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List of British monarchs

This is a list of British monarchs, that is, the monarchs on the thrones of some of the various kingdoms that have existed on, or incorporated, the island of Great Britain, namely:

Since 1559 English monarchs have had the title Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

In 1328, on the death of the French king, Charles IV, Edward III (nephew of Charles IV) claimed the French throne. British monarchs then styled themselves "King/Queen of France" until the Act of Union, which led to the creation of the United Kingdom in 1801. By then France had been a republic for ten years. See: English Kings of France

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


Complications over Title and Style

Royal titles are also 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.

  • For example, 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. However using that title is problematic because the 'state' of Great Britain was only created in the Act of Union 1707. Nor was the united crown generally referred to as 'imperial'. Furthermore, monarchs continued to use ordinals attached to the two previous kingdoms, for instance James VII/II. To avoid confusion, historians in general thus refer to all monarchs up to 1707 as monarchs of England and Scotland (so explaining their two ordinals where they existed), with the monarch's title at all times accurately following the official name or names of the state or states they reigned over, where it differed from the official royal title. (Hence though many English and British monarchs claimed France as part of their official title, that had no reality in substance, so it isn't used.) After the Union, the ordinal has either been the English number, or the greater of the two numbers - the results have been the same and there is no formal rule.
  • 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.

The list of monarchs below cannot be exhaustive. For 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 Saxons
Offa 757-796  
Egbert 802-839  
Ethelwulf 839-856 Egbert's son
Ethelbald 856-860 Ethelwulf's son
Ethelbert 860-865 Ethelwulf's son
Ethelred I 865-871 Ethelwulf's son
Alfred the Great 871-899 Ethelwulf's son
Edward I the Elder 899-924 Alfred's son
Ethelweard 924 Edward's son
Athelstan 924-939 Edward's son
Edmund I 939-946 Edward's son
Edred 946-955 Edward's son
Edwy 955-959 Edmund's son
Edgar the Peaceful 959-975 Edmund's son
St Edward II the Martyr 975-978 Edgar's son
Ethelred II 978-1013
Edgar's son
Edmund II 1016 Ethelred II's son
The Danish Kings
For a period of time, both the Saxons and the Danish claimed the English throne.
Sweyn Forkbeard 1013-1014  
Canute the Great 1016-1035 Sweyn's son
Harold I 1035-1040 Canute's illegitimate son
Harthacanute 1040-1042 Canute's son
The Saxon Restoration
St Edward III the Confessor 1042-1066 Ethelred II's son
Harold II 1066-1066 Edward the Confessor's brother-in-law
Edgar Ętheling 1066-1066 Grandson of Edmund Ironside
The Normans
After the Norman Conquest in 1066, numbering of kings (a French tradition applied to the Saxons only by historians) begins anew, although this affects only the Edwards.
William I 1066-1087 known as William the Conqueror
William II 1087-1100 William I's son
Henry I 1100-1135 William I's son
Stephen 1135-1154 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
Henry II 1154-1189 Matilda's son
Richard I "Lionheart" 1189-1199 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" 1199-1216 Henry II's son
Henry III 1216-1272 John's son
Edward I "Longshanks" 1272-1307 Henry III's son
Edward II 1307-1327 Edward I's son
Edward III 1327-1377 Edward II's son
Richard II 1377-1399 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 1399-1413 Edward III's grandson
Henry V 1413-1422 Henry IV's son
Henry VI 1422-1461
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 1461-1470
Edward III's great-great-grandson
Edward V 1483 Edward IV's son
Richard III 1483-1485 Edward IV's brother
The House of Tudor
The Lancastrian Henry Tudor reclaimed the throne from the Yorkists.
Henry VII 1485-1509 Edward III's great-great-grandson
Henry VIII 1509-1547 Henry VII's son
Edward VI* 1547-1553 Henry VIII's son
Mary I 1553-1558 Henry VIII's daughter
Elizabeth I 1558-1603 Henry VIII's daughter
Name Reign Notes
The House of Alpin
Kenneth I 843-858  
Donald I 858-862 Kenneth I's brother
Constantine I 862-877 Kenneth I's son
Aedh 877-878 Kenneth I's son
Eochaid 878-889 Aedh's nephew
Jointly with Giric
Giric 878-889 Aedh's first cousin
Jointly with Eochaid
Donald II 889-900 Constantine I's son
Constantine II 900-943 Aedh's son
Malcolm I 943-954 Donald II's son
Indulf 954-962 Constantine II's son
Dubh 962-966 Malcolm I's son
Culen 966-971 Indulf's son
Kenneth II 971-995 Malcolm I's son
Constantine III 995-997 Culen's son
Kenneth III 997-1005 Dubh's son
Malcolm II 1005-1034 Kenneth II's son
Duncan I 1034-1040 Malcolm II's grandson
Macbeth 1040-1057 Malcolm II's grandson
Lulach 1057-1058 Kenneth III's grandson
The House of Dunkeld
Malcolm III 1058-1093 Duncan I's son
Donald III 1093-1094
Duncan I's son
Duncan II 1094 Malcolm III's son
Edgar 1097-1107 Malcolm III's son
Alexander I 1107-1124 Malcolm III's son
David I 1124-1153 Malcolm III's son
Malcolm IV 1153-1165 David I's grandson
William I 1165-1214 David I's grandson
Alexander II 1214-1249 William I's son
Alexander III 1249-1286 Alexander II's son
Margaret 1286-1290 Alexander III's granddaughter
The House of Balliol
When Margaret died, there was no clear heir. King Edward I of England took over and installed a puppet, John Balliol.
John Balliol 1292-1296 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 1306-1329 David I's great-great-great-great-grandson
David II 1329-1371 Robert I's son
The House of Balliol
For a period of time, both Edward Balliol and David II claimed the throne.
Edward Balliol 1332-1338 John Balliol's son
The House of Stewart
Mary I changed the spelling to Stuart during her time in France, as the French did not have the letter 'w'.
Robert II 1371-1390 Robert I's grandson
Robert III 1390-1406 Robert II's son
James I 1406-1437 Robert III's son
James II 1437-1460 James I's son
James III 1460-1488 James II's son
James IV 1488-1513 James III's son
James V 1513-1542 James IV's son
Mary I 1542-1567 James V's daughter
James VI 1567-1625 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. From then until 1707, England, Scotland and Ireland had shared monarchs.
The House of Stuart
Name Reign Notes
James I (England)
James VI (Scotland)
1603-1625 Henry VII of England's great-great-grandson
Mary of Scotland's son
Charles I 1625-1649 James I's son
The Commonwealth and Protectorate
There was no King between Charles I's execution in 1649 and the Restoration in 1660. The nation's rulers were known as Lords Protector.
Name Reign Notes
Oliver Cromwell 1653-1658  
Richard Cromwell 1658-1659 Oliver Cromwell's son
Monarchs of England, Scotland and Ireland
In 1659, Richard Cromwell abdicated. Anarchy existed until the Stuart Restoration in 1660.
The House of Stuart
Name Reign Notes
Charles II 1660-1685 Charles I's son
James II (England)
James VII (Scotland)
1685-1689 Charles I's son
Mary II 1689-1694 James II's daughter
Jointly with her husband, William III
William III (England)
William II (Scotland)
1689-1702 Charles I's grandson
Jointly with his wife, Mary II
Anne 1702-1707 James II's daughter
Monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland
In 1707, the Act of Union combined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The House of Stuart
Name Reign Notes
Anne 1707-1714 James II's daughter
The House of Hanover
Under the Act of Settlement 1701, descendants of Sophia of Hanover, as the closest Protestant relatives of Anne, became entitled to the throne, and the Royal House name was changed when George, Elector of Hanover became King.
George I 1714-1727 James I's great-grandson
George II 1727-1760 George I's son
George III 1760-1801 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
Name Reign Notes
George III 1801-1820 George II's grandson
George IV 1820-1830 George III's son
William IV 1830-1837 George III's son
Victoria 1837-1901 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, also she herself remained a member of the House of Hanover.
Edward VII 1901-1910 Victoria's son
George V 1910-1917 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 1917-1927 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
Name Reign Notes
George V 1927-1936 Edward VII's son
Edward VIII 1936 George V's son
George VI 1936-1952 George V's son
Elizabeth II 1952- George VI's daughter



Lady Jane Grey ruled for 9 days in 1553 but was deposed by Mary I.


A useful rhyme for memorising the names of the English and UK monarchs since the Norman Conquest in chronological order:
Willy Willy Harry Steve,
Henry Dick John Henry three;
Then three Edwards Richard two,
Henry Four, Five Six then who?
Edward four five, Dick the bad,
Two more Henries, Ned the lad;
Bloody Mary she came next,
Then we have our Good Queen Bess.
From Scotland we got James the Vain;
Charlie one, two, James again.
William and Mary, Anna Gloria,
Four Georges, William, and Victoria.
Edward, George, the same again,
Now Elizabeth - and the end.

A popular variation

Willy, Willy, Harry, Steve,
Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three;
One, two, three Neds, Richard Two,
Harries Four Five Six, then who?
Edwards Four Five, Dick the Bad,
Harries (twain) Ned Six (the lad);
Mary, Bessie, James ye ken,
Then Charlie, Charlie, James again
Will and Mary, Anna Gloria
Georges four, Will Fourth, Victoria
Edward Seven next, and then
Came George the Fifth in nineteen ten
Ned the Eighth soon abdicated
Then George the Sixth was coronated
After which Elizabeth
And that's all folks until her death

The above version was featured in part in the movie King Ralph.

(Compare with Chinese history mnemonics.)

See also

Last updated: 06-01-2005 23:27:12
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