The sovereigns of England : pre-conquest
The monarchs of Great Britain
Early kings in Ireland
The princes of Wales
In modern times, we are used to being led by politicians who have been elected to power, who have some contraints put to the amount of power they can exercise, and who are themselves subject (to some extent at least) to the Rule of Law. It was not always so. At one stage in England, not least after Henry VIII took over as Head of the Church, the status of the Monarch reached almost that of a deity, someone whose word was effectively Law. For most of the last thousand years, however, the powers that the Kings & Queens were actually able to use depended on their individual personalities & talents, on what other personalities were around, and on the circumstances of the time. When one of Henry VIII’s successors overplayed his hand, it led to rebellion & revolution.
There are some significant differences between the historical roles of the Sovereign in (post Conquest) England and the roles in Scotland and (before the imposition of English rule) Ireland. Having originally derived their powers by conquest, the Kings & Queens of England owned the country and everything in it, including the people. This gave them what was...