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Length of reign of British monarchs 827-2021

With the conquest of the kingdoms Mercia in 827, King Egbert of Wessex became the first ruler of the Anglo-Saxon people. Since this time, there have been 68 rulers of England and (since 1707) Great Britain. The majority of these rulers have inherited their title and crown from their mother or father, or as a result of their family ties, although some of the people on this list obtained their title through marriage or conquest, while others simply made a claim to the throne that was not always acknowledged by their subjects. The longest serving of these rulers is the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who has been the British monarch for over 68 years. The shortest reign on this list belongs to Lady Jane Grey in 1553, who had been named Edward VI's successor in his will, however Jane was deposed after just nine days by Edward's half-sister Mary I (Bloody Mary), and she was subsequently executed for treason at the age of 16.

Early Ruling Houses

This data begins in 827, when King Egbert of Wessex was the first ruler to be named "Bretwalda" (Britain-ruler), although his grandson, Alfred the Great, is regarded by historians to be the first widely-accepted ruler of England, after his defeat of the Vikings in the late 9th century. England was ruled mostly by the House of Wessex until William the Conqueror defeated Harold of House Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, marking the end of the Anglo-Saxon rule over England. Norman rule ushered in a new era of French influence in the British monarchy, and vice-versa. The next three centuries were dominated by the House of Plantagenet (which included the Houses of Lancaster and York, most commonly associated with the Wars of the Roses; Britain's bloodiest civil war).

The Houses of Tudor and Stuart

Arguably the most famous royal house, the House of Tudor, came into power in 1485, at the beginning of what we now call modern history. This house included Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I, whose lives have been widely publicized in popular culture, and it oversaw a period of heavy reform (and anti-reform). Following the Tudors was the House of Stuart, which oversaw most of the seventeenth century, however it was interrupted for a brief period in the 1650s. This interruption came as a result of Charles I's execution, where control passed from the monarchy to parliament, with 'Lord Protector' Oliver Cromwell (and later his son) at its head. The monarchy was re-established with the appointment of Charles II in 1660. The final Stuart was Queen Anne, who was the head of State during the Act of Union in 1707, which brought England and Scotland together as the United Kingdom. Until this point the monarchy of Scotland and England had a complicated history, with many monarchs acting as the heads of both states, however this act now brought these monarchies together.

The Houses of Hanover & Windsor

George I became the King of Britain following the death of Queen Anne in 1714, who died without any legitimate heir, and George was appointed as he was the closest non-Catholic with a claim to the throne (The Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Catholics from becoming the head of state). During the 18th and nineteenth centuries the monarchy gradually transformed into the more ceremonial role that it has today. The British Empire also expanded to all corners of the world during the reigns of the Hanoverians and Windsors, and the heads of state eventually became the king or queen of all of these dominions. The final Hanoverian was Queen Victoria, whose reign of 63 years and 217 days is the second longest on this list, and this time is commonly known as the Victorian period. The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha took over the monarchy following the death of Victoria in 1901, however their name was changed to Windsor in 1917, to avoid association with Germany during the First World War. Since 1952, Elizabeth II has been the Queen of Britain and the Commonwealth, making her the longest serving British monarch in history. She will be most likely be succeeded by her son Charles, Prince of Wales.

Length of each English and British monarch's reign from 827 to 2021 in years

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Release date

January 2021


United Kingdom

Survey time period

872 to 2021

Supplementary notes

*As of January 04, 2020.
**Queen of England for 12.4 years, Queen of Britain for 7.25 years
***Both reigned twice, due to turmoil caused by Wars of the Roses
England was ruled by a Rump Parliament from 1649-1653

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Statistics on "The British Royal Family (UK)"

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