List of monarchs in Britain by length of reign

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The following is a list, ordered by length of reign, of the monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1927-present), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801-1927), the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707-1801), the Kingdom of England (871-1707), the Kingdom of Scotland (878-1707), the Kingdom of Ireland (1542-1800), and the Principality of Wales (1216–1542).

Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015 when she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria.[1][2] The longest claim by a pretender was that of James Francis Edward Stuart (the "Old Pretender"), who was the Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland for 64 years, 3 months, and 16 days (17 September 1701 – 1 January 1766).

Overall[edit]

These are the ten longest reigning monarchs in Britain for which there is reliable recorded evidence.

No. Name Reign Duration
From To Days Years, days
1 Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom 6 February 1952 Present 23,722 64 years, 346 days
2 Victoria of the United Kingdom 20 June 1837 22 January 1901 23,226 63 years, 216 days
3 George III of the United Kingdom 25 October 1760 29 January 1820 21,644 59 years, 96 days
4 James VI of Scotland 24 July 1567 27 March 1625 21,066 57 years, 246 days
5 Henry III of England and Lord of Ireland 18 October 1216 16 November 1272 20,483 56 years, 29 days
6 Edward III of England and Lord of Ireland 25 January 1327 20 June 1377 18,410 50 years, 147 days
7 William I of Scotland 9 December 1165 4 December 1214 17,892 48 years, 360 days
8= Llywelyn of Gwynedd 1195 11 April 1240 16,173–16,902 c. 44–45 years
8= Elizabeth I of England and Ireland 17 November 1558 24 March 1603 16,198 44 years, 127 days
10 David II of Scotland 7 June 1329 22 February 1371 15,235 41 years, 260 days

Gallery[edit]

Elizabeth II[edit]

On 9 September 2015 (at the age of 89 years, 141 days), Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning female monarch in world history.[3][4] On 23 May 2016 (at the age of 90 years, 32 days), her reign surpassed the claimed reign of James Francis Edward Stuart (the "Old Pretender").[5] On 13 October 2016 (at the age of 90 years, 175 days), she became the world's longest-reigning current monarch (and the world's longest-serving current head of state) after the death of Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), King of Thailand.[6][7]

Should she still be reigning on –

  • 18 July 2020 (at age 94 years, 88 days), she would have been queen for 25,000 days.[8]
  • 6 February 2022 (at age 95 years, 291 days), she would celebrate her platinum jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne.[9]
  • 27 May 2024 (at age 98 years, 36 days), she would surpass Louis XIV of France as the longest-reigning monarch of a major country in European history.[10]
  • 17 October 2034 (at age 108 years, 179 days), she would surpass Sobhuza II of Swaziland as the longest verifiable reigning monarch in world history.

Unitary monarchy[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

On 1 January 1801 the Kingdom of Great Britain united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, becoming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland by Act of Parliament in 1927[11] following the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Name Reign Duration
From To (days) (years, days)
Elizabeth II 6 February 1952 Present 23,722 64 years, 346 days
Victoria 20 June 1837 22 January 1901 23,226 63 years, 216 days
George V 6 May 1910 20 January 1936 9,390 25 years, 259 days
George III [12] 1 January 1801 29 January 1820 6,967 19 years, 28 days
George VI 11 December 1936 6 February 1952 5,535 15 years, 57 days
George IV 29 January 1820 26 June 1830 3,801 10 years, 148 days
Edward VII 22 January 1901 6 May 1910 3,391 9 years, 104 days
William IV 26 June 1830 20 June 1837 2,551 6 years, 359 days
Edward VIII 20 January 1936 11 December 1936 326 326 days

Great Britain[edit]

On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union 1707, the Kingdom of England united with the Kingdom of Scotland as the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Name Reign Duration
From To (days) (years, days)
George III[12]
(also United Kingdom)
25 October 1760 1 January 1801 14,677 40 years, 68 days
George II 22 June 1727N.S. 25 October 1760 12,168 33 years, 114 days
George I 1 August 1714 11 June 1727 4,697 12 years, 314 days
Anne[13] 1 May 1707 1 August 1714 2,649 7 years, 92 days

Kingdoms[edit]

England[edit]

Includes English monarchs from the installation of Alfred the Great as King of Wessex in 871 to Anne (House of Stuart) and the Acts of Union on 1 May 1707, when the crown became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Name Reign Duration
From To (days) (years, days)
Henry III 18 or 19 October 1216 16 November 1272 20,482
or 20,483
56 years, 28 days
or 29 days
Edward III 25 January 1327 21 June 1377 18,410 50 years, 147 days
Elizabeth I 17 November 1558 24 March 1603 16,198 44 years, 127 days
Henry VI[14] 31 August 1422
31 October 1470
 
4 March 1461
11 April 1471
 
14,065
162
Total: 14,227
38 years, 185 days
162 days
38 years, 347 days
Æthelred II[14] 18 March 978
3 February 1014
 
25 December 1013
23 April 1016
 
13,065
810
Total: 13,875
35 years, 282 days
2 years, 80 days
37 years, 362 days
Henry VIII 22 April 1509 28 January 1547 13,795 37 years, 281 days
Charles II[15] 30 January 1649 6 February 1685 13,156 36 years, 7 days
Henry I 3 August 1100 1 December 1135 12,903 35 years, 120 days
Henry II
(co-ruler with Henry the Young King)
25 October 1154 6 July 1189 12,673 34 years, 254 days
Edward I 20 November 1272 7 July 1307 12,646 34 years, 229 days
Alfred 24 April 871 26 October 899 10,412 28 years, 185 days
Edward the Elder 27 October 899 17 July 924 9,029 24 years, 264 days
Charles I[16] 27 March 1625 30 January 1649 8,710 23 years, 309 days
Henry VII 22 August 1485 21 April 1509 8,642 23 years, 242 days
Edward the Confessor 8 June 1042 5 January 1066 8,612 23 years, 211 days
Richard II 22 June 1377 29 September 1399 8,134 22 years, 99 days
James I[17] 24 March 1603 27 March 1625 8,039 22 years, 3 days
Edward IV[14] 4 March 1461
11 April 1471
 
3 October 1470
9 April 1483
 
3,500
4,381
Total: 7,881
9 years, 213 days
11 years, 363 days
21 years, 211 days
William I 12 December 1066 9 September 1087 7,563 20 years, 258 days
Edward II 7 July 1307 20 January 1327 7,137 19 years, 197 days
Cnut 30 November 1016 12 November 1035 6,921 18 years, 347 days
Stephen[14] 22 December 1135
1 November 1141
 
7 April 1141
25 October 1154
 
1,933
4,741
Total: 6,674
5 years, 106 days
12 years, 358 days
18 years, 99 days
John 6 April 1199 19 October 1216 6,406 17 years, 196 days
Edgar I 1 October 959 8 July 975 5,759 15 years, 280 days
Æthelstan 2 August 924
(or 925)
27 October 939 5,564
or 5,199
15 years, 86 days
or 14 years, 86 days
Henry IV 29 September 1399 20 March 1413 4,920 13 years, 172 days
William III[18]
(co-ruler with Mary II)
13 February 1689 8 March 1702 4,770 13 years, 23 days
Henry the Young King
(co-ruler with Henry II)
14 June 1170 11 June 1183 4,745 12 years, 362 days
William II 9 September 1087 2 August 1100 4,710 12 years, 327 days
Richard I 6 July 1189 6 April 1199 3,561 9 years, 274 days
Eadred 26 May 946 23 November 955 3,468 9 years, 181 days
Henry V 21 March 1413 31 August 1422 3,450 9 years, 163 days
Edmund I 27 October 939 26 May 946 2,403 6 years, 211 days
Edward VI 28 January 1547 6 July 1553 2,351 6 years, 159 days
Mary II[19]
(co-ruler with William III)
13 February 1689 28 December 1694 2,144 5 years, 318 days
Mary I
19 July 1553 17 November 1558 1,947 5 years, 121 days
Anne[13]
(also Kingdom of Great Britain)
8 March 1702 30 April 1707 1,879 5 years, 53 days
Eadwig 23 November 955 1 October 959 1,408 3 years, 312 days
James II[20] 6 February 1685 11 December 1688 1,404 3 years, 309 days
Edward the Martyr 9 July 975 18 March 978 984 2 years, 253 days
Harold I 12 November 1037 17 March 1040 856 2 years, 126 days
Harthacnut 17 March 1040 8 June 1042 813 2 years, 83 days
Richard III 26 June 1483 22 August 1485 788 2 years, 57 days
Louis (disputed) 14 June 1216 22 September 1217 465 1 year, 100 days
Harold II 5 January 1066 14 October 1066 282 282 days
Edmund II 23 April 1016 30 November 1016 221 221 days
Matilda (disputed) 7 April 1141 1 November 1141 208 208 days
Edward V 9 April 1483 26 June 1483 78 78 days
Edgar II 15 October 1066 17 December 1066 63 63 days
Sweyn Forkbeard 25 December 1013 3 February 1014 40 40 days
Jane (disputed) 10 July 1553 19 July 1553 9 9 days

Scotland[edit]

Includes Scottish monarchs from the installation of Kenneth I (House of Alpin) in 848 to Anne (House of Stuart) and the Acts of Union on 1 May 1707, when the crown became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Name Reign Duration
From To (days) (years, days)
James VI[17] 24 July 1567 27 March 1625 21,066 57 years, 246 days
William I 9 December 1165 4 December 1214 17,892 48 years, 360 days
Constantine II 900 943 c. 15,500 c. 43 years
David II 7 June 1329 22 February 1371 15,235 41 years, 260 days
Alexander III 6 July 1249 19 March 1286 13,405 36 years, 256 days
Malcolm III 17 March 1058 13 November 1093 13,025 35 years, 241 days
Alexander II 4 December 1214 6 July 1249 12,633 34 years, 214 days
James I 4 April 1406 21 February 1437 11,281 30 years, 323 days
Malcolm II 25 March 1005 25 November 1034 10,837 29 years, 245 days
James V 9 September 1513 14 December 1542 10,688 29 years, 96 days
David I 23 April 1124 24 May 1153 10,623 29 years, 31 days
James III 3 August 1460 11 June 1488 10,174 27 years, 313 days
Charles II[15] 30 January 1649
29 May 1660
 
3 September 1651
6 February 1685
 
946
9,019
Total: 9,965
2 years, 216 days
24 years, 253 days
27 years, 104 days
James IV 11 June 1488 9 September 1513 9,220 25 years, 90 days
Mary I 14 December 1542 24 July 1567 8,988 24 years, 222 days
Charles I[16] 27 March 1625 30 January 1649 8,710 23 years, 309 days
Kenneth II 971 995 c. 8,700 c. 23-24 years
James II 21 February 1437 3 August 1460 8,564 23 years, 164 days
Robert I 25 March 1306 7 June 1329 8,475 23 years, 74 days
Robert II 22 February 1371 19 April 1390 6,996 19 years, 56 days
Alexander I 8 January 1107 23 April 1124 6,315 17 years, 106 days
Macbeth 14 August 1040 15 August 1057 6,210 17 years, 1 day
Robert III 19 April 1390 4 April 1406 5,828 15 years, 350 days
Constantine I 862 877 c. 5,400 c. 15 years
Kenneth MacAlpin 843 13 February 858 c. 5,100 c. 14 years
William II[18] 11 May 1689 8 March 1702 4,683 12 years, 301 days
Malcolm IV 24 May 1153 9 December 1165 4,582 12 years, 199 days
Giric
(co-ruler with Eochaid?)
878 889 c. 4.000 c. 11 years
Donald II 889 900 c. 4,000 c. 11 years
Malcolm I 943 954 c. 3,600 c. 10-11 years
Edgar 1097 8 January 1107 c. 3,600 c. 10 years
Kenneth III 997 25 March 1005 c. 2,900 c. 8 years
Indulf 954 962 c. 2,700 c. 8 years
Duncan I 25 November 1034 14 August 1040 2,089 5 years, 263 days
Mary II[19] 11 April 1689 28 December 1694 2,087 5 years, 261 days
Amlaíb 971 977 c. 2,000 c. 5-6 years
Anne[13]
(also Kingdom of Great Britain)
8 March 1702 30 April 1707 1,879 5 years, 53 days
Dub 962 c. 966-967 c. 1,800 c. 5 years
Cuilén c. 966-967 971 c. 1,800 c. 5 years
Domnall mac Ailpín 858 13 April 862 c. 1.300 c. 4 years
James VII[21] 6 February 1685 11 December 1688
(claimed until 16 September 1701.)
1,404
(claimed 6,065.)
3 years, 309 days
claimed 16 years, 222 days
Margaret 25 November 1286 26 September 1290 1,401 3 years, 305 days
John Balliol 17 November 1292 10 July 1296 1,331 3 years, 236 days
Donald III 13 November 1093 1097 c. 1,000 c. 3-4 years
Constantine III 1095 1097 c. 700 c. 2 years
Áed mac Cináeda 877 878 c. 365 c. 1 year
Lulach 15 August 1057 17 March 1058 212 212 days
Duncan II May 1094 12 November 1094 c. 195 "less than 7 months"

Ireland[edit]

The High King of Ireland (846–1198) was primarily a titular title (with the exception of Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair who was regarded as the first "King of Ireland"). The later Kingdom of Ireland (1542–1800) came into being under the Crown of Ireland Act 1542, the long title of which was "An Act that the King of England, his Heirs and Successors, be Kings of Ireland". In 1801 the Irish crown became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Name Reign Duration
From To (days) (years, days)
Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair 1166 1193 c. 26-27 years
Edward Bruce (disputed) June 1315 14 October 1318 c. 3 years, 100 days
Brian Ua Néill (disputed) 1258 1260 c. 1-2 years

Principalities[edit]

Gwynedd[edit]

The Principality (or Kingdom) of Gwynedd (5th century–1216) was based in northwest Wales, its rulers were repeatedly acclaimed as "King of the Britons" before losing their power in civil wars or Saxon and Norman invasions. In 1216 it was superseded by the title Principality of Wales, although the new title was not first used until the 1240s.

Name Reign Duration
From To (days) (years, days)
Gruffudd ap Cynan 1081 1137 c. 55-56 years
Llywelyn the Great 1195 11 April 1240 >16,172 c. 44-45 years
Owain Gwynedd 1137 1170 >11,688 c. 33 years
Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd 1170 1195 >8,766 c. 25 years
Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd 1170 1170 <1 year

Wales[edit]

The Principality of Wales (1216-1542) was a client state of England for much of its history, except for brief periods when it was de facto independent under a Welsh Prince of Wales (see House of Aberffraw). From 1301 it was first used as a title of the English (and later British) heir apparent. The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 formally incorporated all of Wales within the Kingdom of England.

Name Reign Duration
From To (days) (years, days)
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd 1253 11 December 1282 >10,572 c. 29 years
Owain Glyndŵr (disputed) 16 September 1400 c. 1416 >5,585 c. 16 years
Owain Goch ap Gruffydd 25 February 1246 1255 >3,000 c. 9 years
Owain Lawgoch (disputed) May 1372 July 1378 >2,221 c. 6 years
Dafydd ap Llywelyn 12 April 1240 25 February 1246 2,145 5 years, 319 days
Dafydd ap Gruffydd 11 December 1282 3 October 1283 296 296 days

The longest-serving "Prince of Wales" was Albert Edward, later Edward VII, who served for 59 years, 1 month and 14 days. Charles, the longest-serving heir apparent, will surpass this record if he remains the Prince until 9 September 2017.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patricia Treble (30 December 2014). "Palace calculations: Queen Elizabeth II set to lap Victoria". Maclean's. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Official Website of the British Monarchy". Retrieved 5 September 2015. On 9 September 2015, The Queen will become the longest reigning British Monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria. 
  3. ^ Warren Gaebel. "Longest Reigning British Monarch". Warren Gaebel. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  4. ^ "Elizabeth is about to become Britain's longest-reigning queen. Here's how she's changed monarchy". The Spectator. 2015-01-03. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  5. ^ "Famous Stewarts". www.stewartsociety.org. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies at 88". BBC News. 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  7. ^ By PA  Oct 13, 2016. "Queen takes over longest reign mantle after Thailand's King Bhumibol dies - AOL News UK". Aol.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  8. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning British monarch". Deutsche Welle. 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  9. ^ Victoria Arbiter (September 9, 2015). "Queen Elizabeth II: The platinum monarch?". CNN. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  10. ^ Louis XIV. MSN Encarta. 2008. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  11. ^ "Royal And Parliamentary Titles Act 1927". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  12. ^ a b George III, King of Great Britain, became King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 January 1801.
  13. ^ a b c Anne, Queen of England and Queen of Scots, became Queen of Great Britain on 1 May 1707.
  14. ^ a b c d Monarch's total length of reign is the sum of the two reigns displayed.
  15. ^ a b Charles II King of England and King of Scots concurrently from 30 January 1649 to 6 February 1685.
  16. ^ a b Charles I was King of England and King of Scots concurrently.
  17. ^ a b James VI, King of Scots, became James I, King of England, in 1603.
  18. ^ a b William of Orange became William III, King of England, on 13 February 1689 and William II, King of Scots, on 11 May 1689.
  19. ^ a b Mary II became Queen of England on 13 February 1689 and Queen of Scots on 11 May 1689.
  20. ^ James was James II, King of England, and James VII, King of Scots, concurrently.
  21. ^ James was James II, King of England, and James VII, King of Scotland, concurrently.