Collection of Benjamin Weiss
CHRONOLOGY OF BRITAINS KINGS AND QUEENS
Based on elaborate burial sites, there likely were rulers in Britain as long as 4700 years ago. More definitive proofs of kings in Britain derive from the Romans 2000-year-old accounts of contemporary rulers of Iron Age British tribes. These were migrants from mainland Europe who spoke Celtic tongues akin to modern Gaelic, Irish, and Welsh. The major Celtic British tribes were the Atrebates, Briganetes, Catuvellauni, Iceni and Regni. Roman emperors, including Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Septimius Severus, and Romano-British rulers governed Britain until formal Roman rule in Britain collapsed. In the early Dark Ages (around AD 450), invaders from what are now the Netherlands, Germany, France and Denmark gradually drove British rulers out of England. These invaders are now collectively called Anglo-Saxons or English. Seven major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the so-called Heptarchy of East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Mercia, Northumbria, Sussex and Wessex came to dominate the region. In addition to the Anglo-Saxon Monarchies, there were Welsh Kings and Princes, Irish Kings, and Kings and Queens of Scotland. Each of these kingdoms was governed by a king, with power generally transferred through family relationships. These kings rules their individual kingdoms until 1066 when William II, the 7th Duke of Normandy, invaded Britain and founded the House of Normandy.
Kings of Kent
Hengest (reigned about 455-488)
Aesc (Oisc) (reigned about 488-512)
Octa (reigned about 512-540)
Eormenric (reigned about 540-560)
Ethelbert (Aethelbert) I (reigned about 560-616)
Eadbald (reigned 616-640)
Earconbert (reigned 640-664)
Egbert (Ecgberht) I (reigned 664-673)
Hlothere (reigned 673-685)
Eadric (reigned 685- about 687)
Oswini (reigned 688-690, jointly with Suaebhard)
Wihtred (reigned 690-725, jointly with Suaebhard to 692)
Ethelbert (Aethelberht) II (reigned 725-762, jointly with Eadbert I 725-748 and with Alric and Eardwulf from about 747)
Egbert (Ecgberht) II (reigned about 765-780)
Ealhmund (subking under Offa of Mercia 784)
Eadbert II Praen (reigned 796-798)
Egbert (Ecgberht) III
Kings of Sussex
Ethelwalh (reigned before 685)
Cadwalla (Caedwalla) of Wessex (ca. 686-688)
Nunna (ca. 710-725)
Aldwuf (ca. 765)
Osmund (ca. 765-770)
Kings of Essex
Aesewine (ca. 527-587)
Sledda (ca. 587-604)
Saebert (ca. 604-616)
Sigeberht I the Little (ca. 617-653)
Sigeberht II the Good (ca. 653-660)
Swithhelm (ca. 660-665)
Sighere (Sigheard) (ca. 665-683)
Sebbi (Sebbe) (ca. 665-695, then jointly with his nephew Sighere to about 683)
Sigeheard (ca. 695-709, jointly with his brother Swafred)
Kings of East Anglia
Wuffa (ca. 571-578)
Tytila (ca. 578-593)
Redwald (Raewald) (ca. 593-617)
Eorpwald (Earpwald) (ca. 617-627)
Sigeberht (Siegeberht) (ca. 631-634)
Ecgric (ca. 634-635)
Anna (ca. 633-654)
Ethelhere (Aethelhere) (654)
Ethelwold (Aethelwald) (ca. 654-663)
Aelfwald (Alfwold ) (713-749)
Hun Beonna (ca. 749)
(St) Ethelbert (792)
Athelstan I (ca. 828-837)
Ethelweard (ca. 837-850)
(St) Edmund (Eadmund (ca. 855-870)
Kings of Mercia
Creoda (ca. 585-593)
Pybba (ca. 593-606)
Ceorl (ca. 606-626)
Ethelred (Aethelred) (675-704)
Ethelbald (Aethelbald) (716-757)
Ceolwulf I (821-823)
Ludeca (Ludecan) (827)
Beorhtwulf (Berthulf ) (840-852)
Ceolwulf II (874-ca. 880)
Kings of Northumbria
Ethelfrith (Aethelfrith) (ca. 592-616)
(St) Oswald I (634-641)
Oswy (Oswin ) (641-670)
Aldfrith (Alfrid) (685-704)
Ethelwald Moll (759-775)
Alchred (Alhred (765-774)
Ethelred (Aethelred) I (774-778)
Elfwald I (778-788)
Osred II (788-790)
Eardwulf (796-807/8 and 809)
Elfwald II (808/9)
Ethelred II (841-850)
Ella (Aella) (863-867)
Egbert I (867-872)
Egbert II (876-878)
Kings of Wessex
Cenwalh (Cenwedh) (643-672)
Seaxburgh (ca. 672-674)
Ethelheard (Aethelheard) (726-740)
Egbert (Ecgberht) (802-839)
Ethelwulf (Aethelwulf) (839-858)
Ethelbert (Aethelbert) (860-865)
Saint Ethelred (Aethelred) I (865-871)
Alfred (Aelfred) the Great (871-899)
Edward (Aedweard) the Elder (899-924)
Kings of England
Athelstan (Aethelstan, Ethelstan) (924-940)
Edmund (Eadmund) the Elder (940-946)
Edred (Eadred) (946-955)
Edwy (Eadwig) the Fair (955-959)
Edgar (Eadgar) the Peaceful (959-975)
(St) Edward (Eadweard) II the Martyr (975-978)
Ethelred (Aethelred) II the Unready (978-1016)
Edmund (Eadmund) II Ironside (April-November 1016)
Canute the Great (1016-1035) (Danish King of England)
Harold Harefoot (1037-1040) (Danish King of England)
Hardicanute (1040-1042) (Danish King of England)
Saint Edward the Confessor (1042-1066)
Harold II (January-October 1066)
WELSH KINGS AND PRINCES
SCOTTISH KINGS AND QUEENS
British Kings of Strathclyde (ca. 450-1018)
Kings of the Picts (ca. 556-848)
The House of Fergus and Loarn (843-1058)
The House of Dunkeld (1058-1371)
The House of Stewart (1371-1567)
Robert II (1371-1390)
Robert III (1390-1406)
James I (1406-1437)
James II (1437-1460)
James III (1460-1488)
James IV (1488-1513)
James V (1513-1542)
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1567)
KINGS AND QUEENS OF ENGLAND
The Houses of Normandy and
Named after Normandy, a region of Northwest France. William II, 7th Duke of Normandy, founded this dynasty by killing Harold II to become William I of England.
William I (The Conqueror) (1066-1087)
William II (Rufus) (1087-1100)
Henry I (Beauclerc) (1100-1135)
The House of Plantagenet
Named after Geoffrey Plantagenet. Plantagenet is derived from Planta genista, the Latin name for "broom"
Richard I (The Lionheart) (Coeur de Lion) (1189-1199)
John (Lackland) (1199-1216)
Henry III (1216-1272)
Edward I (Longshanks) (1272-1307)
Edward II (Of Caernarvon) (1307-1327)
Edward III (Of Windsor) (1327-1377)
Richard II (Of Bordeaux) (1377-1399)
The House of Lancaster
Lancaster is a branch of the House of Plantagenet. The First Earl of Lancaster was Edmund "Crouchback", son of Henry III.
(Of Bolingbroke) (1399-1413)
Henry V (Of Monmouth) (1413-1422)
Henry VI (Of Windsor) (1422-1461)
The House of York
York is another branch of the Plantagenets. The House of York was founded by Edmund of Langley, a son of Edward III. Edmunds nephew Richard, Third Duke of York, challenged the Lancastrian king, Henry VI, precipitating the Wars of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster and York.
Edward V (April-June 1483)
Richard III (Crouchback) (1483-1485)
The House of Tudor
Named after Henry Tudor, a Lancastrian who defeated Richard III in the final battle of the War of the Roses.
Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Edward VI (1547-1553)
Mary I (1553-1558)
Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
The House of Stuart
(Before the Restoration)
Named after Henry Stuart (Stewart), Lord Darnley, who became the senior representative of the Tudor dynasty, being the great grandson of Margaret, the eldest daughter of Henry VII.
James I (1603-1625)
Charles I (1625-1649)
Governed by Oliver Cromwell and his army until the Restoration in 1660
The House of Stuart (Following the Restoration)
James II (1685-1688)
William III (1689-1702) and Mary II (1689-1694)
The House of Hanover
Named for the British monarchs who descended from Hanover, Germany. The electors of Hanover succeeded to the British throne under the terms of the Act of Settlement.
George II (1727-1760)
George III (1760-1820)
George IV (1820-1830)
William IV (1830-1837)
The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Named for the German ducal house that became the ruling dynasty of Saxony. It became the English royal house as a result of the marriage of Prince Albert, younger son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to Queen Victoria.
Edward VII (1901-1910)
The House of Windsor
Although Queen Victorias descendants in the male line originally belonged to the German house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, during World War I this German connection proved embarrassing. Accordingly, George V proclaimed that British subjects descended from Victoria in the male line would henceforth take the surname of "Windsor".
Edward VIII (January-December 1936)
George VI (1936-1952)
Elizabeth II (1952- )
HISTORY OF THE BRITISH MONARCHY
What follows is a brief, though more detailed, history of the British Monarchy. It is taken from the British Monarchy web site (with their kind permission).
The history of the English Crown up to the Union of the Crowns in 1603 is long and varied. Until 1603 the English and Scottish Crowns were separate; after this date one monarch reigned in the United Kingdom. The concept of a single ruler unifying different tribes based in England developed in the eighth and ninth centuries in figures such as Offa and Alfred the Great, who began to create centralized systems of government. Following the Norman Conquest, the machinery of government developed further, producing long-lived national institutions including Parliament.
The Middle Ages saw several fierce contests for the Crown, culminating in the Wars of the Roses, which lasted for nearly a century. The conflict was finally ended with the advent of the Tudors, the dynasty which produced some of England's most successful rulers and a flourishing cultural Renaissance. The end of the Tudor line with the death of the 'Virgin Queen' in 1603 brought about the Union of the Crowns with Scotland.
In the Dark Ages during the fifth and sixth centuries, communities of peoples in Britain inhabited homelands with ill-defined borders. Such communities were organised and led by chieftains or kings. Following the final withdrawal of the Roman legions from the provinces of Britannia in around 408 AD these small kingdoms were left to preserve their own order and to deal with invaders and waves of migrant peoples such as the Picts from beyond Hadrian's Wall, the Scots from Ireland and Germanic tribes from the continent. (King Arthur, a larger-than-life figure, has often been cited as a leader of one or more of these kingdoms during this period, although his name now tends to be used as a symbol of British resistance against invasion.)
The invading communities overwhelmed or adapted existing kingdoms and created new ones - for example, the Angles in Mercia and Northumbria. Some British kingdoms initially survived the onslaught, such as Strathclyde, which was wedged in the north between Pictland and the new Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.
By 650 AD, the British Isles were a patchwork of many kingdoms founded from native or immigrant communities and led by powerful chieftains or kings. In their personal feuds and struggles between communities for control and supremacy, a small number of kingdoms became dominant: Bernicia and Deira (which merged to form Northumbria in 651 AD), Lindsey, East Anglia, Mercia, Wessex and Kent. Until the late seventh century, a series of warrior-kings in turn established their own personal authority over other kings, usually won by force or through alliances and often cemented by dynastic marriages.
According to the later chronicler Bede, the most famous of these kings was Ethelberht, king of Kent (reigned c.560-616), who married Bertha, the Christian daughter of the king of Paris, and who became the first English king to be converted to Christianity (St Augustine's mission from the Pope to Britain in 597 during Ethelberht's reign prompted thousands of such conversions). Ethelberht's law code was the first to be written in any Germanic language and included 90 laws. His influence extended both north and south of the river Humber: his nephew became king of the East Saxons and his daughter married king Edwin of Northumbria (died 633).
In the eighth century, smaller kingdoms in the
British Isles continued to fall to more powerful kingdoms, which claimed rights over whole
areas and established temporary primacies: Dalriada in Scotland, Munster and Ulster in
Ireland. In England, Mercia and later Wessex came to dominate, giving rise to the start of
Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period the succession was frequently contested, by both the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and leaders of the settling Scandinavian communities. The Scandinavian influence was to prove strong in the early years. It was the threat of invading Vikings which galvanized English leaders into unifying their forces, and, centuries later, the Normans who successfully invaded in 1066 were themselves the descendants of Scandinavian 'Northmen'.
The Normans came to govern following one of the most famous battles in
English history: the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
From 1066 to 1154 four Norman kings ruled. The Domesday Book, a great record of English land-holding, was published; the forests were extended; the Exchequer was founded; and a start was made on the Tower of London. In religious affairs, the Gregorian reform movement gathered pace and forced concessions, while the machinery of government developed to support the country while Henry was fighting abroad. Meanwhile, the social landscape was altered, as the Norman aristocracy came to prominence. Many of the nobles struggled to keep a hold on both Normandy and England, as divided rule meant the threat of conflict.
This was the case when William the Conqueror died. His eldest son, Robert, became Duke of Normandy, while the next youngest, William, became king of England. Their younger brother Henry would become king on William II's death. The uneasy divide continued until Henry captured and imprisoned his elder brother.
The question of the succession continued to weigh
heavily over the remainder of the period. Henry's son died, and his nominated heir Matilda
was denied the throne by her cousin, Henry's nephew, Stephen. There then followed a period
of civil war. Matilda married Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou, who took control of Normandy.
The duchy was therefore separated from England once again.
A compromise was eventually reached whereby the son of Matilda and Geoffrey would be heir to the English crown, while Stephen's son would inherit his baronial lands. All this meant that in 1154 Henry II would ascend to the throne as the first undisputed king in over 100 years - proof of the dynastic uncertainty of the Norman period.
Henry II, the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet and Henry I's daughter Matilda, was the first in a long line of 14 Plantagenet kings, stretching from Henry II's accession through to Richard III's death in 1485. Within that line, however, four distinct Royal Houses can be identified: Angevin, Plantagenet, Lancaster and York.
The first Angevin King, Henry II, began the period as arguably the most powerful monarch in Europe, with lands stretching from the Scottish borders to the Pyrenees. In addition, Ireland was added to his inheritance, a mission entrusted to him by Pope Adrian IV (the only English Pope). A new administrative zeal was evident at the beginning of the period and an efficient system of government was formulated. The justice system developed. However there were quarrels with the Church, which became more powerful following the murder of Thomas à Becket.
As with many of his predecessors, Henry II spent much of his time away from England fighting abroad. This was taken to an extreme by his son Richard, who spent only 10 months of a ten-year reign in the country due to his involvement in the crusades. The last of the Angevin kings was John, whom history has judged harshly. By 1205, six years into his reign, only a fragment of the vast Angevin empire acquired by Henry II remained. John quarreled with the Pope over the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury, eventually surrendering. He was also forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, which restated the rights of the church, the barons and all in the land. John died in ignominy, having broken the contract, leading the nobles to summon aid from France and creating a precarious position for his heir, Henry III.
The Plantagenet period was dominated by three major conflicts at home
and abroad. Edward I attempted to create a British empire dominated by England, conquering
Wales and pronouncing his eldest son Prince of Wales, and then attacking Scotland.
Scotland was to remain elusive and retain its independence until late in the reign of the
Stuart kings. In the reign of Edward III the Hundred Years War began, a struggle between
England and France. At the end of the Plantagenet period, the reign of Richard II saw the
beginning of the long period of civil feuding known as the War of the Roses. For the next
century, the crown would be disputed by two conflicting family strands, the Lancastrians
and the Yorkists.
The period also saw the development of new social institutions and a distinctive English culture. Parliament emerged and grew, while the judicial reforms begun in the reign of Henry II were continued and completed by Edward I. Culture began to flourish. Three Plantagenet kings were patrons of Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English poetry. During the early part of the period, the architectural style of the Normans gave way to the Gothic, in which style Salisbury Cathedral was built. Westminster Abbey was rebuilt and the majority of English cathedrals remodeled. Franciscan and Dominican orders began to be established in England, while the universities of Oxford and Cambridge had their origins in this period.
Amidst the order of learning and art, however, were disturbing new phenomena. The outbreak of Bubonic plague or the 'Black Death' served to undermine military campaigns and cause huge social turbulence, killing half the country's population. The price rises and labor shortage which resulted led to social unrest, culminating in the Peasants' Revolt in 1381.
The accession of Henry IV sowed the seeds for a period of unrest which ultimately broke out in civil war. Fraught by rebellion and instability after his usurpation of Richard II, Henry IV found it difficult to enforce his rule. His son, Henry V, fared better, defeating France in the famous Battle of Agincourt (1415) and staking a powerful claim to the French throne. Success was short-lived with his early death.
By the reign of the relatively weak Henry VI, civil war broke out between rival claimants to the throne, dating back to the sons of Edward III. The Lancastrian dynasty descended from John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III, whose son Henry deposed the unpopular Richard II. Yorkist claimants such as the Duke of York asserted their legitimate claim to the throne through Edward III's second surviving son, but through a female line. The Wars of the Roses therefore tested whether the succession should keep to the male line or could pass through females.
Captured and briefly restored, Henry VI was captured and put to death, and the Yorkist faction led by Edward IV gained the throne.
The Yorkist conquest of the Lancastrians in 1461 did not put an end to the Wars of the Roses, which rumbled on until the start of the sixteenth century. Family disloyalty in the form of Richard III's betrayal of his nephews, the young King Edward V and his brother, was part of his downfall. Henry Tudor, a claimant to the throne of Lancastrian descent, defeated Richard III in battle and Richard was killed.
With the marriage of Henry to Elizabeth, the sister of the young Princes in the Tower, reconciliation was finally achieved between the warring houses of Lancaster and York in the form of the new Tudor dynasty, which combined their respective red and white emblems to produce the Tudor rose.
The five sovereigns of the Tudor dynasty are among the most well-known figures in Royal history. Of Welsh origin, Henry VII succeeded in ending the Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York to found the highly successful Tudor house. Henry VII, his son Henry VIII and his three children Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I ruled for 118 eventful years.
During this period, England developed into one of the leading European colonial powers, with men such as Sir Walter Raleigh taking part in the conquest of the New World. Nearer to home, campaigns in Ireland brought the country under strict English control.
Culturally and socially, the Tudor period saw many changes. The Tudor
court played a prominent part in the cultural Renaissance taking place in Europe,
nurturing all-round individuals such as William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser and Cardinal
The Tudor period also saw the turbulence of two changes of official religion, resulting in the martyrdom of many innocent believers of both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. The fear of Roman Catholicism induced by the Reformation was to last for several centuries and to play an influential role in the history of the Succession.
History after 1603
Until 1603 the English and Scottish Crowns were separate, although
links between the two were always close - members of the two Royal families intermarried
on many occasions. Following the Accession of King James VI of Scotland (I of England) to
the English Throne, a single monarch reigned in the United Kingdom.
The last four hundred years have seen many changes in the nature of the Monarchy in the United Kingdom. From the end of the 17th century, monarchs lost executive power and they increasingly became subject to Parliament, resulting in today's constitutional Monarchy.
The Stuarts were the first kings of the United Kingdom. King James I of England who began the period was also King James VI of Scotland, thus combining the two thrones for the first time.
The Stuart dynasty reigned in England and Scotland from 1603 to 1714, a period which saw a flourishing Court culture but also much upheaval and instability, of plague, fire and war. It was an age of intense religious debate and radical politics. Both contributed to a bloody civil war in the mid-seventeenth century between Crown and Parliament (the Cavaliers and the Roundheads), resulting in a parliamentary victory for Oliver Cromwell and the dramatic execution of King Charles I. There was a short-lived republic, the first time that the country had experienced such an event. The Restoration of the Crown was soon followed by another 'Glorious' Revolution. William and Mary of Orange ascended the throne as joint monarchs and defenders of Protestantism, followed by Queen Anne, the second of James II's daughters.
The end of the Stuart line with the death of Queen Anne led to the drawing up of the Act of Settlement in 1701, which provided that only Protestants could hold the throne. The next in line according to the provisions of this act was George of Hanover, yet Stuart princes remained in the wings. The Stuart legacy was to linger on in the form of claimants to the Crown for another century.
The Hanoverians came to power in difficult circumstances that looked set to undermine the stability of British society. The first of their Kings, George I, was only 52nd in line to the throne, but the nearest Protestant according to the Act of Settlement. Two descendants of James II, the deposed Stuart King, threatened to take the throne and were supported by a number of 'Jacobites' throughout the realm.
The Hanoverian period for all that, was remarkably stable, not least
because of the longevity of its Kings. From 1714 through to 1837, there were only five,
one of whom, George III, remains the longest reigning King in British History.
The period was also one of political stability, and the development of constitutional monarchy. For vast tracts of the eighteenth century politics were dominated by the great Whig families, while the early nineteenth century saw Tory domination. Britain's first 'Prime' Minister, Robert Walpole, dates from this period, while income tax was introduced. Towards the end of the reign, the Great Reform Act was passed, which amongst other things widened the electorate.
It was in this period that Britain came to acquire much of her overseas Empire, despite the loss of the American colonies, largely through foreign conquest in the various wars of the century. At the end of the Hanoverian period the British empire covered a third of the globe while the theme of longevity was set to continue, as the longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Victoria, prepared to take the throne.
The name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha came to the British Royal Family in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, son of Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. Queen Victoria herself remained a member of the House of Hanover.
The only British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was King Edward VII, who reigned for nine years at the beginning of the modern age in the early years of the 20th century. King George V replaced the German-sounding title with that of Windsor during the First World War. The name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha survived in other European monarchies, including the current Belgian Royal Family and the former monarchies of Portugal and Bulgaria.
The House of Windsor
The House of Windsor came into being in 1917, when the name was adopted as the British Royal Family's official name by a proclamation of King George V, replacing the historic name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. It remains the family name of the current Royal Family.
[This material was taken from the British Monarchy web site (with their kind permission)].
Dassier's Medals of the Kings and Queens of England
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