The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the ruling monarch does not directly exercise the power of legislation writing, and has a rich history of royalty. The ruling monarchs of Britain can be traced back through centuries, with the Royal Family being descendants of King Alfred the Great, who’s reign began in 871. This article will look at the 10 British monarchs who reigned for the longest.
1. Elizabeth II 1952-Present (68 Years)
The Queen holds the record of longest serving British monarch, as well as being the longest serving monarch in the world. Before succeeding King George VI in 1952, Elizabeth trained as a driver and mechanic in the time of World War 2. Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947, having four children, with Prince Charles, the eldest, being the next in line for the throne.
2. Victoria 1837-1901 (63 Years)
Victoria became the Queen of England at the age of 18, succeeding William IV. During her reign, Victoria was the ruler of the largest empire in history: The British Empire. At the end of her reign, Victoria had the title of longest reigning British monarch, but has since dropped to second in our list.
3. George III 1760-1820 (59 Years)
After the death of his father, George III succeeded his grandfather, George II, as the King of Great Britain. Most famous for being the King at the time of the American revolution, George III suffered various illnesses and a genetic blood disorder. George III was the first king of the United Kingdom, as it was formed in 1801.
4. James I and VI 1567-1625 (57 Years)
James VI of Scotland also became James I of England in 1603, where he was the first King of the Kingdom of Great Britain. A famous feature of James’ time in rule was the authorisation of King James’ version of the bible, which then became the main text for the following 250 years.
5. Henry III 1216-1272 (56 Years)
Henry III became King at the young age of 9 upon the death of his father, King John. Much of the reign of Henry III was defined by a revolt against the monarchy, led by Simon de Montfort. The resulting action of this conflict was the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
6. Edward III 1327-1377 (50 Years)
Edward III was the King of England throughout the majority of the Hundred Years’ War with France. During his reign, Edward believed himself to have claim to the title of the King of France, further fuelling the conflict. Edward later renounced this title in exchange for the region of Aquitaine.
7. William I 1165-1214 (48 Years)
Commonly known as William the Lion, this addition to our list was the King of Scotland, having the second longest reign in Scottish history. William gained his nickname from his harsh battle strategy and military powers, helping with the revolt against King Henry II of England, during which he was captured by the English.
8. Llywelyn of Gwynedd 1195-1240 (45 Years)
The only Welsh entry to our list is Llywelyn the Great, who held the title Prince of Gwynedd, eventually becoming the King to all of Wales. Llywelyn maintained a good relationship with King John of England, also forming a treaty with England during that time. After this relationship deteriorated, Wales was forced to surrender lands to England, which were later recovered.
9. Elizabeth I 1558-1603 (44 Years)
Elizabeth I is the daughter of Henry VIII and the famously beheaded Anne Boleyn. Often regarded as one of England’s greatest ever monarchs, Elizabeth’s reign is seen as the ‘Golden Age’ in British history, with many great discoveries and art occurring at that time, such as William Shakespeare and Sir Francis Drake.
10. David II 1329-1371 (41 Years)
The reign of the King of Scots was filled with a continuing war with England, in which David was imprisoned by his enemy. David spent 11 years of his reign as a captive, as well as several years in exile in France. David II eventually found an agreement with Edward III for his release, which involved promising that an English King would be next in line to the Scottish throne.