List of British monarchy records
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This List of British monarchy records lists various statistical records relating to the monarchy of the United Kingdom and its predecessors and constituents.
|Record name||Highest record||Holder(s)||Lowest record||Holder(s)|
|Length of Reign||24,892d (68a)||Elizabeth II||40d||Sweyn|
|Longevity||34,314d (93a)||2,727d (7a)||Margaret of Norway|
|Longevity of heir apparent||26,132d (71a)||Charles, Prince of Wales||52d||Henry of Surrey|
|Longevity of heir presumptive||30,552d (83a)||Sophia of Hanover||~3,650d (10a)||Richard of Shrewsbury|
|Age of ascension||23,684d (64a)||William IV||6d||Mary, Queen of Scots|
|Age difference between monarchs||19,940d (54a)||George II and George III||539d (1a)||Edward VIII and George VI|
|Age at marriage||22,000d (60a)||Edward I||1,595d (4a)||David II|
|Consort's age at marriage||~13,870 (38a)||Maud of Huntingdon||2,640d (7a)||Isabella of Valois|
|Length of marriage||26,523d (72a)||Elizabeth II and Prince Philip||143d||Alexander III and Yolande of Dreux|
|Number of marriages||6||Henry VIII||0||Æthelstan, Eadred, Edward the Martyr, Canute II, William II, Edward Balliol, Edward V, Edward VI, Elizabeth I|
|Number of children||29||Henry I of England||Æthelstan, Eadred, Eadwig, Edward the Martyr, Canute II, Edward the Confessor, William II, Edward Balliol, Richard II, Edward V, Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, Elizabeth I, William III, Mary II and Edward VIII|
|Number of legitimate children||19||Edward I of England||(in addition to those listed immediately above who had no children at all): Richard I and Charles II|
|Age of parent||66a||18a||Harold Harefoot|
|Height||1.94 m||Edward IV||1.52 m||Victoria|
Reign of British monarchsEdit
The longest reign of a British monarch is that of the current monarch, Elizabeth II (68 years, 55 days since 6 February 1952). The second longest reign is the 63 years 216 days of Victoria between 1837 and 1901. Queen Elizabeth II's reign became longer than Queen Victoria's on 9 September 2015. The third longest reign (and longest of a King) was that of George III, who reigned for 59 years 96 days between 1760 and 1820.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has been the monarch's spouse (prince consort) since 6 February 1952, for a total of 68 years, 55 days, making him the longest-serving consort overall. The Queen consort with the longest tenure was Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was George III's consort for 57 years, 70 days, between 1761 and 1818.
Margaret of Scotland, Countess of Kent was heir presumptive to William I of Scotland, Alexander II and Alexander III for a total of about 43 years, 14 days (her tenure as heir presumptive to Alexander II was also the longest single tenure at 26 years, 274 days). The longest-serving heir-presumptive of either sex was Robert II, who was heir-presumptive to Robert I and then David II for a total of 46 years, 353 days; he also served the longest single tenure (41 years, 260 days as heir-presumptive to David II).
The shortest-reigning monarch was Lady Jane Grey who ruled for 9 days from 6 July until 15 July 1553 (although she was only proclaimed queen by the Lords of the Council on 10 July). Note: Jane's reign is disputed.
The king with the shortest definitively known reign was Edgar the Ætheling who ruled for 2 months, 12 days in 1066 before submitting to William the Conqueror. Some records indicate that Sweyn Forkbeard reigned for only 40 days in 1013–4.
The shortest tenure as heir apparent was that of the unnamed son of Henry VIII who died within hours of birth in September 1513.
Elizabeth I holds the records for the shortest tenure of an English heir presumptive (almost 2 years as heir-presumptive to Henry VIII) unless one recognizes the 13-day tenure attributed to Lady Jane Grey's sister, The Lady Herbert of Cardiff. This would also be the record for shortest total tenure as heir-presumptive (Elizabeth was later heiress-presumptive to her sister Mary).
The shortest total tenure as a male heir-presumptive was George I (54 days).
Mary, Queen of Scots, was heir presumptive from birth until her accession to the throne at the age of 6 days.
Pretenders in PowerEdit
During the Middle Ages and the Mid-18th Century, a number of pretenders to the throne controlled all or a substantial portion of England and Scotland:
- Empress Matilda: Daughter and only surviving child of Henry I of England, fought her cousin King Stephen for the throne. She held him prisoner from 7 April to 1 November 1141 and controlled a substantial portion of the country from 1141 to 1148.
- Henry the Young King, who was crowned junior king in 1170 at the age of 15, led a revolt against his father Henry II for several months in 1173–74 and controlled much of England.
- Louis VIII of France: Controlled the Southeast of England and later the whole country briefly during the First Barons' War from 1215 to 1217.
- Edward Balliol was crowned king of Scotland in 1332 and was able to control some parts of it until 1356. His claim was recognized and supported by England.
- James III and VIII sent his son Bonnie Prince Charlie to reclaim his kingdom and the latter controlled Scotland and Northern England for several months in 1745.
The longest-lived British monarch and ruler is Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch, who is now aged 93 years, 346 days, having surpassed her great-great-grandmother Victoria on 21 December 2007, who had held the record since 18 January 1901, surpassing her own grandfather George III.[self-published source]
The longest-lived male consort is her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who is 98 years, 296 days old.
The longest-lived king was Edward Balliol of Scotland, who died at age 83 or 84 in 1367. Note: Edward Balliol's reign is disputed.
The longest-lived queen consort and overall consort was Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later known as the Queen Mother, consort to George VI, and mother of the current longest-lived British monarch, who was 101 years 238 days at the time of her death on 30 March 2002. Prince Philip would pass her as longest-lived overall consort on 4 February 2023.
The present Prince of Wales is the oldest heir apparent at 71 years, 139 days.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is the oldest heir apparent to an heir apparent at 37 years, 285 days old.
Prince George of Cambridge is the oldest heir apparent to an heir apparent to an heir apparent at 6 years, 254 days old.
The oldest male heir presumptive was Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover and Duke of Cumberland, who was displaced as Queen Victoria’s heir by the birth of his great-niece Victoria, Princess Royal, when he was aged 69 years, 169 days.
Age of ascensionEdit
The oldest monarch at the start of his reign was William IV who succeeded to the throne in 1830 at the age of 64 years 309 days. If the current Prince of Wales became the King today, he would be the oldest to do so at the age of 71 years, 139 days.
The oldest queen consort was Alexandra of Denmark, wife of Edward VII, who was aged 56 years, 52 days when she became queen in 1901. If Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were to become Queen consort (or possibly Princess consort) today, she would be the oldest to do so at the age of 72 years, 259 days.
The youngest British monarch at the start of her reign was Mary, Queen of Scots, who became queen aged 6 days in 1542. The youngest king was Henry VI, who was 8 months and 26 days old at the time of his accession.
Age differences, outgoing and succeeding monarchsEdit
The greatest age difference of an outgoing British monarch and successor was 54 years and 217 days between George II (born 30 October 1683) and his grandson George III (born 4 June 1738) who succeeded on the former's death on 25 October 1760.
The smallest age difference of an outgoing British monarch and successor was 1 year and 171 days between Edward VIII (born 23 June 1894) and his brother George VI (born 14 December 1895) who succeeded on the former's abdication on 11 December 1936.
Henry VIII was married six times, making him Britain's most-married monarch. The queen who was married the most times was Mary, Queen of Scots, who had three husbands. The most-married queen consort was Catherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII, who had four husbands.
William II, Edward V, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I all lived and died unmarried. In addition, Edward VIII was unmarried during his tenure as monarch, though he then married Wallis Simpson after his abdication (which was caused by this marriage plan).
When second or subsequent marriages are included the oldest monarch at the time of his marriage was Edward I, whose second marriage was to Margaret of France in 1299 when he was 60 years, 83 days old and she was no more than 20.
The Queen regnant with the most children was Queen Victoria who had 9 children of whom all reached adulthood.
The Queen regnant with the most pregnancies was Anne, who had 17, but only 5 resulted in live-born children (two of whom survived past the age of one, one reached the age of two, but all of them died before their mother).
Age of parentsEdit
The youngest queen regnant to give birth is Mary II, who gave birth to a stillborn child in 1678, prior to her accession, when she was just 16.
The tallest measured British monarch was Edward IV, whose skeleton measures 6'4½" (1.94 m). Records indicate that when fully clad in armour he would have been about 6'7" (2 metres), an exceptional height for any man, especially of that time.
Both Edward Longshanks and Richard the Lionheart were also considered unusually tall for the medieval period - although contrary to popular belief, 'Longshanks' was not called that due to the length of his legs, but his arms; they were over a yard long (91 cm), though there is no evidence to suggest they were particularly disproportionate to the rest of his body.
The shortest British monarch in adulthood was most likely Queen Victoria, who stood only 5' (1.52 m) when in her 30s, and was possibly an inch or two shorter towards the end of her life.
James VI reigned nearly 58 years as king of Scotland and died at age 59, making him king of Scotland for over 98 percent of his life.
- "Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning UK monarch". BBC. 9 September 2015.
- "English Monarchs with the longest reign". English Heritage. 7 September 2015.
- ""Prince James Francis Edward", The British Monarchy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Philip the record-setting consort". BBC. 18 April 2009.
- "Prince Charles becomes longest-serving heir apparent". BBC. 20 April 2011.
- Bryan, Nicola. "Prince Charles is longest-serving Prince of Wales". BBC News. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
- McWhirter, Norris (1996). Guinness Book of Records. Guinness Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 0-85112-646-4.
- "Kings & Queens - by Age".
- "The longest-lived Royal in history". BBC. 20 August 2003.
- Mike Ashley (7 June 2012). The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens. Hachette UK.
- "Prince Charles becomes oldest heir for nearly 300 years". BBC. 19 September 2013.
- Antony Mason. Kings and Queens - A Very Peculiar History. Andrews UK.
- "Prince of Wales will be oldest monarch crowned". Daily Telegraph. 19 September 2013.
- "Kings & Queens - by Age of Accession to the Throne".
- "Oldest British Queen Consort at start of reign". Guinness Book of Records.
- "11 Things You Might Not Know About Mary, Queen of Scots". Mental Floss.
- "Royal wedding: Kate Middleton will be 'oldest bride'". Daily Telegraph. 16 November 2010.
- "Queen Elizabeth II becomes first British monarch to celebrate 70th wedding anniversary". Washington Post. 20 November 2017.
- Thompson, Kathleen (2003). "Affairs of State: the Illegitimate Children of Henry I". Journal of Medieval History. 29 (2): 129–151. doi:10.1016/S0304-4181(03)00015-0. ISSN 0304-4181.