What Is a Brief Timeline of the British Monarchy?


Quick Answer

Offa, King of Mercia, is historically recognized as the first King of England. Anglo-Saxon monarchs ruled from 787-1066, when King William I successfully invaded England and launched the Norman dynasty. This dynasty was succeeded by the Angevin dynasty, after Henry II assumed the throne in 1154. The Angevins were followed by the Plantagenets, the Lancastrians, the Yorkists and the Tudors. The Stuarts united Scotland and England in 1603, then gave way to the Hanoverians, the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and finally the Windsors.

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Full Answer

Scotland and England had parallel monarchies until the two kingdoms were united by James I in 1603. Early Scottish kings did not closely follow rules of dynastic succession and rarely succeeded in consolidating meaningful power, so the first Scottish dynasty is typically recognized as the descendants of Malcolm III. This original dynasty was followed by the Bruces, the Stewarts and the Jacobite pretender dynasty after the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

The Act of Union in 1707 finally consolidated the constituent pieces on the larger British isle into the Kingdom of Great Britain. Although James I had formally inherited the throne of England in 1603, it was not until the passage of the Act of Union that the two monarchies agreed to form a single state.

The Windsor dynasty is currently in possession of the throne of the United Kingdom. As of 2015, the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth III, has been the Queen of England for 63 years.

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