The sovereigns of England : post-Conquest

Willie Willie Harry Stee
Harry Dick John Harry3
1 2 3 Neds Richard2
Henry 4 5 6 then who?
Edward 4 5 Dick-the-bad
Harry twice then Ned-the-lad
Mary Bess James-the-vain
Charlie Charlie James again
William & Mary Anna-Gloria
4 Georges William Victoria
Ed George Ed George once more
Now its Beth whom we adore.

Except when Stephen grabbed the throne in place of Matilda, the heir to England’s throne was normally decided by the rules of primogeniture which meant that the heir was the eldest son or, if there was no son, the eldest daughter or, if there was no daugher, the most senior relative on a collateral line. However, as shown in the following list, there were exceptions.

Commenced reign
Age
Years
Birth-Death
Relationship with predecessor & Notes
note 1
note 2
House of Normandy
William I ‘the Conqueror’
25.12.1066
c41
20+
1027-1087
Conqueror
William II ‘Rufus’
09.09.1087
30
13-
1056-1100
Son
Henry I ‘Beauclerk’
02.08.1100
c32
35+
1068-1135
Brother
.
House of Blois
Stephen
01.12.1135
c31
19-
1104-1154
Nephew – Supported by many barons against his cousin Matilda, dau of Henry I, but Matilda’s son succeeded (not his own) – see note 3 below
.
House of Anjou – ‘the Plantagenets’
Henry II
25.10.1154
21
34+
1133-1189
Cousin (1st, removed) – Grandson of Henry I
Richard I ‘Coeur de Lion’
06.07.1189
c32
9+
1157-1199
Son
John ‘Lackland’
06.04.1199
c32
17+
1166-1216
Brother – see note 4 below
Henry III
19.10.1216
9
56+
1207-1272
Son
Edward I ‘Longshanks’
16.11.1272
33
34+
1239-1307
Son
Edward II
07.07.1307
23
19+
1284-1327
Son – Deposed by Parliament / Abdicated
Edward III
07.01.1327
14
50+
1312-1377
Son
Richard II
21.06.1377
10
22+
1367-1400
Son – Deposed by Parliament
Henry IV ‘Bolingbroke’
13.10.1399
32
c13
1366-1413
Cousin – Usurper
Henry V
20.03.1412/3
25
9+
1387-1422
Son
Henry VI
31.08.1422
infant
c38
1421-1471
Son – Deposed – Returned to throne 1470-1 – Deposed
Edward IV
28.06.1461
19-
c21
1441-1483
Distant cousin – Conqueror – Deposed for a time by Henry VI
Edward V
09.04.1483
12
-
1470-1483
Son – Murdered in the Tower
Richard III
23.06.1483
30
2+
1450-1485
Uncle – Defeated in battle (Bosworth)
.
House of Tudor
Henry VII
22.08.1485
28
23+
1455-1509
Distant cousin – Conqueror
Henry VIII
21.04.1509
17
c38
1491-1547
Son
Edward VI
28.01.1546/7
9
6+
1537-1553
Son
Mary I
06.07.1553
37
5+
1515-1553
Half-sister – see note 5 below
Elizabeth I
17.11.1558
25
43+
1533-1603
Half-sister
.
House of Stuart
James I
24.03.1602/3
36
22
1566-1625
1st cousin twice removed
Charles I
27.03.1625
24
24-
1600-1649
Son – Deposed by Parliament
Republican status
30.01.1648/9
.
.
1649-1660
Charles II
1649/60
c30
24+
1630-1685
Son
James II
06.02.1684/5
51
24+
1633-1701
Brother – Deposed by Parliament
inter-regnum
11.12.1688
.
.
.
see note 6 below
{ Mary II
{ 13.02.1688/9
26
6+
1662-1694
Daughter – see note 7 below
{ William III ‘of Orange’
{ 13.02.1688/9
38
24+
1650-1702
Husband of Mary II & Nephew of James II
Anne
08.03.1702
37
12+
1665-1714
Sister of Mary II – see note 8 below

 

1. The dates of commencement are shown as the date on which the monarch’s predecessor died except for:
– William the Conqueror, whose commencement date is shown as the date he was crowned.
– Edward III, whose commencement date is shown as the date he was proclaimed King by Parliament (his father was murdered on 21.09.1327).
– Henry IV, whose commencement date is shown as the date he was crowned.
– Edward IV, whose commencement date is shown as the date he was crowned.
– Charles II, whose date shows the alternatives between the year his father was executed and the year Charles returned to England. The date of his Restoration is normally deemed to be 30.01.1649. He was crowned on 23.04.1661.
– Mary II & William III whose commencement dates are shown as the date they were crowned.Some dates are shown using the convention OS/NS in respect of the change of New Years Day. See here for information on that convention.
2. Approximate age when the reign commenced. Some of these ages/dates are approximate as different sources given their dates differently.
3. The above list omits Matilda (1102-10.09.1167), daughter of Henry I, who was dispossessed by Stephen. Often referred to as ‘the Empress’ because of her first marriage which was to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry (V), by whom she had no surviving issue, her second husband was Geoffrey ‘Plantagenet’ of Anjou by whom she had 3 sons. She expected to become Queen of England when her father died but her cousin Stephen, who was not even the eldest son of her aunt, usurped the throne largely on the grounds that England needed a strong King rather than a Queen. A civil war errupted and Matilda did obtain control of the kingdom for some months in 1141 but Stephen soon regained control. His reign was rarely secure and he was persuaded to confirm Matilda’s eldest son Henry as his successor.
4. The above list omits Prince Louis, later King Louis VIII of France. With the help of various barons who rebelled against King John following his disavowal of the Magna Carta, Louis invaded England in 1216 and was proclaimed King by many, though he was never crowned. When King John died soonafter, some of the barons switched their allegiance to John’s young son Henry and the rebellion collapsed. By signing theTreaty of Lambeth, Louis gave up his claim to have ever been King of England.
5. The above list omits Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554) on whose behalf a claim for the crown was made after the death of her distant cousin, Edward VI, on 06.07.1553. Some view her as Queen for the 13 days after that date but she is more frequently called the ‘9 day Queen’ as the claim was first made on 10.07.1553. Her claim was effectively rejected on 19.07.1553 when Mary made a triumphant procession into London. Jane was executed on 12.02.1554.
6. The above ignores the claims to the throne of James ‘the Old Pretender’, son of James II, and of his son Charles. Parliament deemed James II to have vacated his throne in December 1688 thereby removing his descendants’ right to claim the throne as of right. Parliament invited the Pretender’s half-sister Mary and her husband William to take the throne, leaving aside the Pretender because of his religion.
7. Mary, born a Stuart, married William of Orange so her joint reign with him is often shown as of the House of Orange. However, the reign of their successor Anne, Mary’s sister who married George, Prince of Denmark, is not normally referred to as of the House of Denmark. For simplicity & convenience, we show them all as continuing the House of Stuart.
8. The parliaments of England & Scotland united in 1707, during the reign of Queen Anne. The Monarchs of Great Britain will be shown separately.

 

Written by on the 26th February 2014.

Peter is the founder & proprietor of Stirnet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.