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British kings and queens

Kings and queens of England timeline

Anglo-Saxon and Danish kings

Egbert (802–839) Egbert, King of Wessex, was the first monarch to establish stable rule over the whole of Anglo-Saxon England.

Aethelwulf (839–856) Aethelwulf was the son of Egbert. In 851 he defeated a Viking Danish army at the Battle of Aclea.

Aethelbald (856–860) The eldest son of Aethelwulf, Aethelbald was born around 834. He forced his father to abdicate upon his return from his pilgrimage to Rome.

Aethelbert (860–866) Aethelbert became king following the death of his brother Aethelbald.

Aethelred I (866–871) Aethelred succeeded his brother Aethelbert. His reign became a struggle against the invading Danish forces, who established the Viking kingdom of Yorvik.

Alfred the Great (871–899) Alfred became king of Wessex in 871 and spent the first years of his reign fighting the Vikings. After he defeated them in 878, he signed a treaty with their leader, Guthrum, dividing England in two along a line from London to Chester. Alfred ruled the land to the south but was recognized as overlord of the Viking-run territory, which was later known as the Danelaw, to the north.

Edward the Elder (899–924) Edward was the son of Alfred the Great. A bold soldier, he made substantial gains from the Danes.

Aethelstan (924–939) Son of Edward the Elder, Aethelstan extended the boundaries of his kingdom even further than his father had done. For the first time, all the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were brought together to create a unified England.

Edmund I (939–946) Edmund succeeded his half-bother Aethelstan as king at the age of 18. He re-established Anglo-Saxon control over northern England and suppressed rebellions by the Mercian Danes.

Eadred (946–955) The son of Edward the Elder by his third marriage to Eadgifu, Eadred succeeded his brother Edmund. He defeated the last Viking king of York, Eric Bloodaxe, in 954.

Eadwig (955–959) The eldest son of Edmund, Eadwig (Edwy) was about 16 when he was crowned king. Mercia and Northumbria broke away in rebellion during Eadwig’s short reign.

Edgar (959–975) The youngest son of Edmund, Edgar “the Peaceful” had been in dispute with his brother concerning succession to the throne. He was already king of Mercia and the Danelaw from 957, and succeeded his brother as king of England following Eadwig's death in 959.

Edward the Martyr (975–978) Eldest son of Edgar, Edward was crowned king when aged just 12. His claim to the throne was contested by the supporters of his even younger half-brother, Aethelred.  

Aethelred II (978–1013 and 1014–1016) Aethelred “the Unready”, the younger son of Edgar, became king at the age of about 10. He was forced to flee to Normandy in 1013 when Sweyn Forkbeard, King of the Danes, invaded England, but returned in 1014 after Sweyn's death.

Sweyn Forkbeard (1013–1014) The Danish king, Sweyn Forkbeard invaded England in 2013. He was pronounced king of England on Christmas Day 1013, becoming the first Danish king of England. Just five weeks later he was dead.

Edmund II Ironside (1016) The son of Aethelred and his first wife, Aelfgifu of York, Edmund Ironside was chosen to succeed Aethelred by the citizens of London—but much of the rest of the country had by that time been conquered by Cnut, who had succeeded his father, Sweyn, as the Danish king.

Cnut (1016–1035) Edmund Ironside agreed to divide the kingdom of England, with the Danish king, Cnut, ruling the north and Edmund the south. However, Edmund suddenly died, leaving the whole country to Cnut. A wise ruler, he created a large empire, including Denmark, Norway and parts of Sweden, as well as England.

Harold I (1035–1040) Harold I, known as Harold Harefoot, was the son of Cnut and his first wife, Aelfgifu. He and his half-brother Harthacnut divided up the kingdom of England between them after their father's death.

Harthacnut (1040–1042) Harthacnut was the son of Cnut and his second wife, Emma of Normandy, the former wife of Aethelred the Unready. On the death of his half-brother Harold Harefoot in 1040, the kingdom of England fell to Harthacnut alone.

Edward the Confessor (1042–1066) As the surviving son of Aethelred and his second wife Emma, Edward the Confessor  became the undisputed king. He gained a reputation as a skilled and powerful leader.

Harold II (1066) Harold II, originally called Harold Godwinson, was elected King of England by a council of high-ranking nobles and religious leaders following the death of Edward the Confessor. This decision infuriated William, Duke of Normandy, who believed the throne had been promised to him. Harold was killed at the Battle of Hastings.

Norman kings

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