Kings and Queens of England & Britain: the monarchs who have shaped our history

Henry VIII, James VI, William III, Mary Queen of Scots. The Kings and Queens of England and Britain
Clockwise, from top left: Henry VIII, James VI, Mary Queen of Scots, William III. Credit: Derrick E. Witty / Lifestyle Pictures / Alamy / Andy Gallacher / National Trust Images

The monarchy has been at the heart of British life for almost 1,200 years. Whether performing ceremonial duties or ruling absolutely, the Kings and Queens of England and Britain have shaped the direction, character and history of this great nation

We’ve selected some of the most important, interesting and influential rulers in British history and explored their life stories in detail. More than just profiles, however, we have delved into how each monarch’s reign both reflected and influenced the eras in which they lived. By discovering the stories of these great historical figures, we hope you gain an insight into the very spirit of British life.

Alfred the Great (871-899)

Canute (1016-1035)

William I – William the Conqueror (1066-1087)

Richard I (1189-1199)

Llywelyn the Great (1195-1240)

Edward I (1272-1307)

Robert I of Scotland – Robert the Bruce (1306-1329)

Henry V (1413-1422)

Richard III (1483-1485)

Henry VIII (1509-1547)

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1567)

Elizabeth I (1558-1603)

Charles I (1625-1649)

James VI and I (1567/1603-1625)

Oliver Cromwell (1653-1658)

Charles II (1660-1685)

William III & Mary II (1689-1702)

Anne (1702-1714)

George III (1760-1820)

George IV (1820-1830)

Victoria (1837-1901)

George V (1910-1936)

Edward VIII (1936)

George VI (1936-1952)

Elizabeth II (1952-present)