HOME HISTORY List of English Monarchs

LIST OF ENGLISH MONARCHS

A chronological list of monarchs of the Kingom of England

Traditionally, the Kingdom of England is considered to begin with Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, one of the petty kingdoms to rule the southeastern portion of Great Britain. While Alfred 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.

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. 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.

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 (and French following 1429) monarchs have borne this title.

English kings under the Crown of France

By the later part of the 15th century, the Kingdom of England had become subservient to the grander French throne, and a pseudo-viceroyalty was established in London. A family member (usually the first- or second-born son) was entitled Regent of the English throne for the next three centuries until its unification with the Crown of Scotland in 1773; however, the monarch of the Crown of France (of which the kingdom was a significant part) retained full power over the affairs of the kingdom regardless of the regent's decisions.

HOUSE OF WESSEX

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Alfred the Great
871 – 26 October 899
son of Æthelwulf, King of Wessex
first King of the Anglo-Saxons
c. 849 Ealhswith 5 26 October 899
aged about 55
Edward the Elder
26 October 899 – 17 July 924
son of Alfred the Great
appointment
c. 874–877 (1) Ecgwyn 2 17 July 924
aged about 46–50
(2) Ælfflæd 8
(3) Eadgifu 4
Disputed claimant

There is some evidence that Ælfweard of Wessex may have been king for four weeks in 924, between his father Edward the Elder and his brother Æthelstan, although he was not crowned. However, this is not accepted by all historians. Also, it is unclear whether Ælfweard was declared king of the whole kingdom or of Wessex only: there is evidence that when Edward died, Ælfweard was declared king in Wessex and Æthelstan in Mercia.

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Ælfweard
July 924 – 3 August 924
son of Edward the Elder
appointed King of Wessex
c. 901 Unmarried 0 3 August 924
murdered aged about 23
name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Æthelstan
924 – 27 October 939
son of Edward the Elder
usurpation
c. 895 Unmarried 0 27 October 939
aged about 44
Edmund I
28 October 939 – 26 May 946
son of Edward the Elder
proximity of blood
c. 921 (1) Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury 2 26 May 946
aged about 25 in Pucklechurch
(2) Æthelflæd of Damerham 0
Eadred
27 May 946 – 23 November 955
son of Edward the Elder
proximity of blood
c. 923 Unmarried 0 23 November 955 (aged about 32)
Eadwig
24 November 955 – 1 October 959
son of Edmund I
proximity of blood
c. 940 Ælfgifu 0 1 October 959 (aged about 19)
Edgar the Peaceful
2 October 959 – 8 July 975
son of Edmund I
proximity of blood
7 August 943 (in Wessex) (1) Æthelflæd 1 8 July 975 (aged 31)
(2) Ælfthryth 2
Edward the Martyr
9 July 975 – 18 March 978
son of Edgar the Peaceful
proximity of blood
c. 962 Unmarried 0 18 March 978 (murdered aged about 16)
Æthelred the Unready
19 March 978 – 25 December 1013 (deposed)
son of Edgar the Peaceful
proximity of blood
c. 968 (1) Ælfgifu of York 9 23 April 1016 (aged about 54)
(2) Emma of Normandy 3

HOUSE OF KNÝTLINGA

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 + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Sweyn Forkbeard
25 December 1013 – 3 February 1014
son of Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark
right of conquest
c. 960 (in Denmark) (1) Gunhild of Wenden 7 3 February 1014 (aged about 54)
(2) Sigrid the Haughty 1

HOUSE OF WESSEX FIRST RESTORATION

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Æthelred the Unready
3 February 1014 – 23 April 1016 (continued)
son of Edgar the Peaceful
restoration by proclamation
c. 968 (1) Ælfgifu of York 9 23 April 1016 (aged about 54)
(2) Emma of Normandy 3
Edmund II Ironside
24 April 1016 – 30 November 1016
son of Æthelred the Unready
proximity of blood
c. 990 Edith of East Anglia 2 30 November 1016 (aged about 26)

HOUSE OF KNÝTLINGA FIRST RESTORATION

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

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Canute the Great
18 October 1016 – 12 November 1035
son of Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark
invasion
c. 995 (1) Ælfgifu of Northampton 2 12 November 1035 (aged about 40)
(2) Emma of Normandy 2
Harold Harefoot
13 November 1035 – 17 March 1040
son of Canute, King of Denmark
appointment by king
c. 1016 Ælfgifu 1 17 March 1040 (aged about 24)
Harthacanute
17 March 1040 – 8 June 1042
son of Canute, King of Denmark
proximity of blood
c. 1018 Unmarried 0 8 June 1042 (aged about 24)

HOUSE OF WESSEX SECOND RESTORATION

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

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Edward the Confessor
9 June 1042 – 5 January 1066
son of Æthelred the Unready
proximity of blood
c. 1003 (in Oxfordshire, England) Edith of Wessex 0 5 January 1066 (aged 62)
Harold II Godwinson
6 January 1066 – 14 October 1066
son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex
appointment by king
c. 1022 (1) Edith Swannesha 6 14 October 1066 (died in battle aged 44)
(2) Edith of Mercia 2

HOUSE OF NORMANDY

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 William II, Duke 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 + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
William I the Conqueror
25 December 1066 – 9 September 1087
son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy
right of conquest
c. 1028
in Falaise, France
Matilda of Flanders 10 9 September 1087
aged 59 in Rouen, France
William II Rufus
26 September 1087 – 2 August 1100
son of William I
appointment
c. 1058
in Normandy, France
Unmarried 0 2 August 1100
aged 42 in the New Forest, England
Henry I Beauclerc
5 August 1100 – 1 December 1135
son of William I
seizure of crown
September 1068
in Yorkshire, England
(1) Matilda of Scotland 4 1 December 1135
aged 67 in Lyons-la-Forêt, France
(2) Adeliza of Louvain 0

HOUSE OF BLOIS

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 + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Stephen of Blois
22 December 1135 – 25 October 1154
son of Stephen II, Count of Blois
usurpation
c. 1096
in Blois, France
Matilda of Boulogne 5 25 October 1154
aged about 58 in Dover, England
Disputed claimant

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. The Anarchy ensued, with Matilda being a de facto ruler for a few months in 1141—the first woman so to be—but she was never crowned and is rarely listed as a monarch of England.

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Matilda the Empress
7 April 1141 – 1 November 1141
daughter of Henry I
seizure of crown
7 February 1102
in Oxfordshire, England
(1) Henry V, Emperor 0 10 September 1167
aged 65 in Rouen, France
(2) Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou 3

Eustace IV, Count 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 22, during his father's lifetime, and so never became king in his own right.

HOUSE OF ANJOU

Stephen came to an agreement with Matilda in November 1153 with the signing of the Treaty of Wallingford, where Stephen recognised Prince Henry, son of Matilda and her second husband Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, as the heir-apparent to the throne in lieu of his own son, who had died that August. 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. The latter has never been used in any official capacity.

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.

Dieu et mon droit has generally been used as the motto of English monarchs since being adopted by Edward III, 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.

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Henry II Curtmantle
19 December 1154 – 6 July 1189
son of Geoffrey V, Count of Anjoy
Treaty of Wallingford
5 March 1133
in Le Mans, France
Eleanor of Aquitaine 8 6 July 1189
aged 56 in Chinon, France
Richard I the Lionheart
3 September 1189 – 6 April 1199
son of Henry II
primogeniture
8 September 1157
in Oxfordshire, England
Berengaria of Navarre 0 6 April 1199
aged 41 in Châlus, France
John Lackland
6 April 1199 – 19 October 1216
son of Henry II
proximity of blood
24 December 1166
in Oxfordshire, England
(1) Isabel of Gloucester 0 19 October 1216
aged 49 in Newark-on-Trent, England
(2) Isabella of Angoulême 5
Disputed claimant

The future 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 + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Louis the Lion
1216 – 22 September 1217
son of Philip II
parliamentary invitation
5 September 1187
in Paris, France
Blanche of Castile 13 8 November 1226
aged 39 in Château de Montpensier, France
name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Henry III of Winchester
28 October 1216 – 16 November 1272
son of John
primogeniture
1 October 1207
in Winchester, England
Eleanor of Provence 5 16 November 1272
aged 65 in Westminster, England
Edward I Longshanks
20 November 1272 – 7 July 1307
son of Henry III
primogeniture
17 June 1239
in Westminster, England
(1) Eleanor of Castile 16 7 July 1307
aged 68 in Burgh by Sands
(2) Margaret of France 3
Edward II of Caenarfon
7 July 1307 – 25 January 1327
son of Edward I
primogeniture
25 April 1284
in Caenarfon, Wales
Isabella of France 5 21 September 1327
murdered aged 43 in Berkeley, England
Edward III of England
25 January 1327 – 21 June 1377
son of Edward II
primogeniture
13 November 1312
in Windsor, England
Philippa of Hainault 14 21 June 1377
aged 64 in London, England
Richard II of Bordeaux
21 June 1377 – 29 September 1399
grandson of Edward III
primogeniture
6 January 1367
in Bordeaux, Aquitaine
(1) Anne of Bohemia 0 14 February 1400
aged 33 in Wakefield, England
(2) Isabella of Valois 0

HOUSE OF LANCASTER

This family 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).

The family is more well-known for their success against the Valois of France in becoming the Kings of France in 1429, and expanding into Outremer and the south of Spain during the mid-15th century.

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Henry IV of Bolingbroke
30 September 1399 – 20 March 1413
son of John of Gaunt
usurpation with peerage support
3 April 1367
in Lincolnshire, England
(1) Mary de Bohun 7 20 March 1413
aged 45 in Westminster, England
(2) Isabella of Navarre 0
Henry V the Victorious, the Pious
20 March 1413 – 12 October 1444
son of Henry IV
primogeniture
9 August 1387
in Monmouth, Wales
Catherine of Valois 5 12 October 1444
aged 55 in Paris, France
Henry VI the Idle
12 October 1444 – 1449
son of Henry V
primogeniture
6 December 1421
in Orléans, France
Alice of Anjou 2 1449
aged 28
Edward IV the Mighty
1449 – 21 August 1483
son of Henry V
usurpation with peerage support
8 February 1426
in Paris, France
Isabella of Bruges 7 21 August 1483
aged 57
Arthur I Longbow
21 August 1483 – 30 May 1518
grandson of Edward IV
primogeniture
29 October 1482
in Marseille, France
Lucrezia Borgia 5 30 May 1518
died in battle aged 36 in Naples
Geoffrey I the Young Lion
30 May 1518 – 25 March 1529
son of Arthur I
primogeniture
1509
in Paris, France
Unmarried 0 25 March 1529
murdered aged 20 in Paris, France

HOUSE OF ROUEN

Henry III's eldest son, Henry of Caen, was robbed of the monarchy in 1449 upon the untimely death of his father, and rewarded instead with the powerful Duchy of Normandy as well as suzerainty over Poitou. But he did not forget his claim to the kingdoms, and over the course of the next two generations worked to reclaim them.

The perfect opportunity presented itself when the powerful earls of Kent and Winchester, along with support from the duke of York, declared themselves independent of the Angevin monarchy. William II, 2nd Duke of Normandy, delivered a crippling strike against the young king Geoffrey in 1429, seizing the city of Paris and the king in one stroke. Already embroiled in civil war, a succession crisis erupted out of William's actions.

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
William III the Patient
25 March 1529 – 8 May 1543
great-grandsom of Henry VI
seizure of crown
9 October 1474
in Rouen, France
Blanche of Provence 8 1543
aged 69 in Paris, France
Disputed claimant

Late in March of 1529, Geoffrey was murdered on the orders of William, Duke of Normandy. With the dual-monarchy already embroiled in civil war, the young Arthur was supposedly proclaimed king by his uncle, the Duke of Bedford. With a small base of power in England, he was able to secure the loyalties of many on the island and in the south of France. However, he was never made king, and was murdered late in summer.

name + reign right to succession birth marriage issue death
Arthur Louis
25 March 1529 – 19 August 1529
son of Arthur I
disputed primogeniture
1511
in Paris, France
Unmarried 0 19 August 1529
aged 18 in London, England
Lilies & Lions
and the temperature is