List of UK monarchy records

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Reign of UK Monarchs[edit]

Full article: List of monarchs in Britain by length of reign


The longest reign of a British monarch is that of the current monarch, Elizabeth II (65 years, 49 days since 6 February 1952). The second longest reign is 63 years, 216 days of Victoria between 1837 and 1901. Queen Elizabeth II's reign became longer than Queen Victoria's on 9 September 2015. The third longest reign was that of George III, who reigned for 59 years 96 days between 1760 and 1820.

James Stuart, the Old Pretender, was a pretender to the throne from 16 September 1701 until his death on 1 January 1766, a total of 64 years 108 days.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has been the monarch's spouse (prince consort) since 6 February 1952, for a total of 65 years, 49 days, making him the longest-serving consort overall. The Queen consort with the longest tenure was Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was George III's consort for 57 years, 70 days, between 1761 and 1818.

When Prince Edward acceded as Edward VII, he was the longest-serving Prince of Wales, with a tenure of 59 years, 45 days. Prince Charles is the longest serving heir-apparent, Duke of Cornwall, and Duke of Rothesay, with a tenure of 65 years, 49 days. He gained this distinction on 21 April 2011, which was incidentally his mother's 85th birthday, but has only been Prince of Wales for 58 years, 244 days.

Margaret of Scotland, Countess of Kent was heiress-presumptive to William I of Scotland, Alexander II and Alexander III for a total of about 43 years, 14 days (her tenure as heiress-presumptive to Alexander II was also the longest single tenure at 26 years, 274 days). The longest-serving heir-presumptive (of either sex) was Robert II, who was heir-presumptive to Robert I and then David II for a total of 46 years, 353 days; he also served the longest single tenure (41 years, 260 days as heir-presumptive to David II).


The shortest-reigning monarch was Lady Jane Grey who ruled for 9 days from 6 July until 15 July 1553 (although she was only proclaimed queen by the Lords of the Council on 10 July). Note: Jane's reign is disputed.

The king with the shortest definitively known reign was Edgar the Ætheling who ruled for 2 months, 12 days in 1066 before submitting to William the Conqueror. Some records indicate that Sweyn Forkbeard reigned for only 40 days in 1013-4.[1]

The queen consort with the shortest tenure was Yolande de Dreux, second wife of Alexander III, who was queen for 154 days in 1285 and 1286.

Elizabeth I holds the records for the shortest tenure of an English heiress-presumptive (almost 2 years as heir-presumptive to Henry VIII) and the shortest-serving English heiress-presumptive (and heir-presumptive of either sex) was Lady Jane Grey's sister, The Lady Herbert of Cardiff (13 days).
The longest single tenure for a male heir-presumptive was Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, heir-presumptive to James II for 5 years, 144 days; the shortest total tenure as a male heir-presumptive was George I (54 days).

Mary Queen of Scots was heiress presumptive from birth until her accession at the age of 6 days.

Pretenders in Power[edit]

During the Middle Ages and the Mid-18th Century, a number of pretenders to the throne controlled all or a substantial portion of England:

Empress Matilda: Held King Stephen prisoner from 7 April to 1 November 1141 and controlled a substantial portion of country from 1141 to 1148.

Louis VIII of France: Controlled the Southeast of England and later the whole country briefly in during the First Barons' War from 1215 to 1217.

Henry the Young King led a revolt against his father Henry II and for several months in 1173–74 controlled much of England.

James III and VIII sent his son Bonnie Prince Charlie to reclaim his kingdom and the latter controlled Scotland and Northern England for several months in 1745.




The longest-lived British monarch and ruler is Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch, who is aged 90 years, 340 days.

The longest-lived consort is her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who is 95 years, 290 days old and is also the longest-lived male descendant of Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria's longest-lived descendant overall was Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (1883-1981) at 97 years 312 days (Prince Philip would surpass her in April 2019, and Queen Elizabeth II will pass her as longest-lived holder of a British royal title from birth in February 2024). The longest-lived holder of a British royal title by marriage was Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (1901-2004) at 102 years 319 days.

The longest-lived king was George III, who died at the age of 81 years, 239 days in 1820.

The longest-lived male ruler was Richard Cromwell who ruled as Lord Protector (1658-1659) who lived until the age of 85 years, 282 days.

The longest-lived queen consort was Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, consort to George VI, and mother of the current longest-lived British monarch, who was 101 years 238 days at the time of her death on 30 March 2002.


The youngest Scottish monarch to die was Margaret, Maid of Norway, who died at the age of 7 years, five months, and 18 days in 1290.

The youngest English monarch to die was Edward V, who was most likely murdered after he was deposed, when he was 12.

Heirs apparent[edit]

The present Prince of Wales is the oldest heir apparent at 68 years, 133 days.

The oldest heir apparent to an heir apparent was George V (aged 35 years 233 days at the death of Victoria). Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is currently 34 years, 279 days old and would surpass George V on February 10, 2018.

The oldest heir apparent to an heir apparent to an heir apparent was Edward VIII (aged 6 years 213 days at the death of Victoria). Prince George of Cambridge is currently 3 years, 248 days old and would surpass Edward VIII on February 20, 2020.

Age of accession[edit]


The oldest monarch at the start of his reign was William IV who succeeded to the throne in 1830 at the age of 64 years, 309 days. If the current Prince of Wales became the King today, he would be the oldest to do so at the age of 68 years, 133 days.

The oldest female monarch at the time of her accession was Mary I, aged 37 years, 151 days when she became queen in 1553.

The oldest queen consort was Alexandra of Denmark, wife of Edward VII, who was aged 56 years, 52 days when she became queen in 1901.


The youngest British monarch at the start her reign was Mary, Queen of Scots, who became queen aged 6 days in 1542. The youngest king was Henry VI, who was 8 months and 26 days old at the time of his accession.

The youngest queen consort was Isabella of Valois, second wife of Richard II, aged 6 years 11 months and 25 days when she became queen in 1396.

Age differences, outgoing and succeeding monarchs[edit]


The greatest age difference of an outgoing British monarch and successor was 54 years and 205 days between Edward III (born 13 November 1312) and his grandson Richard II (born 6 June 1367) who succeeded on the former's death on 21 January 1377.


The smallest age difference of an outgoing British monarch and successor was 1 year and 171 days between Edward VIII (born 23 June 1894) and his brother George VI (born 14 December 1895) who succeeded on the former's abdication on 11 December 1936.


Most marriages[edit]

Henry VIII was married six times, making him Britain's most-married monarch. The queen who was married the most times was Mary, Queen of Scots, who had three husbands. The most-married queen consort was Catherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII, who had four husbands.

Never married[edit]

William II, Edward V, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I all lived and died unmarried. In addition, Edward VIII was unmarried during his tenure as monarch, though he then married Wallis Simpson after his abdication.


The youngest monarch to marry was David II, who married Joan, daughter of Edward II when he was 4 years, 134 days old in 1328.

The youngest female monarch at the time of her marriage was Mary II, who was 15 years, 188 days old when she married William III in 1677.

The youngest queen consort was Isabella of Valois, who married Richard II when she was 6 years, 358 days old in 1396.


The oldest monarch at the time of his first marriage was William IV, who was 52 years, 324 days old when he married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen in 1818.

Mary I was the oldest queen at the time of her first marriage, aged 38 years, 157 days when she married Philip of Spain in 1554.

When second or subsequent marriages are included the oldest monarch at the time of his marriage was Edward I, whose second marriage was to Margaret of France in 1299 when he was 60 years, 83 days old and she was no more than 20.

The oldest queen consort at the time of her marriage was Maud, Countess of Huntingdon, who married David I when she was around 40 years old.


The longest marriage of a British sovereign is between Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who have been married since 20 November 1947, making their marriage 69 years, 127 days old.


The shortest marriage is between Alexander III of Scotland and Yolande, who were married for 4 months and 19 days from 1285-1286 until the former's death.



The British monarch with the most children was Henry I, who had 29 children (5 legitimate).

The queen regnant with the most children was Anne, who had 18 children (6 of whom survived infancy, but all 18 of them died before their mother).

Age of parents[edit]

At 15, Henry IV is the youngest King to father a child, prior to his accession.

The youngest queen regnant to give birth is Mary II, who gave birth to a stillborn child in 1678, prior to her accession, when she was just 16. The youngest mother to give birth to a monarch was Lady Margaret Beaufort, wife of Edmund Tudor, who was almost 14 when she gave birth to Henry VII in 1457

The oldest parent was Edward I, who fathered his last child, Eleanor, in 1306, when he was 66, almost 67 years old.

The oldest mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine, who gave birth to John, in 1166, when she was 44.

Physical attributes[edit]


By far the tallest British monarch was Edward IV, whose skeleton measures 6'4½" (1.94 m). Records indicate that when fully clad in armour he would have been about 6'7" (2 metres), an exceptional height for any man in the 15th century.

Both Edward Longshanks and Richard the Lionheart were also considered unusually tall for the mediaeval period - although contrary to popular belief, 'Longshanks' was not called that due to the length of his legs, but his arms; they were over a yard long (91 cm), though there is no evidence to suggest they were particularly disproportionate to the rest of his body.

The tallest queen was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was around 6 feet tall, which was exceptionally tall for a woman of this time.


The shortest British monarch (not counting those who ascended as minors) was most likely Queen Victoria, who stood only 5' (1.52 m) when in her 30s, and was possibly an inch or two shorter towards the end of her life.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McWhirter, Norris (1996). Guinness Book of Records. Guinness Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 0-85112-646-4.