Monarchs of the United Kingdom

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This article is a simple list of the regnal dates (the dates that they actually reigned) of the kings and queens of Britain since the Union of the Crowns in 1603. The kingdoms were not fully united until the Act of Union 1707, but the first King in the list that follows (James VI and I) issued a "Proclamation concerning the Kings Majesties Stile" on 20 Oct 1604. It reads, in the original spelling, "Wee have thought good to discontinue the divided names of England and Scotland out of our Regall Stile, and doe intend and resolve to take and assume unto Us in maner and forme hereafter expressed, The Name and Stile of KING OF GREAT BRITTAINE, including therein according to the trueth, the whole Island."

Several monarchs in the list have links to articles on their names. AWE is not a historical website: these will be of no use to those writing history essays. They are intended to give a description of each monarch in one or two sentences, for the convenience of those (mostly non-historians) who come across a date or other reference and wish to find an answer to "Who's this?" quickly. For this reason, the articles on names used by more than one monarch, such as George I and George VI etc, contain enough material to distinguish between the different holders. There are also articles that group the members of the various dynasties, or royal families, that have ruled in the British Isles.

There is a flippant mnemonic rhyme to help schoolchildren remember the list of monarchs in order at Willy Willy Harry Stee. Only the second half applies to Monarchs of the United Kingdom; the first half only applies to English monarchs.

For monarchs of the two countries before the Union of the Crowns, see English monarchs and Scottish monarchs.

Name (and number) of monarch year of accession year of death or deposition Name of dynasty Notes
James VI and I 1567 (James VI of Scotland) 1603 (James I of England) 1625 Stuart First king of Great Britain. Became King of Scotland in 1567.
Charles I 1625 executed 1649 Stuart His death ended the first phase of the Civil War.

His supporters call him 'Charles King and Martyr'.

(Interregnum) Protectorate (Oliver Cromwell) 1649 1658 Not an hereditary monarch
(Richard Cromwell) 1658 1659 Not an hereditary monarch
(The Commonwealth) 1659 1660 Not an hereditary monarch
Charles II 1660 1685 Stuart The 'Restoration' is the year of his accession.
James [VII and] II 1685 1688 Stuart Ousted in 1688 by 'The Glorious Revolution'
William III [and II] 1688 1702 'of Orange'; mother a Stuart Ruled jointly with his wife. Commonly William and Mary.
Mary II 1688 1694 Stuart daughter of James II; cousin & wife of William III
Anne 1702 1714 Stuart daughter of James II. From 1702, Queen of England and of Scotland;

from 1707, Queen of the UK

George I 1714 1727 Hanover Anne's closest Protestant relative.
George II 1727 1760 Hanover
George III 1760 1820 Hanover Lost the American colonies; reigned during the Napoleonic wars

Famously mad. From 1810, under Regency of his son.

George IV 1820 1830 Hanover A famous Prince of Wales, The Prince Regent
William IV 1830 1837 Hanover 'The sailor King'
Victoria 1837 1901 Hanover Married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1840

Took additional title of Empress of India.

Edward VII 1901 1910 Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Another famous Prince of Wales

during his long wait for the throne

George V 1910 1936 Windsor Name of dynasty changed during WWI
Edward VIII 1936 abdicated 1936 Windsor Never crowned; 'abdication crisis' 1936.

Thereafter Duke of Windsor. (Earlier, famous as Prince of Wales).

George VI 1936 1952 Windsor First to be titled 'Head of the Commonwealth
Elizabeth II [and I] 1952 present [2014] Windsor Scotland has not previously had a reigning 'Queen Elizabeth'
The current [2009] Prince of Wales and Heir Apparent is Prince Charles, born in 1948. There is no assurance that he will choose to reign as Charles III; his grandfather, who was christened Albert Frederick Arthur George, and known as 'Bertie' within the family, deliberately choosing the title 'George VI under which to reign. Edward VII, also known as 'Bertie' within the family (christened 'Albert Edward') "announced that he would reign as Edward VII, explaining in an elegant impromptu speech to the privy council that the name Albert could be associated with no one but his father" (ODNB).