List of monarchs in the British Isles

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Monarchs of Great Britain

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:

  • The Kingdom of Scotland, from 843 up to 1707;
  • The Kingdom of England, from 871 (including Wales from the Act of Union 1536- 1543) up to 1707;
  • The Lordship of Ireland, from 1199 up to 1541;
  • The Kingdom of Ireland, from 1541 up to 1801;
  • The Kingdom of Great Britain, from the Acts of Union, 1707, between England and Scotland, up to 1801;
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from the Act of Union, 1801, between Great Britain and Ireland, up to 1927;
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (The UK after the Irish Free State was formed and became a separate state).

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

  • Kings of the Britons
  • Mythical British Kings
  • Rulers of Wales
  • Kings of the Picts
  • Kings of Dál Riata
  • Kings of Strathclyde
  • Kings of the Isle of Man and the Isles
  • Kings of the Isle of Man
  • Kings of East Anglia
  • Kings of Essex
  • Kings of Kent
  • Kings of Sussex
  • Kings of Wessex
  • Kings of Mercia
  • Kings of Northumbria
  • High Kings of Ireland

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.
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.

  • In 1328, on the death of the French king, Charles IV, Edward III (nephew of Charles IV) claimed the French throne. English monarchs, and subsequently British monarchs, then styled themselves King of France or Queen of France until the Act of Union 1800, which led to the creation of the United Kingdom in 1801. By then France had been a republic for ten years. (See English claims to the French throne.)
  • Since 1559 English monarchs, and subsequently British monarchs, have also had the title Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
  • 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 . 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.
  • Similarly, though most of Ireland ceased to be part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when it became the Irish Free State in 1922, neither the full name of the United Kingdom nor the royal title were changed until the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927. In this instance historians generally retrospectively date the coming into being of the modern United Kingdom to December 1922, even though in this case the formal change did not occur for another five years.


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 871– 899 Recognised as leader of all free Englishmen under the Treaty of Wedmore, 878
Edward the Elder 899– 924 Alfred's son
Ælfweard 924 Edward's son, king of Wessex only
Athelstan 924– 939 Edward's son, the first de facto king of all England
Edmund I 939– 946 Edward's son
Edred 946– 955 Edward's son
Edwy the Fair 955– 959 Edmund's son
Edgar the Peaceable 959– 975 Edmund's son
St Edward the Martyr 975– 978 Edgar's son
Ethelred the Unready 978– 1013
1014– 1016
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 1013– 1014  
Canute 1016– 1035 Sweyn's son
Harold Harefoot 1035– 1040 Canute's son
Harthacanute 1040– 1042 Canute's son
The West Saxon Restoration
St Edward the Confessor 1042– 1066 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 1066– 1087 Distant kinsman of Alfred the Great
William II, Rufus 1087– 1100 William I's son, descendant of Alfred the Great
Henry I 1100– 1135 William I's son, descendant of Alfred the Great
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, Edmund Ironside's great-great-granddaughter
Henry II 1154– 1189 Matilda's son
Richard I, the 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
Louis of France 1216– 1217 descendant of Alfred the Great; husband of John's niece
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
1470– 1471
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
1471– 1483
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-great-grandson
Henry VIII 1509– 1547 Henry VII's son, Edward IV's grandson
Edward VI 1547– 1553 Henry VIII's son
Jane 1553 Henry VII's great-granddaughter. Not generally noted as officially queen
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
Áed 877– 878 Kenneth I's son
Eochaid 878– 889 Áed's nephew
Jointly with Giric ?
Giric 878– 889 Áed's first cousin ?
Donald II 889– 900 Constantine I's son
Constantine II 900– 943 Áed's son
Malcolm I 943– 954 Donald II's son
Indulf 954– 962 Constantine II's son
Dub 962– 966 Malcolm I's son
Cuilén 966– 971 Indulf's son
Kenneth II 971–? Malcolm I's son
Amlaíb ?– 977 Indulf's son
Kenneth II 977– 995 2nd reign
Constantine III 995– 997 Cuilén's son
Kenneth III 997– 1005 Dub's son
Malcolm II 1005– 1034 Kenneth II's son
Duncan I 1034– 1040 Malcolm II's grandson
Macbeth 1040– 1057 Kenneth III's granddaughter's husband
Lulach 1057– 1058 Kenneth III's great-grandson, Macbeth's step-son and cousin
The House of Dunkeld
Malcolm III 1058– 1093 Duncan I's son
Donald III 1093– 1094
1094– 1097
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, 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 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– 1336 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 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 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)
1603– 1625 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 1625– 1649 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 1653– 1658  
Richard Cromwell 1658– 1659 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 1660– 1685 England
1649- 1651 and 1660– 1685 Scotland
( 1649– 1685 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)
1685– 1689 Charles I's younger son
Mary II 1689– 1694 James II's elder daughter
Joint sovereign with her husband, William III, II and I
William III (England)
William II (Scotland)
William I (Ireland)
1689– 1702 Charles I's grandson
Jointly with his wife, Mary II
Anne 1702– 1707
(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 1707– 1714
(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 1714– 1727 James I's great-grandson
George II 1727– 1760 George I's son
George III 1760– 1801
(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 1801– 1820
(full reign: 1760–1820)
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, but she herself remained a member of the House of Hanover.
Edward VII 1901– 1910 Victoria's son
George V 1910– 1917
(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 1917– 1927
(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 1927– 1936
(full reign: 1910–1936)
Edward VII's son
Edward VIII 1936 George V's son; abdicated
George VI 1936– 1952 George V's son
Elizabeth II 6 February 1952- George VI's daughter; also queen of 31 other sovereign kingdoms.
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