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The Rulers of England
Rulers of England; rulers of Wales after 1284 and Scotland after 1603.

More of this Feature
Britain: Leading Statesmen

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Reference Section
Kings & Queens

When the Roman Empire declined power and territory passed - by conquest, by law, by ancestral claim or by simple accident - into the hands of local warleaders, nobles and bishoprics. In southern Britain, a number of competing Saxon kingdoms emerged, while Scandinavian invaders created administrative regions of their own. Between the ninth and tenth centuries the kings of Wessex evolved into the kings of the English, crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Consequently, no one is universally recognised as the first King of England. Some historians start with Egbert, the king of Wessex whose overlordship of the Saxons led visibly to the growth of an English crown, even though his immediate inheritors were still only crowned heads of smaller kingdoms. Other writers commence with Athelstan, the first man to be crowned King of the English. Egbert has been included below, but his position is clearly marked.

Entries marked by italics were uncrowned and are not universally recognised; indeed, Louis is almost universally ignored, so be careful when citing them in your work. All kings and queens unless noted.

Kings of Wessex
Egbert (802-39, from 829 bretwalda/overlord)
Athelwolf (839-55)
Athelbald (855-860)
Athelbert (860-65/66)
Athelred I (865/5-871)
Alfred, the Great (871-99)
Edward the Elder (899-924)
Elfweard (924, uncrowned, ruled 16 days)

Kings of the English/England
Athelstan (924-39, First named King of the English)
Edmund I, the Magnificent (939-46)
Eadred (946-55)
Eadwig/Edwy, All-Fair (955-59)
Edgar, the Peaceable (959-75, First Crowned King of the English)
Edward, the Martyr (975-78)
Aethelred II, the Unready (978-1013, deposed)
Swein/Sven/Sweyn, Forkbeard (1013-14)
Aethelred II, the Unready (restored, 1014-16)
Edmund II, Ironside (1016)
Cnut/Canute, the Great (1016-35)
Harthacanute (1035-37, deposed)
Harold, Harefoot (1037-40)
Harthacanute (restored, 1040-42)
Edward I, the Confessor (1042-66)
Harold II (1066)
Edgar, The Atheling (1066, uncrowned)
House of Normandy
William I, the Conqueror (1066-87)
William II, Rufus (1087-1100)
Henry I (1100-35)
Stephen (1135-54, deposed and restored 1141)
Matilda, Empress of Germany (1141, uncrowned)
House of Anjou/Plantagenet/Angevin Line
Henry II, (1154-89)
Richard I, Lionheart (1189-99)
John, Lackland (1199-1216)
Louis (1216-1217)
Henry III (1216-72)
Edward I, Longshanks (1272-1307)
Edward II (1307-27, abdicated)
Edward III (1327-77)
Richard II (1377-99, abdicated)
Henry IV, Bolingbroke (1399-1413)
Henry V (1413-22)
Henry VI (1422-61, desposed, 1470-1, deposed)
Edward IV (1461-70, deposed, 1471-83)
Edward V (1483, deposed, uncrowned)
Richard III , Crookback (1483-5)
House of Tudor
Henry VII Tudor (1485-1509)
Henry VIII (1509-47)
Edward VI (1547-53)
Lady Jane Grey (1553, deposed after 9 days)
Mary I, Bloody Mary (1553-58)
Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
House of Stuart
James I (1603-25)
Charles I (1625-49, executed by Parliament)
The Protectorate (No Monarch)
Oliver Cromwell (1649-58, Lord Protector)
Richard Cromwell (1658-59, Lord Protector)
House of Stuart
Charles II (1660-85)
James II (1685-88, deposed)
House of Orange and Stuart
William III (1689-1702) and Mary II (1689-1694)
House of Stuart
Anne (1702-14)
House of Brunswick, Hanover Line
George I (1714-27)
George II (1727-60)
George III, Farmer George (1760-1820)
George IV (1820-30)
William IV, The Sailor King (1830-37)
Victoria (1837-1901)
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Edward VII (1901-10)
House of Windsor
George V (1910-36)
Edward VIII (1936, uncrowned)
George VI (1936-52)
Elizabeth II (1952- )

Notable Pretenders
Eustace (1152-53)
Lambert Simnel, impersonated Edward V, then claimed to be Edward VI (1487)
Perkin Warbeck, impersonated Edward V, then claimed to be Richard IV (1494-1499)
James III, The Old Pretender (1701-66)
Charles III, Bonnie Prince Charlie/The Young Pretender (1766-1788)
Henry IX (1788-1807, never pursued claim)

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