Kings of Medieval England

Kings of medieval England have ruled for over 700 years, between 757 to 1485 AD. In the early days, England did not exist, instead the land was broken up into warring kingdoms, each with its own ruler. Alfred the Great had a dream of a united England, a king of all of England.

Alfred’s son and daughter, Edward the Elder and Aethelflaed of Mercia made incredible gains towards this dream, but ultimately, it would be Alfred’s grandson, Aethelstan, who would become the first King of all of England.

House of Mercia

Offa (757-796)

King Offa was the most powerful ruler of Mercia from 757-796. He is best known for the vast defensive earthwork, Offa’s Dyke, which was built along the Welsh/English border. Self-proclaimed King of the English (Englisc), he defeated Kent, the East and West Saxons and the Welsh to become overlord of southern England.

Born 730
Parents Thingfrith son of Eanwulf (Father)
Married Cynethryth
Children 4, Ecgfrith, Eadburh, Aethelburh, Aelfflaed
Died 29 July 796 (66)

Reign 757 – 796 (39)
Crowned 757 (27)
Predecessor None
Successor Ecgfrith (lasted 5 months)
House Mercia

House of Wessex

Egbert (802-839)

King Egbert (Ecgberht) ruled from 802-839, and is thought to be descended from the founder of Wessex, Cerdic (514-534), despite being the son of a Kentish noble. He was sent into exile by Offa, and resided at the court of Charlemagne. Upon his return, Egbert took back Wessex and conquered Mercia, Kent and Cornwall. Later, he was acknowledged as ruler of Northumbria, East Anglia and Sussex and would become known as Bretwalda, ruler of the British.

Born 770
Parents Ealhmund of Kent (Father)
Married Redburh of Frankia
Children Aethelwulf
Died 839 (69), buried in Winchester

Reign 802-839 (37)
Crowned 802 (32)
Predecessor None
Successor Aethelwulf (son)
House Wessex

Aethelwulf (839-858)

King Aethelwulf (Æthelwulf or ‘Noble Wolf’) was the son of Egbert, and King of Wessex from 839-858. Before becoming king, his father had sent him to conquer Kent, Sussex and Essex, and in doing so, he became king of Kent. Then in 839, he succeeded his father as king of Wessex too. Aethelwulf looked for alliances over conquest, and allied with Mercia against the many Viking invasions. A pious and generous man, he decided to give the church one tenth of his lands to receive God’s favour, in the face of the attacking pagans. But, after returning from Rome, he would discover his kingdom lost, and reputation tarnished.

Born 795, Aachen, Germany
Parents Egbert of Wessex & Redburh of Francia
Married Osburh, daughter of Oslac of Hampshire & Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, king of the Franks
Children 6, Aethelstan, Aethelswith, Aethelbald, Aethelbert, Aethelred, Alfred
Died 13 January 858, Steyning, Sussex (63), buried in Winchester

Reign 839 – 858 (19)
Crowned 839 (44)
Predecessor Egbert (father)
Successor Aethelbald (son)
House Wessex

Aethelbald (855-860)

King Aethelbald (Æthelbald or ‘Noble Bold’) was the eldest surviving son of Aethelwulf, and King of Wessex from 855-860. He had a short reign, and a short life, having only lived into his 20s when he died. During his reign, Aethelbald is most famous for refusing his own father’s entry to his kingdom, when Aethelwulf returned from Frankia with his new wife.

Born 831
Parents Aethelwulf of Wessex & Osburh
Married Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, king of the Franks (step-mother)
Children None
Died 20 December 860, Sherborne (29), buried in Sherborne Abbey

Reign 855 – 860 (5)
Crowned 855 (24)
Predecessor Aethelwulf (father)
Successor Aethelbert (brother)
House Wessex

Aethelbert (860-866)

King Aethelbert (Æthelbert or ‘Magnificent Noble’) was the second eldest surviving son of Aethelwulf, and King of Wessex from 860-866. He, like his brother before him, had a short reign and life, having only lived into his early 30s when he died. During his reign, Aethelbert is most famous for not sending an army to engage the ‘Great Heathen Army’ of Vikings, led by Ragnar Lodbrok’s sons, who landed at Thanet in 864.

Born 834
Parents Aethelwulf of Wessex & Osburh
Married Unknown
Children 2, Aldhelm & Aethelweard
Died 866 (32), buried in Sherborne Abbey

Reign 860 – 866 (6)
Crowned 860, Kingston upon Thames (26)
Predecessor Aethelbald (brother)
Successor Aethelred I (brother)
House Wessex

Aethelred I (866-871)

King Aethelred (Æthelred or ‘Noble Council’) was the third eldest surviving son of Aethelwulf, and King of Wessex from 866-871. Aethelred’s reign was dogged by Viking battles against the ‘Great Heathen Army’, that would ultimately lead to his death in 871. Aethelred played a major role in the defence of Wessex, despite history overshadowing him with his younger brother, Alfred.

Born 845
Parents Aethelwulf of Wessex & Osburh
Married Wulfrida
Children 2, Aethelhelm & Aethelwold
Died 23 April 871, Witchampton, Dorset (26), buried at Wimborne Minster

Reign 866 – 871 (5)
Crowned 866, Kingston upon Thames (21)
Predecessor Aethelbert (brother)
Successor Alfred (brother)
House Wessex

Alfred the Great (871-899)

King Alfred the Great was one of the greatest Kings of England, and certainly the most superior King of all the Anglo-Saxon rulers. Not only did he hold back the waves of Viking expansions, but also created the founding base for a united English kingdom. By strengthening armies, and fortifying towns, he was setting the foundations for an established defence and justice system. Moreover, he created a new navy being mindful of the threat from the seas, whilst in land establishing efficient administration processes.

Born 849, Wantage, Oxfordshire
Parents Aethelwulf of Wessex & Osburh
Married Ealhswith of Mercia, 868, Winchester
Children 4 – 6, inc Edward the Elder & Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia
Died 26 October 899 (50), buried in Winchester

Reign 871 – 899 (28)
Crowned 871, Kingston-upon-Thames
Predecessor Aethelred I (brother)
Successor Edward the Elder (son)
House Wessex

Edward the Elder (899-924)

King Edward the Elder was the son of Alfred the Great, and king of Wessex from 899-924. He was also nominally King of England from 918-924, through his success at overthrowing Viking settlements across the Danelaw. Edward spent most of his reign building burghs, and using those to subdue the locals. Working closely with his sister, Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, Edward would become overlord of both Wessex, Mercia and all the land south of the Humber. With Powys, Scots and Strathclyde recognising him as overlord too, Edward was in all but name, King of all England.

Born 871
Parents Alfred the Great & Ealhswith
Married Egwynn (probably), Elfleda & Edgiva
Children 15, 5 sons & 10 daughters inc Aelfweard, Aethelstan & Eadred
Died 17 July 924, Farndon-on-Dee (53), buried at Winchester

Reign 899 – 924 (25)
Crowned 8 June 900, Kingston upon Thames (29)
Predecessor Alfred the Great (father)
Successor (Aelfweard (son), died 2 weeks after Edward). Aethelstan (son, legitimacy disputed in Wessex)
House Wessex

Aethelstan (925-939)

King Aethelstan (Æthelstan or ‘Noble Stone’) was the son of Edward the Elder, and king of all England from 925-939. Another of the conquering kings of Wessex, Aethelstan expanded his father’s kingdom, gave much to the church and enhanced the power and prestige of kingship. Forming allies across Europe, and ruthlessly subjugating Wales, the Scots and the Danes, Aethelstan was one of England’s great kings.

Born 895
Parents Edward the Elder & Egwynn
Married No
Children None
Died 27 October 939, Gloucester, buried at Malmesbury (44)

Reign 925 – 939 (14)
Crowned 4 September 925, Kingston upon Thames (30)
Predecessor Edward the Elder (father)
Successor Edmund I (half-brother)
House Wessex

Edmund I the Magnificent (939-946)

King Edmund I ‘the magnificent’ was the elder son of Edward the Elder and his third wife, Edgiva, and king of England from 939-946. Inheriting the expanded realm of England, Edmund initially lost York and Cumbria from the Norse and Scots, but through peace negotiations, baptisms and military skill, he won them back again. Edmund’s reign was short, as he was killed in his own hall by an outlaw at the age of 25.

Born 921
Parents Edward the Elder & Edgiva
Married Aelfgifu of Shaftesbury & Aethelflaed of Damerham
Children 2, Eadwig the Fair & Edgar the Peaceful
Died 26 May 946, Pucklechurch, buried at Glastonbury Abbey (25)

Reign 939 – 946 (6)
Crowned 27 October 939, Kingston upon Thames (18)
Predecessor Aethelstan (half-brother)
Successor Eadred (brother)
House Wessex

Eadred (946-955)

King Eadred was the younger son of Edward the Elder and his third wife, Edgiva, and king of England from 946-955. Another vigorous warrior king, Eadred battled with the Norsemen of York, losing and regaining the kingdom during his reign. King Eadred suffered from a stomach illness, which would cut his life short in 955, at the age of 32.

Born 923
Parents Edward the Elder & Edgiva
Married No
Children None
Died 23 November 955, Frome, Somerset, buried at the Old Minster, Winchester (32)

Reign 946 – 955 (9)
Crowned 16 August 946, Kingston upon Thames (23)
Predecessor Edmund I the Magnificent (brother)
Successor Eadwig the All-Fair (nephew)
House Wessex

Eadwig the All-Fair (955-957)

King Eadwig (‘the All-Fair’) was the elder son of Edmund I & Aelfgifu of Shaftesbury, and king of England from 955-957 and of Wessex from 957-959. A handsome but foolish king, he lost the favour of his court and the church. Powerful ealdormen soon left to support his younger brother. Mercia and Northumbria were lost, and Eadwig died suspiciously at just 18, only 4 years into his reign.

Born 941
Parents Edmund I & Aelfgifu of Shaftesbury
Married Aelfgifu
Children None
Died 1 October 959, buried at the New Minster, Winchester (18)

Reign 955 – 959 (4)
Crowned 26 January 956, Kingston upon Thames (14)
Predecessor Eadred (uncle)
Successor Edgar the Peaceful (brother)
House Wessex

Edgar the Peaceful (959-975)

King Edgar (‘the Peaceful’) was the second son of Edmund I and Aelfgifu of Shaftesbury, and king of England from 959-975 and of Mercia from 957-959. An excellent ruler, Edgar achieved peace, stability and prosperity across his kingdom, and faced no invasions from the Vikings. He reformed the church, brought in a new currency and created the counties we know today. But there was a darker side to him, and his affections for women brought out the worst of it.

Born 943
Parents Edmund I & Aelfgifu of Shaftesbury
Married Aethelflaed, Aelfthryth
Children 4, Edward the Martyr, Edith, Edmund & Aethelred II
Died 8 July 975, buried at Glastonbury Abbey (32)

Reign 959 – 975 (15)
Crowned 959, Kingston upon Thames and again twice, ceremoniously, at Bath and Chester in 973 (14)
Predecessor Eadwig the All-Fair (brother)
Successor Edward the Martyr (son)
House Wessex

Edward the Martyr (975-978)

King Edward (‘the Martyr’) was the eldest son of Edgar the Peaceful and Aethelflaed, and king of England from 975-978. Chaos, rebellion and ill luck dominated Edward’s reign. He faced accession disputes, famine and uprising from his father’s land grants to the church. Just 2 years into his reign, Edward is murdered at Corfe Castle. Later, the church would recognise him as a saint and a martyr.

Born 962
Parents Edgar the Peaceful & Aethelflaed
Married No
Children None
Died 18 March 978, buried at Wareham, Dorset (16), then reburied at Shaftesbury Abbey

Reign 975 – 978 (2)
Crowned 18 July 975, Kingston upon Thames (13)
Predecessor Edgar the Peaceful (father)
Successor Aethelred II the Unready (half-brother)
House Wessex

Aethelred II the Unready (978-1013 & 1014-1016)

King Aethelred II (Æthelred or ‘Noble Council’) (‘the Unready’) was the younger son of Edgar the Peaceful and Aelfthryth, and king of England from 978-1013 and again from 1014-1016. Persistent Viking attacks, poor council and a lack of military ability plagued Aethelred II’s reign. He lost the support of those around him, and the moral of the country. He was ultimately acceded by the Viking, Sweyn Forkbeard, who happened to die 3 months later. To which, Aethelred II was recalled to conditionally rule for 2 more years, until his death.

Born 968
Parents Edgar the Peaceful & Aelfthryth
Married Aelfgifu of York & Emma of Normandy
Children 16, inc Edmund II Ironside and Edward the Confessor
Died 23 April 1016, buried at Old St Pauls Cathedral, London (burned down in the Great Fire of London, 1666) (48)

Reign 978-1013 (35) & 1014-1016 (2)
Crowned April 978, Kingston upon Thames (10)
Predecessor Edward the Martyr (half-brother)
Successor Sweyn Forkbeard & Edmund II Ironside (son)
House Wessex

House of Denmark

Sweyn Forkbeard (1013-1014)

Born 960
Parents Harald Bluetooth Gormsson & Gyrid
Married Gunhilde
Children 8, inc Cnut the Great
Died 3 February 1014, possibly buried at Roskilde Cathedral (53)

Reign 1013-1014 (3 months)
Crowned No, but proclaimed king on 25 December 1013
Predecessor Aethelred II the Unready
Successor Aethelred II the Unready
House Denmark

House of Wessex

Edmund II Ironside (1016)

Born 989
Parents Aethelred II the Unready & Aelfgifu of York
Married Ealdgyth
Children 2, inc Edward the Aetheling
Died 30 November 1016, London, buried at Glastonbury Abbey (27)

Reign 1016 (7 months)
Crowned 25 April 1016, Old St Paul’s Cathedral (26)
Predecessor Aethelred II the Unready (father)
Successor Cnut the Great
House Wessex

House of Denmark

Cnut the Great (1016-1035)

Born 995
Parents Sweyn Forkbeard & Gunhilde
Married Aelfgifu of Northampton & Emma of Normandy
Children 5, inc Harold I Harefoot and Harthacnut
Died 12 November 1035, Shaftesbury, Dorset, buried at Winchester Cathedral (40)

Reign 1016-1035 (18)
Crowned 6 January 1017, Old St Paul’s Cathedral (22)
Predecessor Edmund II Ironside
Successor Harold I Harefoot (son)
House Denmark

Harold I Harefoot (1035-1040)

Born 1016
Parents Cnut the Great & Aelfgifu of Northampton
Married Aelfgifu (possibly)
Children None
Died 17 March 1040, London, buried at Westminster Abbey, reburied at St Clement Danes, Westminster (24)

Reign 1035-1040 (18)
Crowned No, proclaimed king in 1037, Oxford (21)
Predecessor Cnut the Great (father)
Successor Harthacnut (half-brother)
House Denmark

Harthacnut (1040-1042)

Born 1018
Parents Cnut the Great & Emma of Normandy
Married No
Children None
Died 8 June 1042, Lambeth, London, buried at Winchester Cathedral (24)

Reign 1040-1042 (2)
Crowned June 1040, Canterbury Cathedral (22)
Predecessor Harold I Harefoot (half-brother)
Successor Edward the Confessor (half-brother)
House Denmark

House of Wessex

Edward the Confessor (1042-1066)

Edward the Confessor was the younger son of Aethelred II the Unready and Emma of Normandy. He grew up in exile in Normandy after the Viking invasion of 1013. Although born an Anglo-Saxon, he spent much of his life in Normandy, which had made him essentially a Norman. It was his half-brother, Harthacnut, who invited Edward back to England, and gave him a place in the royal court as his co-ruler and successor. When Harthacnut died in 1042, Edward the Confessor succeeded him as King of England. Edward the Confessor was the last in the line of great Wessex kings, descended from Alfred the Great.

Born 1003, Islip, Oxfordshire
Parents Aethelred II the Unready and Emma of Normandy
Married Edith Godwin of Wessex
Children None
Died 5 January 1066, buried in Westminster Abbey (63)

Reign 1042-1066 (25)
Crowned 3 April 1043, Winchester (40)
Predecessor Harthacnut (half-brother)
Successor Harold II
House Wessex

House of Godwin

Harold II (1066)

Harold Godwinson, a wealthy, powerful man who inherited money and titles from his father, Godwin Earl of Wessex, upon his death in 1053. Harold Godwinson dedicated his life to serving Edward the Confessor unreservedly, soon becoming indispensable to the King. Then, when Edward died in 1066, Harold was very quickly crowned king. However, as history now bares its scars, Harold Godwinson’s reign would not last long.

Born 1022
Parents Godwin Earl of Wessex & Gytha Thorkelsdottir
Married Edith Swanneck & Edith of Mercia
Children 2
Died 14 October 1066 at Battle, buried at Pevensey, reburied at Waltham Abbey (44)

Reign 1066 (1)
Crowned 6 January 1066, Winchester (43)
Predecessor Edward the Confessor
Successor William I the Conqueror
House Godwin

House of Normandy

William I the Conqueror (1066-1087)

William the Conqueror, the Norman invader, defeated the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, Harold II Godwinson, in the famous Battle of Hastings, in 1066. He was sometimes known as William the Bastard and previous to his victory in Hastings, William Duke of Normandy. A charismatic and ruthless leader, William the Conqueror believed he had a legitimate claim to the English throne. He was adamant that Edward the Confessor had promised him the crown, as Edward had no heirs. Furthermore, he claimed that Harold Godwinson, of all people – the most powerful man in England, had supported William’s claim too.

Born 1027, Falaise, Normandy
Parents Robert I Duke of Normandy & Herleva of Falaise
Married Matilda of Flanders
Children 10 inc William II and Henry I
Died 9 September 1087, Rouen, buried at Caen, Normandy (59)

Reign 1066-1087 (20)
Crowned 25 December 1066, Westminster Abbey (38)
Predecessor Harold II
Successor William II Rufus (son)
House Normandy

William II Rufus (1087-1100)

William Rufus was the third, and possibly favourite son of the Norman conqueror William I. After an unusual set of circumstances, William inherited the throne of England at the age of 30, despite having two older brothers, Robert and Richard. Due to his red hair and fiery temperament, William had the sobriquet William Rufus or William the Red. William II Rufus was an unpopular king, especially with the church, as he showed little piety or morality. But as a great soldier, William continued in his father’s footsteps to push the Norman occupation across England. However, feuds between William and his older brother caused instability throughout the reign.

Born 1056, Normandy
Parents William I the Conqueror & Matilda of Flanders
Married No
Children None
Died 2 August 1100 in the New Forest, Hampshire, buried at Winchester (43)

Reign 1087-1100 (12)
Crowned 26 September 1087, Westminster Abbey (30)
Predecessor William I the Conqueror (father)
Successor Henry I (brother)
House Normandy

Henry I (1100-1135)

Henry I of England was the youngest son of William the Conqueror. He was also the only Norman king who could read and write. This education came from his upbringing in the church, unlike his siblings. Henry I had a long and successful reign in England, and due to his ambitious nature, he expanded his kingdom into Normandy.

Born 1068, Selby, Yorkshire
Parents William I the Conqueror & Matilda of Flanders
Married Matilda of Scotland & Adeliza of Louvain
Children 4 inc William Aetheling & Matilda
Died 1 December 1135 at St Denis-en-Lyons, Rouen, buried at Reading Abbey (67)

Reign 1100-1135 (35)
Crowned 5 August 1100, Westminster Abbey (31)
Predecessor William II Rufus (brother)
Successor Stephen (nephew)
House Normandy

House of Blois

Stephen (1135-1154, break in 1141)

Stephen was not nominated as heir to the throne of England. His cousin, Matilda, who was Henry I’s daughter, was instead. Matilda had the strongest claim, and her father rallied for an oath to be sworn by his Anglo-Norman barons, before his death, that she would become Queen of England. Stephen of Blois was very well liked amongst most of his barons, and was very intelligent. However, he was not a ruthless warrior like his Norman predecessors, and this would cause problems later on in his reign.

Born 1097, Blois, France
Parents Stephen, Count of Blois & Adela of Normandy
Married Matilda of Boulogne
Children 5
Died 25 October 1154 at Dover, Kent (57), buried at Faversham, Kent

Reign 1135-1154 (18) (break in 1141)
Crowned 26 December 1135, Westminster Abbey (38) and again on 25 December 1141, Canterbury Cathedral (44)
Predecessor Henry I (uncle)
Successor Matilda (cousin) & Henry II (first cousin once removed)
House Blois

House of Normandy

Matilda (1141)

Born 7 February 1102
Parents Henry I & Matilda of Scotland
Married Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor & Geoffrey V of Anjou
Children 3 inc Henry II
Died 10 September 1167, Rouen, Normandy, buried Rouen Cathedral (65)

Reign 1141 (6 months)
Crowned No
Predecessor Stephen (cousin)
Successor Stephen (cousin)
House Normandy

House of Angevin

Henry II Plantagenet (1154-1189)

Henry II was the first in a long line of Plantagenet kings of England. Also known as Henry Plantagenet, Curtmantle or FitzEmpress, Henry was the son of Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou, and grandson of Henry I. A charismatic, intelligent man, who could speak many languages. Henry II was also renowned for his fiery temper, and extreme outbursts of anger. Perhaps this aggressive temperament made the king successful in controlling his vast Angevin lands, while also making peace after years of civil war left by Stephen.

Born 5 March 1133, Le Mans, France
Parents Geoffrey, Count of Anjou & Empress Matilda
Married Eleanor of Aquitaine
Children 8 inc Henry the young king, Richard I, John Lackland
Died 6 July 1189, Chinon Castle, France, buried Fontevraud, France (56)

Reign 1154-1189 (34)
Crowned 19 December 1154, Westminster Abbey (21)
Predecessor Stephen (first cousin once removed)
Successor Richard I Lionheart (son)
House Angevin

Richard I Lionheart (1189-1199)

Richard I was the third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the most successful. Favoured by his mother, Richard I became an outstanding warrior and something of a national hero. A far cry from his tyrannical younger brother, John. Richard became known as the Lionheart, or Coeur de Lion for his bravery and courage in battle. Particularly so with his victories against Saladin and the Saracens, during the Third Crusade.

Born 8 September 1157, Oxford
Parents Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine
Married Berengaria of Navarre
Children None
Died 6 April 1199, Chalus, France, buried at Fontevraud, France (41)

Reign 1189-1199 (9)
Crowned 3 September 1189, Westminster Abbey (31)
Predecessor Henry II Plantagenet (father)
Successor John (brother)
House Angevin

John (1199-1216)

John was the fourth and youngest legitimate son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. John was petulant, unstable, spoilt and cruel. His red hair matched his red-faced fury, when he flew into a classic Plantagenet rage. John was known as Lackland, which was a nick-name jokingly given to him, as he did not inherit any lands. However, he did receive the title Lord of Ireland, in 1177. His epithet would later be reinforced during his reign, as John would lose all his father’s lands in France.

Born 24 December 1166, Oxford
Parents Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine
Married Isabella of Gloucester & Isabella of Angouleme
Children 17 inc Henry III
Died 18 October 1216, Newark Castle, buried at Worcester Cathedral (49)

Reign 1199-1216 (17)
Crowned 27 May 1199, Westminster Abbey (32)
Predecessor Richard I Lionheart (brother)
Successor Henry III (son)
House Angevin

House of Plantagenent

Henry III (1216-1272)

Henry III was the eldest son of King John and Isabella of Angouleme. At the tender age of nine, his tyrannical father John died, and Henry of Winchester became Henry III of England. As Henry was too young to rule himself, the vastly experienced knight William Marshal, and the justiciar Hubert de Burgh, were appointed Regents of England until Henry came of age. Henry III did eventually rule on his own, and proceeded to reign for longer than any other medieval king of England. However, his reign was chequered with rebellion, failed battles, and costly invasions.

Born 1 October 1207, Winchester
Parents John & Isabella of Angouleme
Married Eleanor of Provence
Children 9 inc Edward I
Died 16 November 1272, Westminster, buried at Westminster Abbey (65)

Reign 1216-1272 (56)
Crowned 28 October 1216, Gloucester Cathedral (9), 17 May 1220, Westminster Abbey (12)
Predecessor John (father)
Successor Edward I (son)
House Plantagenet

Edward I Longshanks (1272-1307)

Edward I was the eldest son of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. Edward I was a fine soldier, and when he left for the 8th and 9th Crusades, he learned he had succeeded to the throne. Edward was a quick tempered Plantagenet, with relentless determination. His ambition was to rule over the entire island of Great Britain, but Scotland would prove very difficult to subdue. With continued Scottish resistance and Welsh rebellion, Edward I’s reign would be dominated by castle building and battles, in a life-long effort to rule the kingdom outright.

Born 17 June 1239, Westminster
Parents Henry III & Eleanor of Provence
Married Eleanor of Castile & Margaret of France
Children 19 inc Edward II
Died 7 July 1307, Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria, buried at Westminster Abbey (68)

Reign 1272-1307 (34)
Crowned 19 August 1274, Westminster Abbey (35)
Predecessor Henry III (father)
Successor Edward II (son)
House Plantagenet

Edward II (1307-1327)

Edward II was the fourth son of King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile. Edward’s three older brothers died during childhood, leaving him as heir to the throne of England. In 1301, when Edward was just 16, his father bestowed the title ‘Prince of Wales’ onto him. Edward II was good looking, tall and strong, despite popular belief that he was feeble. He enjoyed outdoor activities, like husbandry and rowing in particular. Edward also played music and indulged in the arts. However, the king lacked the leadership of his father, and possessed a poor judge of character, which would eventually lead to his downfall.

Born 25 April 1284, Caernarfon Castle, Wales
Parents Edward I & Eleanor of Castile
Married Isabella of France
Children 4 inc Edward III
Died 21 September 1327, Berkeley Castle, buried at Gloucester Cathedral (43)

Reign 1307-1327 (19)
Crowned 25 February 1308, Westminster Abbey (23)
Predecessor Edward I (father)
Successor Edward III (son)
House Plantagenet

Edward III (1327-1377)

Edward III was the first son of Edward II and Isabella of France. Edward acceded his father at the tender age of 14, and went on to become one of England’s most popular and successful kings. The People’s favourite, Edward III was flamboyant, generous and a victorious warrior king. He regained lands in France, united his court and his barons’ favour through Parliament, and banished the demons from his father’s reign. Yet his life ended with his heir already dead, his lands lost and his popularity in tatters.

Born 13 November 1312, Windsor Castle
Parents Edward II & Isabella of France
Married Philippa of Hainault
Children 16 inc Edward the Black Prince & John of Gaunt
Died 21 June 1377, Sheen Palace, buried at Westminster Abbey (64)

Reign 1327-1377 (50)
Crowned 1 February 1327, Westminster Abbey (14)
Predecessor Edward II (father)
Successor Richard II (grandson)
House Plantagenet

Richard II (1377-1399)

Born 6 January 1367, Bordeaux, France
Parents Edward the Black Prince & Joan of Kent
Married Anne of Bohemia & Isabella of Valois
Children None
Died 14 February 1400, Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire, buried at Kings Langley (33)

Reign 1377-1399 (22)
Crowned 16 July 1377, Westminster Abbey (10)
Predecessor Edward III (grandfather)
Successor Henry IV (cousin)
House Plantagenet

House of Lancaster

Henry IV Bolingbroke (1399-1413)

Born 15 April 1367, Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire
Parents John of Gaunt & Blanche of Lancaster
Married Mary de Bohun & Joan of Navarre
Children 7 inc Henry V
Died 20 March 1413, Westminster, buried at Canterbury Cathedral (45)

Reign 1399-1413 (13)
Crowned 13 October 1399, Westminster Abbey (32)
Predecessor Richard II (cousin)
Successor Henry V (son)
House Lancaster

Henry V (1413-1422)

Born 16 September 1386, Monmouth Castle, Wales
Parents Henry IV & Mary de Bohun
Married Catherine of Valois
Children 1, Henry VI
Died 31 August 1422, Vincennes, France, buried at Westminster Abbey (35)

Reign 1413-1422 (9)
Crowned 9 April 1413, Westminster Abbey (26)
Predecessor Henry IV (father)
Successor Henry VI (son)
House Lancaster

Henry VI (1422-1461)

Born 6 December 1421, Windsor Castle
Parents Henry V & Catherine of Valois
Married Margaret of Anjou
Children 1, Edward of Westminster
Died 21 May 1471, Tower of London, buried at Chertsey, reburied at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle (49)

Reign 1422-1461 (38) & 1470-1471 (5 months)
Crowned 6 November 1429, Westminster Abbey (7)
Predecessor Henry V (father)
Successor Edward IV (third cousin)
House Lancaster

House of York

Edward IV (1461-1470)

Born 28 April 1442, Rouen, Normandy
Parents Richard Duke of York, and Cecily Neville of York
Married Elizabeth Woodville
Children 14, inc Edward V & Richard Duke of York
Died 9 April 1483, Westminster, buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle (40)

Reign 1461-1470 (9) & 1471-1483 (11)
Crowned 28 June 1461, Westminster Abbey (19)
Predecessor Henry VI (third cousin)
Successor Henry VI (third cousin)
House York

House of Lancaster

Henry VI (1470-1471)

Born 6 December 1421, Windsor Castle
Parents Henry V & Catherine of Valois
Married Margaret of Anjou
Children 1, Edward of Westminster
Died 21 May 1471, Tower of London, buried at Chertsey, reburied at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle (49)

Reign 1422-1461 (38) & 1470-1471 (5 months)
Crowned 6 November 1429, Westminster Abbey (7)
Predecessor Edward IV (third cousin)
Successor Edward IV (third cousin)
House Lancaster

House of York

Edward IV (1471-1483)

Born 28 April 1442, Rouen, Normandy
Parents Richard Duke of York, and Cecily Neville of York
Married Elizabeth Woodville
Children 14, inc Edward V & Richard Duke of York
Died 9 April 1483, Westminster, buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle (40)

Reign 1461-1470 (9) & 1471-1483 (11)
Crowned 28 June 1461, Westminster Abbey (19)
Predecessor Henry VI (third cousin)
Successor Edward V (son)
House York

Edward V (1483)

Born 2 November 1470, Westminster
Parents Edward IV & Elizabeth Woodville
Married No
Children None
Died Unknown, presumed June-August 1483, Tower of London (12)

Reign 1483 (2-4 months)
Crowned No
Predecessor Edward IV (father)
Successor Richard III (uncle)
House York

Richard III (1483-1485)

Born 2 October 1452, Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire
Parents Richard Duke of York, and Cecily Neville of York
Married Anne Neville
Children 3
Died 22 August 1485, Battle of Bosworth, Leicestershire (32)

Reign 1483-1485 (2)
Crowned 6 July 1483, Westminster Abbey (30)
Predecessor Edward V (nephew)
Successor Henry VII Tudor (distant cousin)
House York

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