The following is a list, ordered by length of reign, of the monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1927–present), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1927), the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1801), the Kingdom of England (871–1707), the Kingdom of Scotland (878–1707), the Kingdom of Ireland (1542–1800), and the Principality of Wales (1216–1542).
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015 when she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria.On 6 February 2017 she became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee, commemorating 65 years on the throne.
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.
These are the ten longest reigning monarchs in the British Isles for whom there is reliable recorded evidence.
|1||6 February 1952||Present||24,559||67 years, 87 days|
|2||20 June 1837||22 January 1901||23,226||63 years, 216 days|
|3||25 October 1760||29 January 1820||21,644||59 years, 96 days|
|4||24 July 1567||27 March 1625||21,066||57 years, 246 days|
|5||28 October 1216||16 November 1272||20,473||56 years, 19 days|
|6||25 January 1327||20 June 1377||18,410||50 years, 147 days|
|7||9 December 1165||4 December 1214||17,892||48 years, 360 days|
|8||1195||11 April 1240||16,173–16,902||c. 44–45 years|
|9||17 November 1558||24 March 1603||16,198||44 years, 127 days|
|10||7 June 1329||22 February 1371||15,235||41 years, 260 days|
The longest claim by a pretender was that of James Francis Edward Stuart (the "Old Pretender"), who was the Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland for 64 years, 3 months, and 16 days (17 September 1701 – 1 January 1766).
A pretender is one who maintains or is able to maintain a claim that they are entitled to a position of honour or rank, which may be occupied by an incumbent, or whose powers may currently be exercised by another person or authority. Most often, it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival or has been abolished.
James Francis Edward Stuart, nicknamed The Old Pretender, was the son of King James II and VII of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his second wife, Mary of Modena. He was Prince of Wales from July 1688 until, just months after his birth, his Catholic father was deposed and exiled in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. James II's Protestant elder daughter, Mary II, and her husband, William III, became co-monarchs and the Bill of Rights 1689 and Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Catholics from the English then, subsequently, British throne.
The Jacobite succession is the line through which the crown in pretence of England, Scotland and Ireland has descended since the flight of James II & VII from London at the time of the "Glorious Revolution". James and his Jacobite successors were traditionally toasted as "The King over the Water". After the death of James's grandson, Henry Benedict Stuart, in 1807, none of the notional Jacobite "successors" have claimed the thrones of England and Scotland or incorporated the arms of England and Scotland in their coats-of-arms.
On 9 September 2015 (at the age of 89 years, 141 days), Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning female monarch in world history. On 23 May 2016 (at the age of 90 years, 32 days), her reign surpassed the claimed reign of James Francis Edward Stuart (the "Old Pretender"). On 13 October 2016 (at the age of 90 years, 175 days), she became the world's longest-reigning current monarch (and the world's longest-serving current head of state) after the death of Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), King of Thailand.
Bhumibol Adulyadej, conferred with the title King Bhumibol the Great in 1987, was the ninth monarch of Thailand from the Chakri dynasty as Rama IX. Reigning since 9 June 1946, he was, at the time of his death, the world's longest-reigning head of state, the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history and the longest-reigning monarch having reigned only as an adult, reigning for 70 years, 126 days. During his reign, he was served by a total of 30 prime ministers beginning with Pridi Banomyong and ending with Prayut Chan-o-cha.
If she is still reigning on –
A platinum jubilee is a celebration held to mark an anniversary. Among monarchies, it usually refers to a 70th anniversary.
Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power.
The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.
On 1 January 1801 the Kingdom of Great Britain united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, becoming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland by Act of Parliament in 1927following the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922.
The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.
The Irish Free State was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British Crown forces.
|Elizabeth II||6 February 1952||Present||24,559||67 years, 87 days|
|Victoria||20 June 1837||22 January 1901||23,226||63 years, 216 days|
|George V||6 May 1910||20 January 1936||9,390||25 years, 259 days|
|George III||1 January 1801||29 January 1820||6,967||19 years, 28 days|
|George VI||11 December 1936||6 February 1952||5,535||15 years, 57 days|
|George IV||29 January 1820||26 June 1830||3,801||10 years, 148 days|
|Edward VII||22 January 1901||6 May 1910||3,391||9 years, 104 days|
|William IV||26 June 1830||20 June 1837||2,551||6 years, 359 days|
|Edward VIII||20 January 1936||11 December 1936||326||326 days|
On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union 1707, the Kingdom of England united with the Kingdom of Scotland as the Kingdom of Great Britain.
| George III ||25 October 1760||1 January 1801||14,677||40 years, 68 days|
|George II||22 June 1727 N.S.||25 October 1760||12,168||33 years, 114 days|
|George I||1 August 1714||11 June 1727||4,697||12 years, 314 days|
|Anne||1 May 1707||1 August 1714||2,649||7 years, 92 days|
Includes English monarchs from the installation of Alfred the Great as King of Wessex in 871 to Anne (House of Stuart) and the Acts of Union on 1 May 1707, when the crown became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
|Henry III||28 October 1216||16 November 1272||20,473||56 years, 19 days|
|Edward III||25 January 1327||21 June 1377||18,410||50 years, 147 days|
|Elizabeth I||17 November 1558||24 March 1603||16,198||44 years, 127 days|
|Henry VI||1 September 1422|
31 October 1470
|4 March 1461|
11 April 1471
|38 years, 184 days|
38 years, 347 days
|Æthelred II||18 March 978|
3 February 1014
|25 December 1013|
23 April 1016
|35 years, 282 days|
2 years, 80 days
37 years, 362 days
|Henry VIII||22 April 1509||28 January 1547||13,795||37 years, 281 days|
|Charles II||30 January 1649||6 February 1685||13,156||36 years, 7 days|
|Henry I||5 August 1100||1 December 1135||12,901||35 years, 118 days|
| Henry II |
(co-ruler with Henry the Young King)
|25 October 1154||6 July 1189||12,673||34 years, 254 days|
|Edward I||20 November 1272||7 July 1307||12,646||34 years, 229 days|
|Alfred the Great||24 April 871||26 October 899||10,412||28 years, 185 days|
|Edward the Elder||27 October 899||17 July 924||9,029||24 years, 264 days|
|Charles I||27 March 1625||30 January 1649||8,710||23 years, 309 days|
|Henry VII||22 August 1485||21 April 1509||8,642||23 years, 242 days|
|Edward the Confessor||8 June 1042||5 January 1066||8,612||23 years, 211 days|
|Richard II||22 June 1377||29 September 1399||8,134||22 years, 99 days|
|James I||24 March 1603||27 March 1625||8,039||22 years, 3 days|
|Edward IV||4 March 1461|
11 April 1471
|3 October 1470|
9 April 1483
|9 years, 213 days|
11 years, 363 days
21 years, 211 days
|William I||12 December 1066||9 September 1087||7,563||20 years, 258 days|
|Edward II||8 July 1307||20 January 1327||7,136||19 years, 196 days|
|Cnut||30 November 1016||12 November 1035||6,921||18 years, 347 days|
|Stephen||22 December 1135|
1 November 1141
|7 April 1141|
25 October 1154
|5 years, 106 days|
12 years, 358 days
18 years, 99 days
|John||6 April 1199||19 October 1216||6,406||17 years, 196 days|
|Edgar I||1 October 959||8 July 975||5,759||15 years, 280 days|
|Æthelstan||2 August 924|
|27 October 939||5,564 |
|15 years, 86 days|
or 14 years, 86 days
|Henry IV||30 September 1399||20 March 1413||4,919||13 years, 171 days|
| William III |
(co-ruler with Mary II)
|13 February 1689||8 March 1702||4,770||13 years, 23 days|
| Henry the Young King |
(co-ruler with Henry II)
|14 June 1170||11 June 1183||4,745||12 years, 362 days|
|William II||26 September 1087||2 August 1100||4,693||12 years, 310 days|
|Richard I||6 July 1189||6 April 1199||3,561||9 years, 274 days|
|Eadred||26 May 946||23 November 955||3,468||9 years, 181 days|
|Henry V||21 March 1413||31 August 1422||3,450||9 years, 163 days|
|Edmund I||27 October 939||26 May 946||2,403||6 years, 211 days|
|Edward VI||28 January 1547||6 July 1553||2,351||6 years, 159 days|
| Mary II |
(co-ruler with William III)
|13 February 1689||28 December 1694||2,144||5 years, 318 days|
| Mary I ||19 July 1553||17 November 1558||1,947||5 years, 121 days|
| Anne |
(also Kingdom of Great Britain)
|8 March 1702||30 April 1707||1,879||5 years, 53 days|
|Eadwig||23 November 955||1 October 959||1,408||3 years, 312 days|
|James II||6 February 1685||11 December 1688||1,404||3 years, 309 days|
|Edward the Martyr||9 July 975||18 March 978||984||2 years, 253 days|
|Harold I||12 November 1037||17 March 1040||856||2 years, 126 days|
|Harthacnut||17 March 1040||8 June 1042||813||2 years, 83 days|
|Richard III||26 June 1483||22 August 1485||788||2 years, 57 days|
|Harold II||5 January 1066||14 October 1066||282||282 days|
|Edmund II||23 April 1016||30 November 1016||221||221 days|
|Matilda (disputed)||7 April 1141||1 November 1141||208||208 days|
|Edward V||9 April 1483||26 June 1483||78||78 days|
|Edgar II||15 October 1066||17 December 1066||63||63 days|
|Sweyn Forkbeard||25 December 1013||3 February 1014||40||40 days|
|Jane (disputed)||10 July 1553||19 July 1553||9||9 days|
Includes Scottish monarchs from the installation of Kenneth I (House of Alpin) in 848 to Anne (House of Stuart) and the Acts of Union on 1 May 1707, when the crown became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
|James VI||24 July 1567||27 March 1625||21,066||57 years, 246 days|
|William I||9 December 1165||4 December 1214||17,892||48 years, 360 days|
|Constantine II||900||943||c. 15,500||c. 43 years|
|David II||7 June 1329||22 February 1371||15,235||41 years, 260 days|
|Alexander III||6 July 1249||19 March 1286||13,405||36 years, 256 days|
|Malcolm III||17 March 1058||13 November 1093||13,025||35 years, 241 days|
|Alexander II||4 December 1214||6 July 1249||12,633||34 years, 214 days|
|James I||4 April 1406||21 February 1437||11,281||30 years, 323 days|
|Malcolm II||25 March 1005||25 November 1034||10,837||29 years, 245 days|
|James V||9 September 1513||14 December 1542||10,688||29 years, 96 days|
|David I||23 April 1124||24 May 1153||10,623||29 years, 31 days|
|James III||3 August 1460||11 June 1488||10,174||27 years, 313 days|
|Charles II||30 January 1649|
29 May 1660
|3 September 1651|
6 February 1685
|2 years, 216 days|
24 years, 253 days
27 years, 104 days
|James IV||11 June 1488||9 September 1513||9,220||25 years, 90 days|
|Mary I||14 December 1542||24 July 1567||8,988||24 years, 222 days|
|Charles I||27 March 1625||30 January 1649||8,710||23 years, 309 days|
|Kenneth II||971||995||c. 8,700||c. 23-24 years|
|James II||21 February 1437||3 August 1460||8,564||23 years, 164 days|
|Edward Balliol (disputed)||24 September 1332||20 January 1356||8,518||23 years, 118 days|
|Robert I||25 March 1306||7 June 1329||8,475||23 years, 74 days|
|Robert II||22 February 1371||19 April 1390||6,996||19 years, 56 days|
|Alexander I||8 January 1107||23 April 1124||6,315||17 years, 106 days|
|Macbeth||14 August 1040||15 August 1057||6,210||17 years, 1 day|
|Robert III||19 April 1390||4 April 1406||5,828||15 years, 350 days|
|Constantine I||862||877||c. 5,400||c. 15 years|
|Kenneth MacAlpin||843||13 February 858||c. 5,100||c. 14 years|
|William II||11 May 1689||8 March 1702||4,683||12 years, 301 days|
|Malcolm IV||24 May 1153||9 December 1165||4,582||12 years, 199 days|
| Giric |
(co-ruler with Eochaid?)
|878||889||c. 4.000||c. 11 years|
|Donald II||889||900||c. 4,000||c. 11 years|
|Malcolm I||943||954||c. 3,600||c. 10-11 years|
|Edgar||1097||8 January 1107||c. 3,600||c. 10 years|
|Kenneth III||997||25 March 1005||c. 2,900||c. 8 years|
|Indulf||954||962||c. 2,700||c. 8 years|
|Duncan I||25 November 1034||14 August 1040||2,089||5 years, 263 days|
|Mary II||11 April 1689||28 December 1694||2,087||5 years, 261 days|
|Amlaíb||971||977||c. 2,000||c. 5-6 years|
| Anne |
(also Kingdom of Great Britain)
|8 March 1702||30 April 1707||1,879||5 years, 53 days|
|Dub||962||c. 966-967||c. 1,800||c. 5 years|
|Cuilén||c. 966-967||971||c. 1,800||c. 5 years|
|Domnall mac Ailpín||858||13 April 862||c. 1.300||c. 4 years|
|James VII||6 February 1685||11 December 1688|
(claimed until 16 September 1701.)
|3 years, 309 days|
claimed 16 years, 222 days
|Margaret||25 November 1286||26 September 1290||1,401||3 years, 305 days|
|John Balliol||17 November 1292||10 July 1296||1,331||3 years, 236 days|
|Donald III||13 November 1093||1097||c. 1,000||c. 3-4 years|
|Constantine III||1095||1097||c. 700||c. 2 years|
|Áed mac Cináeda||877||878||c. 365||c. 1 year|
|Lulach||15 August 1057||17 March 1058||212||212 days|
|Duncan II||May 1094||12 November 1094||c. 195||"less than 7 months"|
The High King of Ireland (846–1198) was primarily a titular title (with the exception of Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair who was regarded as the first "King of Ireland"). The later Kingdom of Ireland (1542–1800) came into being under the Crown of Ireland Act 1542, the long title of which was "An Act that the King of England, his Heirs and Successors, be Kings of Ireland". In 1801 the Irish crown became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
|Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair||1166||1193||c. 26-27 years|
|Edward Bruce (disputed)||June 1315||14 October 1318||c. 3 years, 100 days|
|Brian Ua Néill (disputed)||1258||1260||c. 1-2 years|
The Principality (or Kingdom) of Gwynedd (5th century–1216) was based in northwest Wales, its rulers were repeatedly acclaimed as "King of the Britons" before losing their power in civil wars or Saxon and Norman invasions. In 1216 it was superseded by the title Principality of Wales, although the new title was not first used until the 1240s.
|Gruffudd ap Cynan||1081||1137||c. 55-56 years|
|Llywelyn the Great||1195||11 April 1240||>16,172||c. 44-45 years|
|Owain Gwynedd||1137||1170||>11,688||c. 33 years|
|Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd||1170||1195||>8,766||c. 25 years|
|Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd||1170||1170||<1 year|
The Principality of Wales (1216–1542) was a client state of England for much of its history, except for brief periods when it was de facto independent under a Welsh Prince of Wales (see House of Aberffraw). From 1301 it was first used as a title of the English (and later British) heir apparent. The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 formally incorporated all of Wales within the Kingdom of England.
|Llywelyn ap Gruffudd||1253||11 December 1282||>10,572||c. 29 years|
|Owain Glyndŵr (disputed)||16 September 1400||c. 1416||>5,585||c. 16 years|
|Owain Goch ap Gruffydd||25 February 1246||1255||>3,000||c. 9 years|
|Owain Lawgoch (disputed)||May 1372||July 1378||>2,221||c. 6 years|
|Dafydd ap Llywelyn||12 April 1240||25 February 1246||2,145||5 years, 319 days|
|Dafydd ap Gruffydd||11 December 1282||3 October 1283||296||296 days|
Charles, Prince of Wales, is the longest-serving Prince of Wales, with a tenure of 60 years, 282 days since his proclamation as such in 1958.
The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies and its overseas territories. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952.
The Constitution of the United Kingdom has evolved over a long period of time beginning in the predecessor states to the United Kingdom and continuing to the present day. The relative stability of the British polity over centuries, progressing without a revolution or regime change that lasted, has obviated the need to write a constitution from first principles, in contrast to many other countries. What Britain has instead is an accumulation of various statutes, judicial precedents, convention, treaties and other sources which collectively can be referred to as the British Constitution. It is thus more accurate to describe Britain's constitution as an ‘uncodified’ constitution, rather than an ‘unwritten’ one.
A monarchical system of government existed in Ireland from ancient times until—for what became the Republic of Ireland—the early twentieth century. Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, remains under a monarchical system of government. The Gaelic kingdoms of Ireland ended with the Norman invasion of Ireland, when the kingdom became a fief of the Holy See under the Lordship of the King of England. This lasted until the Parliament of Ireland conferred the crown of Ireland upon King Henry VIII of England during the English Reformation. The monarch of England held the crowns of England and Ireland in a personal union. The Union of the Crowns in 1603 expanded the personal union to include Scotland. The personal union between England and Scotland became a political union with the enactments of the Acts of Union 1707, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. The crowns of Great Britain and Ireland remained in personal union until it was ended by the Acts of Union 1800, which united Ireland and Great Britain into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from January 1801 until December 1922.
Duke of Rothesay is a dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. It was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the title mandated for use by the heir apparent when in Scotland, in preference to the titles Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, which are used in the rest of the United Kingdom and overseas. The Duke of Rothesay also holds other Scottish titles, including those of Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. The title is named after Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute, but is not associated with any legal entity or landed property, unlike the Duchy of Cornwall.
Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex, legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are in "communion with the Church of England". Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 2015. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible.
The precise style of British sovereigns has varied over the years. The present style is officially proclaimed in two languages:
From the 1340s to the 19th century, excluding two brief intervals in the 1360s and the 1420s, the kings and queens of England also claimed the throne of France. The claim dates from Edward III, who claimed the French throne in 1340 as the sororal nephew of the last direct Capetian, Charles IV. Edward and his heirs fought the Hundred Years' War to enforce this claim, and were briefly successful in the 1420s under Henry V and Henry VI, but the House of Valois, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty, was ultimately victorious and retained control of France. Despite this, English and British monarchs continued to prominently call themselves kings of France, and the French fleur-de-lis was included in the royal arms. This continued until 1801, by which time France no longer had any monarch, having become a republic. The Jacobite claimants, however, did not explicitly relinquish the claim.
The royal arms of Scotland is the official coat of arms of the King of Scots first adopted in the 12th century. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI inherited the thrones of England and Ireland and thus his arms in Scotland were now quartered with the arms of England with an additional quarter for Ireland also added. Though the kingdoms of England and Scotland would share the same monarch, the distinction in heraldry used in both kingdoms was maintained. When the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain, no single arms were created and instead, the royal arms as used in either Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom would continue to differ.
The formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has involved personal and political union across Great Britain and the wider British Isles. The United Kingdom is the most recent of a number of sovereign states that have been established in Great Britain at different periods in history, in different combinations and under a variety of polities. Norman Davies has counted sixteen different states over the past 2,000 years.
Queen mother is defined as "a queen dowager who is the mother of the reigning sovereign". The term has been used in English since at least 1560.
On 9 September 2015, The Queen will become the longest reigning British Monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria.