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The Anglo-Saxon system was an elected monarchy, with preference given to the bloodline of previous monarchs, but choice mainly by perceived strength and wisdom. This was why the English Witan felt able to choose Harold to be king before the Norman invasion. This gradually changed to primogeniture, where the oldest male child of the monarch inherited (the matter of female children when there was no male heir was unclear, perhaps until Elizabeth I), but the former system lingered in the mind, leading to various points where the powerful felt they had the right of choice eg. The Glorious Revolution see below.
1) Dec. 1066 William I (The Conqueror, 1027-1087) Matilda of Flanders
2) Sep. 1087 William II (Rufus, son of 1, 10 1056-1100)
3) Aug. 1100 Henry I (Beauclerc, son of 1, 1068-1135)a)Matilda of Scotland, b)Adela of Louvain
4) Dec. 1135, Stephen (Nephew of 3, 1096-1154) (Stephen and Matilda wars) Matilda/Maud of Boulogne
5) Dec. 1154, Henry II (Plantagenet, son of Queen Matilda) (1133-1189) Eleanor of Aquitaine
6) Sep. 1189, Richard I (Lionheart, son of 5, 1157-1199) Berengaria of Navarre
7) May 1199, John I (Lackland, son of 5, 1167-1216)
a) Isabella of Gloucester, b) Isabella of Angouleme
8) Oct. 1216, Henry III, (son of 7, 1207-1272) Eleanor of Provence
9) Nov 1272, Edward I (Longshanks, son of 8, 1239-1307)a) Eleanor of Castile, b) Margaret of France.
10) Jul. 1307, Edward II (son of 9, 1284-1327) Isabella of France
11) Jan. 1327, Edward III (son of 10, 1312-1377) Philippa of Hainault
12) Jun. 1377 Richard II, (grandson of 11, 1367-1399)a) Anne of Bohemia, b) Isabella of France
13) Sep 1399, Henry IV (Lancastrian, grandson of 11, 1366-1413) Joan af Navarre
14) Mar. 1413, Henry V, (son of 13, 1387-1422) Cath. of Valois
15) Sep. 1422, Henry VI* (son of 14, 1421-1482) Mar. of Anjou
16) Mar 1461, Edward IV *(Descendant of 11 through the female line, 1442 -1483) Elizabeth Woodville
Oct 1470, Henry VI*
Apr 1471 Edward IV*
*Wars of the Roses. Lancastrian v York
17) Apr 1483, Edward V (son of 16, 1470-1483?)
18) Jun 1483, Richard III (bro. of 16, 1452-1485) Anne Neville
19) Aug 1485, Henry VII (Tudor, descended from 11, 1457-1509) Elizabeth of York
20) Apr 1509, Henry VIII (son of19, 1491-1547)a)Catherine of Aragon, b) Anne Boleyn, c) Jane Seymour, d) Anne of Cleves, e) Catherine Howard, f) Catherine Parr
21) Jan 1547, Edward IV (son of 20, 1537-1553)
22) Jul 1553, Jane (descendant of 19, 1537-1553)
23) Jul 1553, Mary (daughter of 20, 1516-1558)
24) Nov 1558, Elizabeth, (daughter of 20, 1533-1603)
25) Mar 1603, James I (descended from 19, James VI of Scotland, Stuart, 1566-1625) Anne of Denmark
26) Mar 1625, Charles I (son of 25, 1600-1649) Henrietta Maria of France
Civil War. Parliamentary rule, Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector
27) May 1660, Charles II (son of 26, 1630-1685) Catherine of Braganza
28) Feb 1685, James II (son of 26, 1633-1689) Mary of Modena
29) Feb 1689, Mary (daughter of 28, 1662-1702) and William of Orange (1650-1702)
30) Mar 1702, Anne (daughter of 28, 1665-1714)George of Denmark
31) Aug 1714 George I (great-grandson of 25, Hanoverian, 1660-1727) Sophia Dorothea of Celle
32) Jun 1727, George II (son of 31, 1683-1760)Caroline of Ansbach)
33) Oct 1760, George III (grandson of 32, 1738-1820)Charlotte of Mecklenburg)
Regency because of king's madness (1811-1820)
34) Jan 1820, George IV (son of 33, 1762-1830)Caroline of Brunswick
35) Jun 1830, William IV (son of 33, 1765-1837)Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen)
36) Jun 1837, Victoria (granddaughter of 33, 1819-1901)Albert of Saxe-Coberg
37) Jan 1901, Edward VII, (son of 36, 1841-1910)Alexandra of Denmark
38) May 1910, George V (son of 37, 1865-1936) Mary of Teck
39) Jan 1936, Edward VIII (son of 38, 1894-1972, abdicated)Wallis Simpson
40) Dec 1936, George VI (son of 38, 1895-1952)Elizabeth Bowes Lyon
41) Elizabeth II, (daughter of 40 1926-) Philip of Greece and Denmark.
Chief Events
Any English character is going to know certain key dates in English history, all connected to the monarchy. These include: 1066 Battle of Hastings. The Norman Conquest
1215 The signing of the Magna Carta, when King John was forced by his barons to give up some of the monarch's absolute powers. This can be said to be the beginning of constitutional monarch, which is the current system, and even of western democratic government. Except that, as noted above, the Anglo Saxon system had been more democratic until the Norman invasion.
1415 The Battle of Agincourt, (Henry V) a glorious victory against overwhelming odds against England's old rival, France. Rivalry with France is perpetual in English history.
1588 The Armada (Elizabeth I) a glorious victory against overwhelming odds against the Spanish invasion fleet. (Americans might think of England as the mighty power they defeated, but the English in most periods see themselves as the little island beating off the invading monster against the French, the Spanish, Napoleon, and Hitler. Even though the Normans are as much of the fabric of Englishness as the Anglo-Saxons, most English always have felt more empathy with the English side at Hastings.)
1602 Union of England and Scotland brought about by the succession of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England as James I. The Scots tend to feel the captital should have moved to Edinburgh.
1649 The execution of Charles I and the beginning of the Commonwealth. (Rule by Parliament without monarchy.)
1660 The Restoration. Return of the monarchy. Charles II
1688 The Glorious Revolution. Rejection of James II, who was Catholic, and invitation of William of Orange to be joint monarch with his wife, Mary.This begins a period of a struggle by the Stuarts to regain the throne, including two serious invasions/rebellions, the Jacobite risings in 1715, just after the death of Queen Anne, and 1745. The Stuarts gained most of their support from Scotland and France, England's ancient enemy and Scotland's ancient ally. Thus is was seen in many ways as a Scots v English struggle, and a Catholic v Protestant struggle. Ireland was often the entry point of choice for attempts at invasion. So, in the end, this contest led to oppressive acts in Ireland and Scotland, and repression of Catholicism since they were seen as possible enemies within.
1714 Hanoverian Succession. Death of Queen Anne and invitation of George of Hanover to be king.
1715 First Jacobite rising in favor of the Catholic Stuarts
1745 Second Jacobite rising led by "Bonnie Prince Charlie"
Neither rising had much support in England.
1811 Regency because of the madness of George III

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