List of monarchs in the British Isles

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This is a list of the monarchs of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, that is, the monarchs on the thrones of some of the various kingdoms that have existed in the British Isles, namely:

To see the rulers of the small kingdoms which existed before the formation of England, Scotland or Wales, see:

[edit] Complications over title and style

James VI of Scotland and I of England, united the Crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland in a personal union, later merged into a single Kingdom of Great Britain by the Act of Union 1707.

Royal titles are complicated because in some cases names of kingdoms are used that did not officially come into existence until later, or came into existence earlier without immediate adoption of the royal title.

  • Note that the numbering of English monarchs starts afresh after 1066 (although this affects only the Edwards).
  • All Scottish monarchs held the title King of Scots or Queen of Scots, with the exception of the last three: Mary II, William III and Anne I used the style "of Scotland" rather than "of Scots".
  • In October 1604, one year after James VI of Scotland had become King of England, he decreed that the Royal Title would use the term Great Brittaine to refer to the "one Imperiall Crowne" made up of England and Scotland[1]. However using that title is problematic because the 'state' of Great Britain was not created until the Act of Union 1707. Nor was the united crown generally referred to as 'imperial'. To avoid confusion, historians in general thus refer to all monarchs up to 1707 as monarchs of England and Scotland. Thus James II of England was also James VII of Scotland; and William III of England was also William II of Scotland. Many English and British monarchs also claimed France as part of their official title, though this had no substance in reality. After the Union, the ordinal has been the English number (for "George", "Edward" and "Elizabeth") and, until recently, there was no formal rule (see List of regnal numerals of future British monarchs).
  • In different documents, the terms Kingdom of Great Britain and United Kingdom of Great Britain feature, even documents as official as the Act of Union 1707. Most historians presume the United was meant to be descriptive, indicating a union as a form of unity by marriage rather than coercion. For clarity and because the United is far more strongly associated with the later name United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland produced in the Act of Union 1800, the 1707 Kingdom is generally referred to as the Kingdom of Great Britain.

[edit] Monarchs

Succession to the many thrones often did not pass smoothly from parent to child; lack of heirs, civil wars, murders and invasions affected the inheritance in ways that a simple list does not show. The relationships that formed the basis for claims to throne are noted where we know them, and the dates of reign indicated.

Monarchs of England Monarchs of Scotland
Name Reign Notes
The West Saxons
Alfred the Great 871899 Recognised as leader of all free Englishmen under the Treaty of Wedmore, 878
Edward the Elder 899924 Alfred's son
Ælfweard 924 Edward's son, king of Wessex only
Athelstan 924939 Edward's son, the first de facto king of all England
Edmund I 939946 Edward's son
Edred 946955 Edward's son
Edwy the Fair 955959 Edmund's son
Edgar the Peaceable 959975 Edmund's son
St Edward the Martyr 975978 Edgar's son
Ethelred the Unready 9781013
Edgar's son
Edmund Ironside 1016 Ethelred's son
The Danish Kings
Both the Saxon and Danish royal houses claimed the English throne, 1013 to 1016. Denmark and England had the same king from 1016 to 1042.
Sweyn Forkbeard 10131014  
Canute The Great 10161035 Sweyn's son
Harold Harefoot 10351040 Canute's son
Harthacanute 10401042 Canute's son
The West Saxon Restoration
St Edward the Confessor 10421066 Ethelred's son
Harold Godwinson 1066 Edward the Confessor's brother-in-law
Edgar the Atheling 1066 Grandson of Edmund Ironside
The Normans
After the Norman Conquest in 1066, numbering of kings (a French tradition never used by the English prior to that date) begins.
William I, the Conqueror 10661087 Distant kinsman of Alfred the Great
William II, Rufus 10871100 William I's son, descendant of Alfred the Great
Henry I 11001135 William I's son, descendant of Alfred the Great
Stephen 11351154 William I's grandson
The Angevins or Plantagenets
The Royal House name changed to reflect Matilda's marriage to Geoffrey Plantagenet.
Matilda (Empress Maud) 1141 Henry I's daughter, Edmund Ironside's great-great-granddaughter
Henry II 11541189 Matilda's son
Richard I, the Lionheart 11891199 Henry II's son
Monarchs of England and Ireland
In 1199, John, already Lord of Ireland, inherited the English throne. The title "Lord of Ireland" was used until it was replaced by "King of Ireland" in 1542.
John "Lackland" 11991216 Henry II's son
Louis of France<ref name="louis">King Louis is included between the reigns of King John and Henry III, although by tradition he usually is not listed.</ref> 12161217 descendant of Alfred the Great; husband of John's niece
Henry III 12161272 John's son
Edward I "Longshanks" 12721307 Henry III's son
Edward II 13071327 Edward I's son
Edward III 13271377 Edward II's son
Richard II 13771399 Edward III's grandson
The House of Lancaster
Henry Bolingbroke deposed Richard II, and the Royal House name came to reflect Henry's father's title, Duke of Lancaster.
Henry IV 13991413 Edward III's grandson
Henry V 14131422 Henry IV's son
Henry VI 14221461
Henry V's son
The House of York
The Houses of Lancaster and York had fought the Wars of the Roses, and the Yorkists took the throne.
Edward IV 14611470
Edward III's great-great-grandson
Edward V 1483 Edward IV's son
Richard III 14831485 Edward IV's brother
The House of Tudor
The Lancastrian Henry Tudor reclaimed the throne from the Yorkists.
Henry VII 14851509 Edward III's great-great-great-grandson
Henry VIII 15091547 Henry VII's son, Edward IV's grandson
Edward VI 15471553 Henry VIII's son
Jane 1553 Henry VII's great-granddaughter. Not generally noted as officially queen<ref name="Jane">Proclaimed Queen on 10 July 1553, but deposed by Mary I 9 days later.</ref><ref name="Grey">Lady Jane is commonly listed as House of Tudor, despite her surname not being Tudor</ref>
Mary I 15531558 Henry VIII's daughter
Elizabeth I 15581603 Henry VIII's daughter
Name Reign Notes
The House of Alpin
Kenneth I 843858
Donald I 858862 Kenneth I's brother
Constantine I 862877 Kenneth I's son
Áed 877878 Kenneth I's son
Eochaid 878889 Áed's nephew
Jointly with Giric ?
Giric 878889 Áed's first cousin ?
Donald II 889900 Constantine I's son
Constantine II 900943 Áed's son
Malcolm I 943954 Donald II's son
Indulf 954962 Constantine II's son
Dub 962966 Malcolm I's son
Cuilén 966971 Indulf's son
Kenneth II 971–? Malcolm I's son
Amlaíb ?–977 Indulf's son
Kenneth II 977995 2nd reign
Constantine III 995997 Cuilén's son
Kenneth III 9971005 Dub's son
Malcolm II 10051034 Kenneth II's son
Duncan I 10341040 Malcolm II's grandson
Macbeth 10401057 Kenneth III's granddaughter's husband
Lulach 10571058 Kenneth III's great-grandson, Macbeth's step-son and cousin
The House of Dunkeld
Malcolm III 10581093 Duncan I's son
Donald III 10931094
Duncan I's son
Duncan II 1094 Malcolm III's son
Edgar 10971107 Malcolm III's son
Alexander I 11071124 Malcolm III's son
David I 11241153 Malcolm III's son
Malcolm IV 11531165 David I's grandson
William I 11651214 David I's grandson
Alexander II 12141249 William I's son
Alexander III 12491286 Alexander II's son
Margaret 1286-1290 Alexander III's granddaughter, never inaugurated
The House of Balliol
When Margaret died in 1290 there was no clear heir. King Edward I of England adjudged the claims of Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale and John Balliol in Balliol's favour.
John 12921296 David I's great-great-great-grandson
The House of Bruce
When John Balliol rebelled, the Wars of Scottish Independence commenced, during which Robert the Bruce became King.
Robert I 13061329 David I's great-great-great-great-grandson
David II 13291371 Robert I's son
The House of Balliol
For a period of time, both Edward Balliol and David II claimed the throne.
Edward Balliol 13321336 John Balliol's son
The House of Stuart
Engaged to the Dauphin at age five, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots was thus brought up in the French court where she became "Marie Stuart, Reine de l'Écosse," etc., to render the sound of 'Stewart' into French as accurately as possible. Mary kept the French spelling on her return to Scotland in 1560.
Robert II 13711390 Robert I's grandson
Robert III 13901406 Robert II's son
James I 14061437 Robert III's son
James II 14371460 James I's son
James III 14601488 James II's son
James IV 14881513 James III's son
James V 15131542 James IV's son
Mary I 15421567 James V's daughter
James VI 15671625 Mary I's son
Monarchs of England, Scotland and Ireland
In 1603, James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne upon the death of Elizabeth I in what is known as the Union of the Crowns. From then until 1707, England, Scotland and Ireland had shared monarchs.
The House of Stuart
Name Reign Notes
James I (England)
James VI (Scotland)
16031625 Son of Mary, Queen of Scots; great-great-grandson of Henry VII of England; first to be styled "King of Great Britain" (1604)
Charles I 16251649 James VI & I's son
The Period of Interregnum, (Commonwealth and Protectorate)
England had no king from 1649 to 1660, but was a Republic until 1653. Oliver Cromwell then dissolved Parliament and ruled alone as Lord Protector to his death.
Name Reign Notes
Oliver Cromwell 16531658  
Richard Cromwell 16581659 Oliver Cromwell's son
Monarchs of England, Scotland and Ireland
In 1659, Richard Cromwell abdicated. Anomie existed until the Stuart Restoration in 1660.
The House of Stuart (restored)
Name Reign Notes
Charles II 16601685 England
1649-1651 and 16601685 Scotland
(16491685 de jure)
Charles I's elder son (crowned at Scone, in Scotland, 1651). He officially dated his reign from his father's death
James II (England)
James VII (Scotland)
16851689 Charles I's younger son
Mary II 16891694 James II's elder daughter
Joint sovereign with her husband, William III, II and I
William III (England)
William II (Scotland)
William I (Ireland)
16891702 Charles I's grandson
Jointly with his wife, Mary II
Anne 17021707
(full reign: 1702–1714)
James II's daughter
Monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland
In 1707, the Act of Union merged the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The House of Stuart (continued)
Name Reign Notes
Anne 17071714
(full reign: 1702–1714)
James II's daughter
The House of Hanover
Under the Act of Settlement 1701, the English (thus, the successor British) throne could only be held by a Protestant. Sophia of Hanover, the nearest such relative, thus became statutorily designated as the next heir. She died shortly before Anne, and her place was taken by her son, who thus founded the House of Hanover (aka Guelph and Brunswick).
George I 17141727 James I's great-grandson
George II 17271760 George I's son
George III 17601801
(full reign: 1760–1820)
George II's grandson
Monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
In 1801, the Act of Union combined the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom.
The House of Hanover (continued)
Name Reign Notes
George III 18011820
(full reign: 1760–1820)
George II's grandson
George IV 18201830 George III's son
William IV 18301837 George III's son
Victoria 18371901 George III's granddaughter
The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
The Royal House name was changed to reflect Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but she herself remained a member of the House of Hanover.
Edward VII 19011910 Victoria's son
George V 19101917
(full reign: 1910–1936)
Edward VII's son
The House of Windsor
The name of the Royal House changed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor in 1917 due to anti-German sentiments during World War I.
George V 19171927
(full reign: 1910–1936)
Edward VII's son
Monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1922, the Irish Free State left the United Kingdom. The name of the Kingdom was amended in 1927 to reflect the change.
The House of Windsor (continued)
Name Reign Notes
George V 19271936
(full reign: 1910–1936)
Edward VII's son
Edward VIII 1936 George V's son; abdicated
George VI 19361952 George V's son
Elizabeth II 6 February 1952- George VI's daughter; also queen of 31 other sovereign kingdoms.

[edit] Notes

<references />

  • A mnemonic verse lists the Kings and Queens of England then Great Britain then the United Kingdom.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

cy:Brenhinoedd y Deyrnas Unedig de:Liste der britischen Monarchen es:Monarca británico eo:Listo de britaj reĝoj fr:Monarques de Grande-Bretagne ko:영국의 군주 it:Elenco di monarchi britannici he:מלכי בריטניה ka:ინგლისის მონარქების სია kw:Myghternedh an Rywvaneth Unys la:Index Regum Britanniae lb:Lëscht vun de britesche Monarchen lt:Anglijos karaliai li:Keuninge van Ingeland, Sjotland, Groet-Brittannië en 't Vereineg Keuninkriek hu:A Brit-szigetek uralkodóinak listája nl:Lijst van Britse koningen ja:イギリス君主一覧 no:Liste over britiske monarker pl:Władcy brytyjscy ro:Listă de suverani din Insulele Britanice ru:Монархи Великобритании sk:Zoznam kráľov Anglicka, Škótska, Veľkej Británie a Spojeného kráľovstva sl:Seznam britanskih kraljev sr:Списак краљева Енглеске fi:Luettelo Englannin kuninkaista sv:Lista över Storbritanniens regenter zh:英国君主列表

List of monarchs in the British Isles

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