Hundreds of years ago, Britain didn't have just one king - it had lots!  Celtic kings and princes ruled Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and everything else was divided up between tribes of Anglo-Saxons.

Each tribe had its own king.  Sometimes one king became more powerful than the others, and for a while he would be overlord or chief king.  Then in early 800s, bands of Danish Vikings from northern Europe began attacking Britain.  In 878, the Saxon King of Wessex, Alfred the Great won a great battle against the Danes and forced them to agree to peace.  Much of Britain was divided into Danish land (the Danelaw) and Anglo-Saxon Land (England).

Gradually the Danes and the Saxons learned to live together and in 924 Athelstan (Alfred's grandson) became king of both Saxon and Danish lands - the first 'King of England'.  But England wasn't peaceful for long.  After about 60 years, the Viking raids began again - and only ended in 1016, when the Danish King, Canute, became King of England.

elizabeth_iitANGLO-SAXON KINGS

924-939 Athelstan; (15yrs, 102 days)

939-946 Edmund; (6yrs, 210 days)

946-955 Edred; (9yrs, 181 days)

955-959 Edwy; (3yrs, 313 days)

959-975 Edgar; (15yrs, 280 days)

975-978 Edward the Martyr; (2yrs, 253 days)

978-1016 Ethelred the Unready; (38yrs, 36 days)

1016 Edmund Ironside; (222 days)



1013 Sweyn Forkbeard; (a few weeks)

1016-1035 Canute; (18yrs, 347 days)

1035-1040 Harold I; (4 yrs, 125 days)

1040-1042 Hardecanute; (2yrs, 83 days)


ANGLO-SAXON KINGS    (continued)

1042-1066 St Edward the Confessor; (23yrs, 294 days)

1066 Harold II; (283 days)



William the Conqueror 1066-1377

William Rufus 1087-1100 (son of William)

Henry I   1100-1135 (William Rufus' brother)

Stephen   1135-1154 (nephew of Henry I)


Henry II   1154-1189 (grandson of Henry I)

Richard I   1189-1199 (third son of Henry II)

John   1199-1216 (fifth son of Henry II)

Henry III   1216-1272 (son of John)

Edward I   1272-1307 (son of Henry III)

Edward II   1307-1327 (son of Edward I)

Edward III   1327-1377 (son of Edward II)



Richard II   1377-1399 (grandson of Edward III, son the Black Prince)

Henry IV   1399-1413 (grandson of Edward III, son of John of Gaunt)

Henry V   1413-1422 (son of Henry IV)

Henry VI   1422-1461 (son of Henry V)

Edward IV  1461-1483 (great grandson of Edmund of York, Edward III's youngest son)

Richard III  1483-1485 (uncle of Edward V)


HOUSE OF TUDOR   1485-1603

Henry VII  1485-1509 (grandson of Henry V, wife's second husband)

Henry VIII   1509-1547 (Henry VII's second son)

Edward V   1547-1553 (Henry's son by Jane Seymour)

Mary   1553-1558 (Henry's daughter by Queen Catherine)

Elizabeth I   1558-1603 (Henry's daughter by Anne Boleyn)


HOUSE OF STUART   1603-1714

James I   1603-1625 (great-great-grandson of Henry VII)

Charles I   1625-1649 (second son of James)


[Commonwealth 1649-1660]     Oliver Cromwell (1649-1658)     Richard Cromwell (1658-1659)


Charles II   1660-1685 (oldest son of Charles)

James II   1685-1688 (brother of Charles II)


[Glorious Revolution 1689]


William of Orange (grandson Charles I) and Mary (daughter James II)

[William and Mary 1689-1694; William as William III to 1702]

Anne   1702-1714 (sister of Mary)


HOUSE OF HANOVER   1714-1834

George I   1714-1727 (great-grandson of James I)

George II   1727-1760 (son of George I)

George III   1760-1820 (grandson of George II)

George IV   1820-1830 (son of George III)

William IV  1830-1837 (brother of George IV)



Victoria   1837-1901 (niece of William IV)

Edward   VII 1901-1910 (son of Victoria and Albert)

George V   1910-1936 (second son of Edward VII)

Edward VIII   1936 (son of George V)

George VI   1936-1952 (second son of George V)

Elizabeth II   1952 - (daughter of George VI)