion by Hardrada, but ultimately lost the throne of England in the Norman conquest of England. After the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror made permanent the recent removal of the capital from Winchester to London. Following the death of Harold Godwinson on 14 October, the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot elected as king Edgar the Ætheling, the son of Edward the Exile and grandson of Edmund Ironside, but the young monarch was unable to resist the invaders and was never crowned. William was crowned King William I of England on Christmas Day 1066, in Westminster Abbey, and is today known as William the Conqueror, William the Bastard or William I.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
William I
William the Bastard / the Conqueror
25 December 1066

9 September 1087
(20 years, 259 days)
  c. 1028
Falaise Castle
Son of Robert the Magnificent
and Herleva
Matilda of Flanders
Normandy
1053
9 children
9 September 1087
Rouen
Aged about 59[v]
Supposedly named heir in 1052 by Edward the Confessor
Right of conquest
[51]
[52]
William II
William Rufus
26 September 1087[a]

2 August 1100
(12 years, 311 days)
  c. 1056
Normandy
Son of William the Conqueror
and Matilda of Flanders
Does not appear Unmarried 2 August 1100
New Forest
Shot with an arrow aged 44
Son of William I
Granted the Kingdom of England over elder brother Robert Curthose
[53]
[54]
Henry I
Henry Beauclerc
5 August 1100[b]

1 December 1135
(35 years, 119 days)
  September 1068
Selby
Son of William the Conqueror
and Matilda of Flanders
(1) Matilda of Scotland
Westminster Abbey
11 November 1100
2 children
(2) Adeliza of Louvain
Windsor Castle
29 January 1121
No children
1 December 1135
Saint-Denis-en-Lyons
Aged 67[vi]
Son of William I
Seizure of the Crown
[55]
[54]

House of BloisEdit

Henry I left no legitimate male heirs, his son William Adelin having died in the White Ship disaster. This ended the direct Norman line of kings in England. Henry named his eldest daughter, the dowager Empress Matilda as his heir. Before naming Matilda as heir, however, he had been in negotiations to name his nephew Stephen of Blois as his heir. When Henry died, Stephen invaded England, and in a coup d'etat had himself crowned instead of Matilda. The period which followed is known as The Anarchy, as parties supporting each side fought in open warfare on both Britain and on the continent for the better part of two decades.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Stephen
Stephen of Blois
22 December 1135[c]

25 October 1154
(18 years, 308 days)
  c. 1096
Blois
Son of Stephen II of Blois
and Adela of Normandy
Matilda of Boulogne
Westminster
1125
6 children
25 October 1154
Dover Castle
Aged about 58
Grandson of William I
Appointment / usurpation
[54]
[56]

Disputed claimants

Empress Matilda was declared heir presumptive by her father, Henry I, after the death of her brother on the White Ship, and acknowledged as such by the barons. However, upon Henry I's death, the throne was seized by Matilda's cousin, Stephen of Blois. During the ensuing Anarchy, Matilda controlled England for a few months in 1141—the first woman so to do—but was never crowned and is rarely listed as a monarch of England.[vii]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(Title disputed)
Matilda
Empress Matilda
7 April 1141

1 November 1141
(209 days)
  7 February 1102
Sutton Courtenay
Daughter of Henry I
and Edith of Scotland
(1) Henry V of the Holy Roman Empire
Mainz
6 January 1114
No children
(2) Geoffrey Plantagenet
Le Mans Cathedral
22 May 1128
3 sons
10 September 1167
Rouen
Aged 65
Daughter of Henry I
Seizure of the Crown
[57]
[56]

Count Eustace IV of Boulogne (c. 1130 – 17 August 1153) was appointed co-king of England by his father, King Stephen, on 6 April 1152, in order to guarantee his succession to the throne (as was the custom in France, but not in England). However, the Pope and the Church would not agree to this, and Eustace was not crowned. Eustace died the next year aged 23, during his father's lifetime, and so never became king in his own right.[58]

House of AnjouEdit

Stephen came to an agreement with Matilda in November 1153 with the signing of the Treaty of Wallingford, where Stephen recognised Henry, son of Matilda and her second husband Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, as the designated heir. The royal house descended from Matilda and Geoffrey is widely known by two names, the House of Anjou (after Geoffrey's title as Count of Anjou) or the House of Plantagenet, after his sobriquet. Some historians prefer to group the subsequent kings into two groups, before and after the loss of the bulk of their French possessions, although they are not different royal houses.

The Angevins ruled over the Angevin Empire during the 12th and 13th centuries, an area stretching from the Pyrenees to Ireland. They did not regard England as their primary home until most of their continental domains were lost by John. Though the Angevin dynasty was short-lived, their male line descendants included the House of Plantagenet, the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

The Angevins formulated England's royal coat of arms, which usually showed other kingdoms held or claimed by them or their successors, although without representation of Ireland for quite some time. Dieu et mon droit has generally been used as the motto of English monarchs since being adopted by Edward III,[59] but it was first used as a battle cry by Richard I in 1198 at the Battle of Gisors, when he defeated the forces of Philip II of France, after which, he made it his motto.[59][60]

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Henry II
Henry Curtmantle
19 December 1154[d]

6 July 1189
(34 years, 200 days)
    5 March 1133
Le Mans
Son of Geoffrey V of Anjou
and Matilda
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Bordeaux Cathedral
18 May 1152
8 children
6 July 1189
Chinon
Aged 56[viii]
Grandson of Henry I
Treaty of Wallingford
[61]
[62]
Richard I
Richard the Lionheart
3 September 1189[e]

6 April 1199
(9 years, 216 days)
   
 
8 September 1157
Beaumont Palace
Son of Henry II
and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Berengaria of Navarre
Limassol
12 May 1191
No children
6 April 1199
Châlus
Shot by an arrow aged 41[ix]
Son of Henry II
Primogeniture
[63]
[62]
John
John Lackland
27 May 1199[f]

19 October 1216
(17 years, 146 days)
    24 December 1166
Beaumont Palace
Son of Henry II
and Eleanor of Aquitaine
(1) Isabel of Gloucester
Marlborough Castle
29 August 1189
No children
(2) Isabella of Angoulême
Bordeaux Cathedral
24 August 1200
5 children
19 October 1216
Newark-on-Trent
Aged 49[x]
Son of Henry II
Proximity of blood
[64]
[65]

Henry II named his son, another Henry (1155–1183), as co-ruler with him. But this was a Norman custom of designating an heir, and the younger Henry did not outlive his father and rule in his own right, so he is not counted as a monarch on lists of kings.


Disputed claimant

Louis VIII of France briefly ruled about half of England from 1216 to 1217 at the conclusion of the First Barons' War against King John. On marching into London he was openly received by the rebel barons and citizens of London and proclaimed (though not crowned) king at St Paul's cathedral. Many nobles, including Alexander II of Scotland for his English possessions, gathered to give homage to him. However, in signing the Treaty of Lambeth in 1217, Louis conceded that he had never been the legitimate king of England.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim
(Title disputed)
Louis
Louis VIII the Lion
1216

22 September 1217
(1 year)
    5 September 1187
Paris
Son of Philip II of France
and Isabella of Hainault
Blanche of Castile
Port-Mort
23 May 1200
13 children
8 November 1226
Montpensier
Aged 39
Right of conquest

House of PlantagenetEdit

The House of Plantagenet takes its name from Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, husband of the Empress Matilda and father of Henry II. The name Plantagenet itself was unknown as a family name per se until Richard of York adopted it as his family name in the 15th century. It has since been retroactively applied to English monarchs from Henry II onward. It is common among modern historians to refer to Henry II and his sons as the "Angevins" due to their vast continental Empire, and most of the Angevin kings before John spent more time in their continental possessions than in England. It is from the time of Henry III, after the loss of most of the family's continental possessions, that the Plantagenet kings became more English in nature. The Houses of Lancaster and York are cadet branches of the House of Plantagenet.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Henry III
Henry of Winchester
28 October 1216[g]

16 November 1272
(56 years, 20 days)
    1 October 1207
Winchester Castle
Son of John
and Isabella of Angoulême
Eleanor of Provence
Canterbury Cathedral
14 January 1236
5 children
16 November 1272
Westminster Palace
Aged 65
Son of John
Primogeniture
[66]


[65]


Edward I
Edward Longshanks
20 November 1272[h]

7 July 1307
(34 years, 230 days)
    17 June 1239
Palace of Westminster
Son of Henry III
and Eleanor of Provence
(1) Eleanor of Castile
Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas
18 October 1254
16 children
(2) Margaret of France
Canterbury
10 September 1299
3 children
7 July 1307
Burgh by Sands
Aged 68
Son of Henry III
Primogeniture
[67]
[68]
Edward II
Edward of Caernarfon
8 July 1307[i]

20 January 1327
(19 years, 197 days)
    25 April 1284
Caernarfon Castle
Son of Edward I
and Eleanor of Castile
Isabella of France
Boulogne Cathedral
24 January 1308
4 children
21 September 1327
Berkeley Castle
Murdered aged 43[xi]
Son of Edward I
Primogeniture
[70]
[71]
Edward III
25 January 1327[j]

21 June 1377
(50 years, 148 days)
   
 
13 November 1312
Windsor Castle
Son of Edward II
and Isabella of France
Philippa of Hainault
York Minster
25 January 1328
14 children
21 June 1377
Sheen Palace
Aged 64
Son of Edward II
Primogeniture
[72]
[71]
Richard II
22 June 1377[k]

29 September 1399
(22 years, 100 days)
    6 January 1367
Bordeaux
Son of Edward the Black Prince
and Joan of Kent
(1) Anne of Bohemia
14 January 1382
No children
(2) Isabella of Valois
Calais
4 November 1396
No children
14 February 1400
Pontefract Castle
Aged 33
Grandson of Edward III
Primogeniture
[73]
[74]

House of LancasterEdit

This house descended from Edward III's third surviving son, John of Gaunt. Henry IV seized power from Richard II (and also displaced the next in line to the throne, Edmund Mortimer (then aged 7), a descendant of Edward III's second son, Lionel of Antwerp).

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Henry IV
Henry of Bolingbroke
30 September 1399[l]

20 March 1413
(13 years, 172 days)
    3 April 1367
Bolingbroke Castle
Son of John of Gaunt
and Blanche of Lancaster
(1) Mary de Bohun
Arundel Castle
27 July 1380
7 children
(2) Joanna of Navarre
Winchester Cathedral
7 February 1403
No children
20 March 1413
Westminster Abbey
Aged 45
Grandson / heir male of Edward III
Usurpation / agnatic primogeniture
[75]
[76]
[74]
Henry V
21 March 1413[m]

31 August 1422
(9 years, 164 days)
    16 September 1386
Monmouth Castle
Son of Henry IV
and Mary de Bohun
Catherine of Valois
Troyes Cathedral
2 June 1420
1 son
31 August 1422
Château de Vincennes
Aged 36
Son of Henry IV
Agnatic primogeniture
[77]
[78]
[79]
(1st reign)
Henry VI
1 September 1422[n]

4 March 1461
(38 years, 185 days)
    6 December 1421
Windsor Castle
Son of Henry V
and Catherine of Valois
Margaret of Anjou
Titchfield Abbey
22 April 1445
1 son
21 May 1471
Tower of London
Allegedly murdered aged 49
Son of Henry V
Agnatic primogeniture
[80]
[79]

House of YorkEdit

The House of York inherited its name from the fourth surviving son of Edward III, Edmund, 1st Duke of York, but claimed the right to the throne through Edward III's second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp.

The Wars of the Roses (1455–1485) saw the throne pass back and forth between the rival houses of Lancaster and York.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(1st reign)
Edward IV
4 March 1461[o]

3 October 1470
(9 years, 214 days)
    28 April 1442
Rouen
Son of Richard of York
and Cecily Neville
Elizabeth Woodville
Grafton Regis
1 May 1464
10 children
9 April 1483
Westminster Palace
Aged 40
Great-great-grandson / heir general of Edward III
Seizure of the Crown
Cognatic primogeniture
[81]

House of Lancaster (restored)Edit

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(2nd reign)
Henry VI
3 October 1470

11 April 1471
(191 days)
    6 December 1421
Windsor Castle
Son of Henry V
and Catherine of Valois
Margaret of Anjou
Titchfield Abbey
22 April 1445
1 son
21 May 1471
Tower of London
Allegedly murdered aged 49
Son of Henry V
Seizure of the Crown
[80]

House of York (restored)Edit

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(2nd reign)
Edward IV
11 April 1471

9 April 1483
(11 years, 364 days)
    28 April 1442
Rouen
Son of Richard of York
and Cecily Neville
Elizabeth Woodville
Grafton Regis
1 May 1464
10 children
9 April 1483
Westminster Palace
Aged 40
Great-great-grandson / heir general of Edward III
Seizure of the Crown
Cognatic primogeniture
[81]
Edward V
9 April 1483

25 June 1483[xii]
(78 days)
    2 November 1470
Westminster
Son of Edward IV
and Elizabeth Woodville
Does not appear Unmarried Disappeared mid-1483
London
Allegedly murdered aged 12
Son of Edward IV
Cognatic primogeniture
[82]
[83]
[79]
Richard III
26 June 1483[p]

22 August 1485
(2 years, 58 days)
    2 October 1452
Fotheringhay Castle
Son of Richard of York
and Cecily Neville
Anne Neville
Westminster Abbey
12 July 1472
1 son
22 August 1485
Bosworth Field
Killed in battle aged 32[xiii]
Great-great-grandson of Edward III
Titulus Regius
[84]
[85]

House of TudorEdit

The Tudors descended from John Beaufort, one of the illegitimate children of John of Gaunt (third surviving son of Edward III), by Gaunt's long-term mistress Katherine Swynford. Those descended from English monarchs only through an illegitimate child would normally have no claim on the throne, but the situation was complicated when Gaunt and Swynford eventually married in 1396 (25 years after John Beaufort's birth). In view of the marriage, the church retroactively declared the Beauforts legitimate via a papal bull the same year (also enshrined in an Act of Parliament in 1397). A subsequent proclamation by John of Gaunt's legitimate son, King Henry IV, also recognised the Beauforts' legitimacy, but declared them ineligible ever to inherit the throne. Nevertheless, the Beauforts remained closely allied with Gaunt's other descendants, the Royal House of Lancaster.

John Beaufort's granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort was married to Edmund Tudor. Tudor was the son of Welsh courtier Owain Tudur (anglicised to Owen Tudor) and Catherine of Valois, the widow of the Lancastrian King Henry V. Edmund Tudor and his siblings were either illegitimate, or the product of a secret marriage, and owed their fortunes to the goodwill of their legitimate half-brother King Henry VI. When the House of Lancaster fell from power, the Tudors followed. By the late 15th century, the Tudors were the last hope for the Lancaster supporters. Edmund Tudor's son became king as Henry VII after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, winning the Wars of the Roses. King Henry married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, thereby uniting the Lancastrian and York lineages.

With Henry VIII's break from the Roman Catholic Church, the monarch became the Supreme Head of the Church of England and of the Church of Ireland. Elizabeth I's title became the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Henry VII
22 August 1485[q]

21 April 1509
(23 years, 243 days)
    28 January 1457
Pembroke Castle
Son of Edmund Tudor
and Margaret Beaufort
Elizabeth of York
Westminster Abbey
18 January 1486
8 children
21 April 1509
Richmond Palace
Aged 52
Great-great-great-grandson of Edward III
Right of conquest
[86]
Henry VIII
22 April 1509[r]

28 January 1547
(37 years, 282 days)
    28 June 1491
Greenwich Palace
Son of Henry VII
and Elizabeth of York
(1) Catherine of Aragon
Greenwich
11 June 1509
1 daughter
(2) Anne Boleyn
Westminster Palace
25 January 1533[xiv]
1 daughter
(3) Jane Seymour
Whitehall Palace
30 May 1536
1 son
3 further marriages
No more children
28 January 1547
Whitehall Palace
Aged 55
Son of Henry VII
Primogeniture
[87]
[88]
Edward VI
28 January 1547[s]

6 July 1553
(6 years, 160 days)
    12 October 1537
Hampton Court Palace
Son of Henry VIII
and Jane Seymour
Does not appear Unmarried 6 July 1553
Greenwich Palace
Aged 15
Son of Henry VIII
Primogeniture
[89]

Disputed claimant

Edward VI named Lady Jane Grey as his heir in his will, overruling the order of succession laid down by Parliament in the Third Succession Act. Four days after his death on 6 July 1553, Jane was proclaimed queen—the first of three Tudor women to be proclaimed queen regnant. Nine days after the proclamation, on 19 July, the Privy Council switched allegiance and proclaimed Edward VI's Catholic half-sister Mary queen. Jane was executed for treason in 1554, aged 16.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(Title disputed)
Jane
10 July 1553

19 July 1553
(Overthrown after 9 days)
    October 1537
Bradgate Park
Daughter of the 1st Duke of Suffolk
and Frances Brandon
Guildford Dudley
The Strand
21 May 1553
No children
12 February 1554
Tower of London
Executed aged 16
Great-granddaughter of Henry VII
Devise for the Succession
[90]
[91]

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Mary I
Bloody Mary
19 July 1553[t]

17 November 1558
(5 years, 122 days)
    18 February 1516
Greenwich Palace
Daughter of Henry VIII
and Catherine of Aragon
Philip II of Spain
Winchester Cathedral
25 July 1554
No children
17 November 1558
St James's Palace
Aged 42
Daughter of Henry VIII
Third Succession Act
[92]
(Jure uxoris)
Philip
25 July 1554[xv]

17 November 1558
(4 years, 116 days)
    21 May 1527
Valladolid
Son of Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire
and Isabella of Portugal
Mary I of England
Winchester Cathedral
25 July 1554
No children
3 other marriages
7 children
13 September 1598
El Escorial
Aged 71
Husband of Mary I
Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain
N/A

Under the terms of the marriage treaty between Philip I of Naples (Philip II of Spain from 15 January 1556) and Queen Mary I, Philip was to enjoy Mary's titles and honours for as long as their marriage should last. All official documents, including Acts of Parliament, were to be dated with both their names, and Parliament was to be called under the joint authority of the couple. An Act of Parliament gave him the title of king and stated that he "shall aid her Highness … in the happy administration of her Grace's realms and dominions"[93] (although elsewhere the Act stated that Mary was to be "sole queen"). Nonetheless, Philip was to co-reign with his wife.[94] As the new King of England could not read English, it was ordered that a note of all matters of state should be made in Latin or Spanish.[94][95][96] Coins were minted showing the heads of both Mary and Philip, and the coat of arms of England (pictured right) was impaled with Philip's to denote their joint reign.[97][98] Acts which made it high treason to deny Philip's royal authority were passed in England (see Treason Act 1554) and Ireland.[99] In 1555, Pope Paul IV issued a papal bull recognising Philip and Mary as rightful King and Queen of Ireland.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Elizabeth I
17 November 1558[u]

24 March 1603
(44 years, 128 days)
    7 September 1533
Greenwich Palace
Daughter of Henry VIII
and Anne Boleyn
Does not appear Unmarried 24 March 1603
Richmond Palace
Aged 69
Daughter of Henry VIII
Third Succession Act
[100]

House of StuartEdit

Following the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 without issue, her first cousin twice removed, King James VI of Scotland, succeeded to the English throne as James I in the Union of the Crowns. James was descended from the Tudors through his great-grandmother, Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of Henry VII. In 1604, he adopted the title King of Great Britain. However, the two parliaments remained separate until the Acts of Union 1707.[101]

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
James I
24 March 1603[v]

27 March 1625
(22 years, 4 days)
    19 June 1566
Edinburgh Castle
Son of Lord Darnley
and Mary I of Scotland
Anne of Denmark
Oslo
23 November 1589
7 children
27 March 1625
Theobalds House
Aged 58
Great-great-grandson / heir general of Henry VII [102]
Charles I
27 March 1625[w]

30 January 1649
(23 years, 310 days)
    19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace
Son of James I
and Anne of Denmark
Henrietta Maria of France
St Augustine's Abbey
13 June 1625
9 children
30 January 1649
Whitehall Palace
Executed aged 48
Son of James I
Cognatic primogeniture
[103]

InterregnumEdit

No monarch reigned between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. Between 1649 and 1653, there was no single English head of state, as England was ruled directly by the Rump Parliament with the English Council of State acting as executive power during a period known as the Commonwealth of England. After a coup d'etat in 1653, Oliver Cromwell forcibly took control of England from Parliament. He dissolved the Rump Parliament at the head of a military force and England entered a period known as The Protectorate, under the direct control of a single individual known as the Lord Protector. While not officially monarchs, the holder of the office of Lord Protector passed from Oliver Cromwell to his son Richard. Richard lacked both the ability to rule and confidence of the Army, and he was forcibly removed by the English Committee of Safety under the leadership of Charles Fleetwood in May 1659. England again lacked any single head of state during several months of conflict between Fleetwood's party and that of George Monck. Monck took control of the country in December 1659, and after almost a year of anarchy, the monarchy was formally restored when Charles II returned from France to accept the throne of England following the Declaration of Breda and an invitation to reclaim the throne from the Convention Parliament of 1660.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death
Lords Protector
Oliver Cromwell
16 December 1653

3 September 1658[104]
(4 years, 262 days)
    25 April 1599
Huntingdon[104]
Son of Robert Cromwell
and Elizabeth Steward[105]
Elizabeth Bourchier
St Giles[106]
22 August 1620
9 children[104]
3 September 1658
Whitehall
Aged 59[104]
Richard Cromwell
3 September 1658

7 May 1659[107]
(247 days)
    4 October 1626
Huntingdon
Son of Oliver Cromwell
and Elizabeth Bourchier[107]
Dorothy Maijor
May 1649
9 children[107]
12 July 1712
Cheshunt
Aged 85[108]

House of Stuart (restored)Edit

After the Monarchy was restored, England came under the rule of Charles II, whose reign was relatively peaceful domestically, given the tumultuous time of the Interregnum years. Tensions still existed between Catholics and Protestants, however, and with the ascension of Charles's brother, the openly Catholic James II, England was again sent into a period of political turmoil. James II was ousted by Parliament less than three years after ascending to the throne, replaced by his daughter Mary II and her husband (also his nephew) William III during the Glorious Revolution. While James and his descendants would continue to claim the throne, all Catholics (such as James and his son Charles) were barred from the throne by the Act of Settlement 1701, enacted by Anne, another of James's Protestant daughters. After the Acts of Union 1707, England as a sovereign state ceased to exist, replaced by the new Kingdom of Great Britain.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(Recognised by Royalists in 1649)
Charles II
29 May 1660[x]

6 February 1685
(24 years, 254 days)
    29 May 1630
St James's Palace
Son of Charles I
and Henrietta Maria of France
Catherine of Braganza
Portsmouth
21 May 1662
No children
6 February 1685
Whitehall Palace
Aged 54
Son of Charles I
Cognatic primogeniture
English Restoration
[109]
[110]
James II
6 February 1685[y]

23 December 1688
(Overthrown after 3 years, 321 days)
    14 October 1633
St James's Palace
Son of Charles I
and Henrietta Maria of France
(1) Anne Hyde
The Strand
3 September 1660
8 children
(2) Mary of Modena
Dover
21 November 1673
7 children
16 September 1701
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Aged 67
Son of Charles I
Cognatic primogeniture
[111]
Mary II
13 February 1689[z]

28 December 1694
(5 years, 319 days)
    30 April 1662
St James's Palace
Daughter of James II
and Anne Hyde
William III of England
St James's Palace
4 November 1677
No children
28 December 1694
Kensington Palace
Aged 32
Daughter of James II
Offered the Crown by Parliament
[112]
William III
William of Orange
13 February 1689[z]

8 March 1702
(13 years, 24 days)
    4 November 1650
The Hague
Son of William II of Orange
and Mary of England
Mary II of England
St James's Palace
4 November 1677
No children
8 March 1702
Kensington Palace
Aged 51
Grandson of Charles I
Offered the Crown by Parliament
[113]
[112]
Anne
8 March 1702[aa]

1 May 1707[114]
(5 years, 55 days)
(Queen of Great Britain until
1 August 1714)
(12 years, 147 days)
    6 February 1665
St James's Palace
Daughter of James II
and Anne Hyde
George of Denmark
St James's Palace
28 July 1683
No surviving children
1 August 1714
Kensington Palace
Aged 49
Daughter of James II
Cognatic primogeniture
Bill of Rights 1689
[115]
After the Acts of Union 1707   See List of British monarchs.

Acts of UnionEdit

The Acts of Union 1707 were a pair of Parliamentary Acts passed during 1706 and 1707 by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland to put into effect the Treaty of Union agreed on 22 July 1706. The Acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate sovereign states, with separate legislatures but with the same monarch) into the Kingdom of Great Britain.[116]

England, Scotland, and Ireland had shared a monarch for more than a hundred years, since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland inherited the English and Irish thrones from his first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. Although described as a Union of Crowns, until 1707 there were in fact two separate Crowns resting on the same head. There had been attempts in 1606, 1667, and 1689, to unite England and Scotland by Acts of Parliament, but it was not until the early eighteenth century that the idea had the support of both political establishments behind it, albeit for rather different reasons.

Timeline of English monarchsEdit

Anne, Queen of Great BritainMary II of EnglandWilliam III of EnglandJames II of EnglandCharles II of EnglandRichard CromwellOliver CromwellCharles I of EnglandJames VI and IElizabeth I of EnglandPhilip II of SpainMary I of EnglandLady Jane GreyEdward VI of EnglandHenry VIII of EnglandHenry VII of EnglandRichard III of EnglandEdward V of EnglandEdward IV of EnglandHenry VI of EnglandEdward IV of EnglandHenry VI of EnglandHenry V of EnglandHenry IV of EnglandRichard II of EnglandEdward III of EnglandEdward II of EnglandEdward I of EnglandHenry III of EnglandJohn, King of EnglandRichard I of EnglandHenry the Young KingHenry II of EnglandEmpress MatildaStephen, King of EnglandHenry I of EnglandWilliam II of EnglandWilliam I of EnglandEdgar the ÆthelingHarold GodwinsonEdward the ConfessorHarthacnutHarold HarefootCnut the GreatEdmund IronsideÆthelred the UnreadySweyn ForkbeardÆthelred the UnreadyEdward the MartyrEdgar the PeacefulEadwigEadredEdmund IÆthelstanHouse of Orange-NassauCommonwealth of EnglandHouse of StuartTudor DynastyHouse of YorkHouse of LancasterHouse of PlantagenetAngevin kings of EnglandHouse of BloisNormansHouse of KnýtlingaHouse of Wessex 

TitlesEdit

The standard title for all monarchs from Æthelstan until the time of King John was Rex Anglorum ("King of the English"). In addition, many of the pre-Norman kings assumed extra titles, as follows:

  • Æthelstan: Rex totius Britanniae ("King of the Whole of Britain")
  • Edmund the Magnificent: Rex Britanniæ ("King of Britain") and Rex Anglorum cæterarumque gentium gobernator et rector ("King of the English and of other peoples governor and director")
  • Eadred: Regis qui regimina regnorum Angulsaxna, Norþhymbra, Paganorum, Brettonumque ("Reigning over the governments of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, Northumbrians, Pagans, and British")
  • Eadwig the Fair: Rex nutu Dei Angulsæxna et Northanhumbrorum imperator paganorum gubernator Breotonumque propugnator ("King by the will of God, Emperor of the Anglo-Saxons and Northumbrians, governor of the pagans, commander of the British")
  • Edgar the Peaceful: Totius Albionis finitimorumque regum basileus ("King of all Albion and its neighbouring realms")
  • Canute: Rex Anglorum totiusque Brittannice orbis gubernator et rector ("King of the English and of all the British sphere governor and ruler") and Brytannie totius Anglorum monarchus ("Monarch of all the English of Britain")

In the Norman period Rex Anglorum remained standard, with occasional use of Rex Anglie ("King of England"). The Empress Matilda styled herself Domina Anglorum ("Lady of the English").

From the time of King John onwards all other titles were eschewed in favour of Rex or Regina Anglie.

In 1604 James I, who had inherited the English throne the previous year, adopted the title (now usually rendered in English rather than Latin) King of Great Britain. The English and Scottish parliaments, however, did not recognise this title until the Acts of Union of 1707 under Queen Anne (who was Queen of Great Britain rather than king).[xvi]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Ælfweard is buried at Winchester.[12]
  2. ^ Æthelred was forced to go into exile in mid-1013, following Danish attacks, but was invited back following Sweyn Forkbeard's death.[29]
  3. ^ Harold was only recognised as Regent until 1037, when was recognised as king.[41].
  4. ^ After reigning for approximately 9 weeks, Edgar Atheling submitted to William the Conqueror, who had gained control of the area to the south and immediate west of London.[49]
  5. ^ William I is buried at the Abbey of Saint-Étienne (French: Abbaye aux Hommes) in France.
  6. ^ Henry I is buried at Reading Abbey.
  7. ^ Matilda is not listed as a monarch of England in many genealogies within texts, including Carpenter, David (2003). A Struggle for Mastery. p. 533. ; Warren, W.L. (1973). Henry II. p. 176. ; and Gillingham, John (1984). The Angevin Empire. p. x. .
  8. ^ Henry II is buried at Fontevraud Abbey.
  9. ^ Richard II was buried at Rouen Cathedral. His body currently lies at Fontevraud Abbey.
  10. ^ John is buried at Worcester Cathedral.
  11. ^ The date of Edward II's death is disputed by historian Ian Mortimer, who argues that he may not have been murdered, but held imprisoned in Europe for several more years.[69]
  12. ^ Edward V was deposed by Richard III, who usurped the throne on the grounds that Edward was illegitimate. He was never crowned.[82]
  13. ^ The body of Richard III was exhumed and reburied in Leicester Cathedral in 2015.
  14. ^ Edward Hall and Raphael Holinshed both record an earlier secret wedding between Henry and Anne, which was conducted in Dover on 15 November 1532.
  15. ^ Philip was not meant to be a mere consort; rather, the status of Mary I's husband was envisioned as that of a co-monarch during her reign. (See Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain.) However the extent of his authority and his status are ambiguous. The Act says that Philip shall have the title of king and "shall aid her Highness ... in the happy administration of her Grace's realms and dominions", but elsewhere says that Mary shall be the sole Queen.
  16. ^ After the personal union of the crowns, James was the first to style himself King of Great Britain, but the title was rejected by the English Parliament and had no basis in law. The Parliament of Scotland also opposed it.[117] (See also Union Flag.)

Coronations

  1. ^ William II was crowned on 26 September 1087.
  2. ^ Henry I was crowned on 5 August 1100.
  3. ^ Stephen was crowned on 22 December 1135.
  4. ^ Henry II was crowned on 19 December 1154 with Queen Eleanor.
  5. ^ Richard I was crowned on 3 September 1189.
  6. ^ John was crowned on 27 May 1199.
  7. ^ Henry III was crowned on 28 October 1216.
  8. ^ Edward I was crowned on 19 August 1274 with Queen Eleanor.
  9. ^ Edward II was crowned on 25 February 1308 with Queen Isabella.
  10. ^ Edward III was crowned on 1 February 1327.
  11. ^ Richard II was crowned on 16 July 1377.
  12. ^ Henry IV was crowned on 13 October 1399.
  13. ^ Henry V was crowned on 9 April 1413.
  14. ^ Henry VI was crowned on 6 November 1429.
  15. ^ Edward IV was crowned on 28 June 1461.
  16. ^ Richard III was crowned on 6 July 1483 with Queen Anne.
  17. ^ Henry VII was crowned on 30 October 1485.
  18. ^ Henry VIII was crowned on 24 June 1509 with Queen Catherine.
  19. ^ Edward VI was crowned on 20 February 1547.
  20. ^ Mary I was crowned on 1 October 1553.
  21. ^ Elizabeth I was crowned on 15 January 1559.
  22. ^ James I was crowned on 25 July 1603 with Queen Anne.
  23. ^ Charles I was crowned on 2 February 1626.
  24. ^ Charles II was crowned on 23 April 1661.
  25. ^ James II was crowned on 23 April 1685 with Mary of Modena.
  26. ^ a b Mary II and William III were crowned on 11 April 1689.
  27. ^ Anne was crowned on 23 April 1702.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ashley, Mike (2003). A Brief History of British Kings and Queens: British Royal History from Alfred the Great to the Present. Running Press. 
  2. ^ Fryde, E. B., ed. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd ed.). Royal Historical Society. p. 25. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  3. ^ Keynes, Simon (2001). "Rulers of the English, c.450–1066". In Lapidge, Michael; Blair, John; Keynes, Simon; Scragg, Donald. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Blackwell Publishing. p. 514. ISBN 978-0-631-22492-1. 
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  7. ^ "Edward 'The Elder' (r. 899–924)". royal.gov.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2018. 
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