List of British monarchs

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The list of British monarchs contains the sovereign heads of state of Great Britain since the abolition of the personal union between the kingdoms of England and Scotland and the establishment of the real union with the name " Kingdom of Great Britain " by the Act of Union in 1707 until today.

Since 1603 there was a personal union between England and Scotland, with a monarch holding the thrones of both kingdoms. In addition, the monarch was also King of Ireland , which had been linked to England in personal union since the high Middle Ages. The English-Scottish personal union was replaced on May 1, 1707 by the Act of Union of 1707 by a real union called the "Kingdom of Great Britain", which remained linked to Ireland in personal union. Since 1714 there was also a personal union with the German Electorate of Hanover , which was elevated to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 and which broke away from the union in 1837 due to various succession regulations.

The state name of the kingdom has changed twice in history. The " United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland " was founded on January 1, 1801 through the Realunion between Great Britain and Ireland, which was decided in the Act of Union of 1800 . When the Irish Free State was separated from the Kingdom in December 1922 , its state name was changed in 1927 to the name " United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ", which is still valid today . The monarchs remained formally in personal union as heads of state of the Irish Free State until the latter defined itself as a republican state in 1937 and left the British Commonwealth entirely in 1949.

For the sake of simplicity, the kingdom is now simply called “ United Kingdom ” (English: United Kingdom , UK for short ).

List of British monarchs

House of Stuart

image Name
(life data)
Reign relationship Remarks
Dahl, Michael - Queen Anne - NPG6187.jpg Anne
(February 16, 1665
- August 12, 1714)
1707-1714 Daughter of Jakob II./VII. of England-Scotland Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland since 1702. First Queen of Great Britain by the Act of Union of 1707, in personal union also Queen of Ireland. During her reign she survived the attempted invasion of her half-brother James Francis Edward Stuart .

House Hanover ( Welfen )

image Name
(life data)
Reign relationship Remarks
Georg I. Ludwig (1) .jpg Georg I.
Georg Ludwig of Hanover
(7 June 1660
- 22 June 1727)
1714-1727 Great-grandson of Jakob I./VI. of England-Scotland Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, elector of Hanover since 1698. As the son of Sophie von der Pfalz , who was favored by the Act of Settlement , he succeeded Queen Anne to the throne. The Jacobite uprisings continued during his tenure. Established the personal union with Kurhannover.
King George II by Charles Jervas.jpg George II
(November 9, 1683
- October 25, 1760)
1727-1760 Son of the predecessor He left his politics largely to his prime ministers, although he, like his father, trusted the Whig Party . As the last king he was personally present in a campaign of his troops. He intervened in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War to prevent an impending conquest of Hanover. During his reign in 1752 the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar was carried out. He also successfully fought the dethronement attempt of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" , a grandson of Jacob II.
George III in Coronation Robes.jpg George III
(June 4, 1738
- January 29, 1820)
1760-1820 Grandson of the predecessor Under him, Great Britain lost thirteen of its North American colonies ( United States of America ). The Act of Union of 1800 made him King of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" in 1801 and King of Hanover in 1814 . In old age he suffered from a mental illness and was represented in the reign since 1811 by his eldest son.
George IV (United Kingdom) @Residenzmuseum Celle20160708.jpg George IV
(August 12, 1762
- June 26, 1830)
1820-1830 Son of the predecessor Was regent for his father since 1811. His scandalous private life and his failed marriage were given heavy credit, extravagance and massive debt management made him unpopular. He fought insurrections and ideas of freedom in the course of the French Revolution . The British-American War and the Congress of Vienna fell during his reign . Georg was obese and addicted to opium . Nevertheless, in his old age he knew how to arouse sympathy for the English royal rule by traveling to Ireland , Hanover and Scotland . In 1829 he determined the equality of Catholics .
William.IV.of.Great.Britain.JPG Wilhelm IV
(born August 21, 1765 -
† June 20, 1837)
1830-1837 Brother of the predecessor He reformed the administration of England and Hanover, parliamentary reforms by the Whigs and the renewal of the outdated order of estates shaped his reign. After his death, the personal union between Great Britain and the Kingdom of Hanover ended, as Hanover's inheritance law forbade a woman on the throne.
Melville - Queen Victoria.jpg Victoria
(May 24, 1819
- January 22, 1901)
1837-1901 Niece of the predecessor In the Victorian Age named after her , the British colonial empire (British Empire) experienced its political, cultural and economic climax. Her exceptionally long reign (the second longest of a British monarch after Elizabeth II ) was shaped by the development of Great Britain into a constitutional party democracy and the associated loss of power of the monarchy. The country survived the revolution of 1848/49 largely unscathed. As the grandmother of Europe , Victoria sought peace between the countries whose rulers all more or less descended from her. In 1876 she was crowned Empress of India . She was married to Albert von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha .

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha / Windsor ( Wettiner )

image Name
(life data)
Reign relationship Remarks
Edward VII in coronation robes.jpg Edward VII
(born November 9, 1841 -
† May 6, 1910)
1901-1910 Son of the predecessor Despite his dissolute lifestyle in his time as "eternal heir to the throne", he was very popular with the people. With skillful diplomacy he led Great Britain out of its isolation and laid the foundation for the Entente cordiale and its expansion to the Triple Entente . He also promoted the establishment of the British Army and became known through the reception of an Indian delegation from Canada. The Edwardian Era and the Edward VII Peninsula were named after him.
King George V 1911 color-crop.jpg George V
(June 3, 1865
- January 20, 1936)
1910-1936 Son of the predecessor Due to the anti-German mood during the First World War (1914-1918), the name of the royal dynasty was changed to House Windsor in 1917 . In 1922 the Irish Free State left the United Kingdom, whereupon the state name was changed in 1927 to "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". The 1931 Statute of Westminster decided to found the Commonwealth of Nations , which replaced the British colonial empire.
The Duke of Windsor (1945) .jpg Edward VIII
(23 June 1894
- 28 May 1972)
1936 Son of the predecessor Was never crowned and abdicated on December 11, 1936 to marry the actress Wallis Simpson . Subsequently carried the title Duke of Windsor .
George VI England.jpg George VI.
(December 14, 1895
- February 6, 1952)
1936-1952 Brother of the predecessor Second World War (1939–1945). India gained independence in 1947; the Republic of Ireland left the British Commonwealth in 1949.
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg Elizabeth II
(born April 21, 1926)
in office since 1952 Daughter of the predecessor Married to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh . Strictly speaking, she is Elizabeth I Queen of Great Britain and only in England the II of her name. In September 2015, she surpassed Queen Victoria as the monarch with the longest reign in British history.

Heir to the throne

The current Crown Prince (English: Heir apparent ) and thus designated heir to the British throne is Charles, Prince of Wales (born November 14, 1948). He has held the position of heir to the throne since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II , acceded to the throne in 1952.

See also


Some of the rulers named here are listed in the Dictionary of National Biography or in the revised Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (the latter with extensive references). There are also two series of rulers' biographies : The Yale English Monarchs Series (whose detailed biographies usually also represent the standard works) and, more recently, the Penguin Monarchs series from Penguin Books (much more brief, but usually more current and reaching up to the present day ).