3Egbert (802-839): First of line The House of WessexThis family, or “House,” supplied most of the kings of England between 800 and A.D.Egbert ( ): First of lineAlfred the Great ( ): Successfully defended against Viking conquestEthelred the Unready ( ; ): Younger brother of Edward the Martyr, lost crown to the Danes.Edward the Confessor ( ): Last of line, began construction of Westminster Abbey (later torn down and rebuilt by Henry VIII).
4House of DenmarkSweyn Forkbeard ( ): First of Danish kings to defeat English and take crown. Crown returned to Athelred of Wessex upon his death in 1014, until . . .Cnut the Great ( ): Forkbeard’s son defeats Athelred’s son, Edmund Ironside, to retake crown.Harold Harefoot ( ): Known for his speed in battle; possibly poisoned on throne by . . .Harthcnut ( ): Harold’s half-brother. Last of line, died under mysterious circumstances (a common fatal malady for kings); Wessex line restored with Edmund the Confessor.
5House of NormandyWilliam I ( ): “William the Conquerer” defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Ordered Domesday Book: comprehensive survey of English landholders and taxable property.Henry I ( ): Did much to unite Norman and English populations, including marrying a granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. Loss of his son in shipwreck put succession in jeopardy. Named his daughter, Empress Mathilda to succeed but, upon his death, his nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne, leading to The Anarchy,
6Can be considered the first English Civil War The anarchyCan be considered the first English Civil WarMostly a series of sieges led by barons loyal either to Empress Mathilda or Stephen of Blois.London declared Stephen rightful king, and his interests controlled most territory for significant period of conflict.In 1147 Henry Fitzempress, son of Empress Mathilda, leads small army to several victories over Stephen. A long stalemate ensues.When his own son, Eustace, dies after several unsuccessful attempts to name him official successor, Stephen enters into peace negotiations and, with the Treaty of Winchester, declares Henry the successor.
7House of PlantagenetHenry II ( ): Established “English Common Law” system of courts and judges weighing precedent.Richard I ( ): Richard “the Lionhearted,” great warrior who put down multiple rebellions against his father; truth be told, he spent more time on quests and holy pilgrimage than in England.John ( ): The opposite of his older brother, Richard, John was a weak king; unpopular wars, high taxes, and errant behavior led feudal barons to force his signing of the Magna Charta in 1215, placing limitations upon the king’s power.Edward III ( ): Another military genius, established England as a significant military power in its time. Additionally the House of Lords and House of Commons were established in Parliament during his reign.
8House of LancasterHenry IV ( ): Usurped throne from his cousin, Richard II (and leapfrogged Edmund Mortimer). Named Chaucer Court Poet and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral.Henry V ( ): Waged successful war on France (nearly conquered whole country). Subject of three Shakespeare plays.Henry VI ( ; ): More suited to monastic duties than politics, he ultimately lost the throne to the House of York.
9Henry VI was but an infant when his father died. Wars of the rosesSporadic struggle for power between two rival Plantagenet heirs, the House of Lancaster (red rose) and the House of York (white rose).Henry VI was but an infant when his father died.Richard, Duke of York, was, like Henry, a direct descendant of Edward III and claimed title by right of primogeniture (descended of the third son of Edward vs. fourth son and a direct descendent of Edmund Mortimer)After Richard’s death in battle, his son, Edward, continued the fight and defeated Henry VI to take the crown as Edward IV in 1461.Henry VI was briefly restored to throne when Edward’s advisors plotted against him in 1470Within the year Edward returned with an army; at the ensuing battle of Tewkesbury the George’s son, the Prince of Wales was killed and George died of “natural causes” on the night Edward re-entered London.
10The House of YorkEdward IV ( ; ): Ultimately victorious in the War of Roses, effectively eliminated all House of Lancaster supporters save Henry Tudor, who escaped into exile. Reconciled country under successful second rule.Edward V (1483): 13 year-old son of king was placed into Tower of London with his younger brother “for their protection” by their uncle, Richard. Died under mysterious circumstances.Richard III ( ): Brother of Edward IV, he died at the hands of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth field, ending both the reign of the House of York and the War of the Roses. Portrayed as crippled, manipulative villain in Shakespeare’s play.
11Edward VI (1547-1553): Child-king but a progressive-minded Protestant House of TudorHenry VII ( ): Did much to restore political stability, but economic policies ravaged nation.Henry VIII ( ): A very popular king in his heyday; six marriages and separation of the Church of England from RomeEdward VI ( ): Child-king but a progressive-minded ProtestantMary I ( ): Despite contemporary label as “Bloody Mary,” her ascension to throne (and restoration of Catholicism) was very popular among the masses, until her marriage to the King of SpainElizabeth I ( ): Oversees golden age of England; the “Virgin Queen” leaves no heirs, ending the Tudor line
12Anne (1707-1714): Died childless, last of line. House of StuartJames I ( ): Son of the executed Mary Queen of Scots, his ascension united the English and Scottish crowns. Scholarly minded, he sponsored the definitive English translation of the BibleCharles I ( ): Second son of James, he warred with Parliament, was considered tyrannical by his subjects due to his seemingly random taxations to fund ongoing wars with Spain, and his association with Catholicism bred deep distrust leading to the English Civil War.Charles II ( ): With Restoration, a highly popular king, restoring art, culture, and a bit of hedonism following the long Puritan rule. Died “childless” (his twelve bastard children didn’t count), so was succeeded by his brother, James.Anne ( ): Died childless, last of line.
14House of HanoverGeorge I ( ): Ascended to throne as most direct protestant descendant of James I (great grandson through line of daughters). His reign, and that of his brothers, saw Parliament, led by a prime minister, grow into its current state as primary arbiter of law.George III ( ): His long rule saw the loss of the American colonies but the defeat of Napoleon. Last ten years ruled by Prince Regent as the elder George succumbed to mental illness.Victoria ( ): Like Elizabeth, gave her name to an age of British political dominance and artistic achievement.Edward VII ( ): First and last in House of Saxe-Coburg (after his father Lord Albert); House name changed to Windsor during WWI in reaction to anti-German sentiment.
15Elizabeth II (1952-present): Current monarch. House of WindsorGeorge V ( ): Cousin to both Czar Nicholas of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, changed house name to Windsor to distance from German aggression on continent.Edward VIII (1936): Abdicated throne to marry American divorcée Wallis SimpsonGeorge VI ( ): Was inspirational to nation during dark years of WWII but, by war’s end, had seen most of the final vestiges of actual power removed from the royalty.Elizabeth II (1952-present): Current monarch.