List of shortest-reigning monarchs

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A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy, usually reigning for life, or until abdication or deposition. The reign of some monarchs has been notably short. Many of these monarchs acceded to the throne as a result of being first in an order of succession, while other monarchs claimed the throne as a result of some conflict.

The authenticity of some monarchs has been disputed, especially those who reigned during conflict. One factor in such debates is whether the monarch held the throne in a symbolic or nominal capacity. Two examples are

Obscure monarchs thought to have reigned less than a year[edit]

Note: Some of the following have been disputed as genuine monarchs

Name Country
or people
Royal house/dynasty Reign began Reign ended Length Comments
Shah Xerxes II King of Persia Achaemenid Empire 424 BC 424 BC 45 days
(1 month 15 days)
Removed from the throne by Sogdianus
Queen Cleopatra IV of Egypt Queen of Egypt Ptolemaic 116 BC 115 BC Pushed out of joint reign by her mother, Cleopatra III
King Yang Nanyue Zhao (Triệu) 111 BC 111 BC Captured and executed by the Han after his army was destroyed leading to 150 years of Chinese mastery.
Emperor Shao (Marquess of Beixiang) China Han Dynasty 125 125 Enthroned as a child, and died of illness later in the year.
Emperor Shao (Liu Bian) China Han Dynasty 189
(15 May)
(28 Sept)
4 months, 13 days Enthroned as a child, but deposed by Dong Zhuo later that year and murdered the next year.
King Ildibad Ostrogoths 540 541 Assassinated by a Gepid
King Eraric Ostrogoths 541 541 Assassinated by a member of his own royal guard.
Cenfus Wessex House of Cerdic 674 674 Given decent of Cynric
High King Fogartach mac Néill Ireland Uí Néill 724 724 Claimed by some to be the High King of Ireland for several months during a period of high conflict.
Duke Bezprym Duke of Poland Piast 1031 1032 The reason for his downfall was his extreme cruelty. According to the Chronicles of Hildesheim, he was murdered by his own men no later than spring of 1032. Probably the instigators of his death were his half-brothers, although the main conspirator was Otto, who remained free in Germany.
Kings Eric and Eric Sweden 1066 1067 After the death of king Stenkil of Sweden in 1066, these two fought for power with each other. They both died in battle the following year.
King Ragnvald Knaphövde Sweden 1125 1126 After the death of Inge the Younger in 1125, Ragnvald claimed the Swedish throne, but was killed by upset peasants in the following year.
King Magnus II Sweden 1160 1161 After the Danish prince Magnus had killed king Eric IX of Sweden in 1160, he proclaimed himself king, but was killed by his rival Charles Sverkersson the following year.
Jaya Harivarman II Champa 1167 1167
Jaya Indravarman V Champa 1191 1191
Emperor Constantine Laskaris Nicaea Laskaris 1204 1205 Constantine Laskaris was declared nominal Byzantine emperor after Alexios V Doukas was deposed as the Byzantine emperor by the Fourth Crusade.
Emperor Mạc Toàn Vietnam Mạc 1592 1592 Mạc Toàn succeeded Mạc Mậu Hợp for a short period after the latter was killed by the forces of Trịnh Tùng.

Less than a year[edit]

Note: Some of the following have been disputed as genuine monarchs.

Name Country Royal house/dynasty Reign began Reign ended Length Comments
King Jeonggang Silla (Korea) Kim July 886 5 July 887 ≈1 year After his death, his sister Man succeeded to the throne because he had no sons. She was named Queen Jinseong and was the last queen in Korean history.
King Chang of Goryeo Goryeo (Korea) Wang 1388 1389 ≈1 year When was in his reign, the general Yi Seong-gye took the throne as regent because he was only 7 years old when took the throne. He died on his first year of reign by being assassinated together with his father King U of Goryeo
Empress Lý Chiêu Hoàng Vietnam October 1224 21 October 1225 ≈1 year Succeeded to the throne through the suicide of her father Lý Huệ Tông. Renounced her claim on the throne in favour of her husband Trần Thái Tông, founder of the Trần Dynasty.
Emperor Hồ Quý Ly Vietnam Hồ February 1400 c. 1400–1401 ≈1 year Hồ Quý Ly succeeded to the throne after persuading emperor Trần Thuận Tông to relinquish power to a three-year-old prince named An. Trần Thuận Tông was then executed and the throne was seized from An. Hồ Quý Ly renounced the throne in favor of his son Hồ Hán Thương.
Tsar False Dmitry I All Russia 10 June 1606 17 May 1607 11 months, 7 days Claimed to be the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich. He was killed by the boyars.
Emperor Hàm Nghi Vietnam Nguyễn 1 August 1884 4 July 1885 11 months, 3 days Captured during the Mandarins' Revolt and the French replaced him with Đồng Khánh.
King Fuad II of Egypt Egypt and The Sudan Muhammad Ali 26 July 1952 18 June 1953 10 months, 23 days Succeeded with the abdication of his father, Farouk, following the Egyptian revolution of 1952. Never exercised real power over his country, as he was an infant and had been exiled with his father. His reign formally ended when Egypt was declared a republic.
King Edward VIII United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and British dominions Windsor 20 January 1936 11 December 1936 10 months, 22 days Abdicated in favour of his brother, George VI, to avoid a constitutional crisis.
Louise Hippolyte, Sovereign Princess of Monaco Principality of Monaco Grimaldi 20 February 1731 29 December 1731 10 months, 9 days Died of smallpox.
Emperor Agustín I Mexican Empire Iturbide 19 May 1822 19 March 1823 10 months Agustín I was proclaimed emperor by the Parliament of the newly independent Mexican Empire, but later deposed by Republican forces, leading to the foundation of the First Mexican Republic. His grandsons were later adopted by Mexico's second Emperor Maximilian I of the House of Habsburg in the 1860s.
King Injong Joseon (Korea) Yi November 1544 July 1545 ≈9 months Some historians believe that Injong was poisoned by the Smaller Yun faction, led by Yun Won-Hyung, to enable Injong's half-brother to ascend the throne.
King Lokissara Polonnaruwa 1211 1211 ≈9 months Leader of a Tamil army and usurper of the Sinhala throne.
Emperor Leo II Byzantine Empire Leonid Dynasty 18 January 474 17 November 474 9 months, 30 days Appointed co-emperor by his grandfather Leo I on 18 November 473, before ascending the throne upon Leo I's death. As he was still a child, his father Zeno was made co-emperor on 9 February 474. Died soon after and was succeeded by Zeno.
Tsar Dmitriy I Russia Rurik (impostor) 21 July 1605 17 May 1606 9 months, 27 days An impostor, Dmitriy took the throne of Russia upon the death of Boris Godunov. He was killed during an assault on the Kremlin.
King Christian II Sweden Oldenburg 1 November 1520 23 August 1521 9 months, 22 days After conquering Sweden in the spring and summer of 1520, King Christian II of Denmark and Norway entered the defeated Swedish capital of Stockholm on 7 September 1520. On 1 November he was elected and on 4 November he was crowned king of Sweden. On 23 August 1521, he was officially deposed, when Gustav Vasa was elected regent of Sweden at a meeting in Vadstena.
King Harold II Kingdom of England Wessex 5 January 1066 14 October 1066 9 months, 9 days Killed at the Battle of Hastings by Norman forces.
Maharajah Manava Gauda, Bengal Shashanka 625 626 ≈8 months After the death of Shashanka and his brief reign, Gauda was conquered by an alliance of Harshavardhana and Bhaskaravarman.
Emir Habibullah Ghazi Afghanistan 17 January 1929 13 October 1929 8 months, 26 days Habibullah Ghazi succeeded Inayatullah Khan Seraj, who had abdicated in his favour after just three days. Habibullah Ghazi's reign soon ended when he was deposed and executed by Mohammed Nadir Shah.
Emperor Le Nghi Dan Vietnam 28 October 1459 24 June 1460 8 months, 25 days Succeeded to the throne by leading a revolt against and killing his younger brother Lê Nhân Tông. Nghi Dan's reign ended in another revolution in which he was killed and replaced by his younger brother Lê Thánh Tông.
Emperor Vitellius Roman Empire Year of the Four Emperors 16 April 69 22 December 69 8 months, 6 days Attempted to abdicate in favour of Vespasian, but was prevented from doing so by his own troops. When Vespasian reached the capital, his troops killed Vitellius on the Gemonian stairs and cast into the Tiber
King Phelles Tyre Dynasty of four brothers 879 BC 879 BC 8 months Legendary king of Tyre, known only through Josephes and, by proxy[clarification needed], through Menander of Ephesus.
Claudine, Lady of Monaco Monaco Grimaldi July 1457 16 March 1458 8 months Abdicated in favour of her cousin, Lamberto, whom she married in 1465.
Emperor Kiến Phúc Vietnam Nguyễn 2 December 1883 31 July 1884 7 months, 29 days Succeeded the throne after the murder of emperor Hiệp Hoà. Kiến Phúc was also murdered and succeeded by Hàm Nghi (who also reigned less than a year).
King Louis I Spain Bourbon 14 January 1724 31 August 1724 7 months, 17 days Succeeded with the abdication of his father, Philip V. Philip regained the throne following Louis' death from smallpox.
Matilda, Lady of the English England Plantagenet / Salian / Normandy Spring 1141 Autumn 1141 c. 5–9 months Forces loyal to Matilda, the daughter of Henry I, captured King Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln on 2 February 1141. Matilda was never crowned, and following her defeat at the Rout of Winchester on 14 September 1141, Stephen was released in November. Matilda's son succeeded Stephen in 1154 as Henry II.
Emperor Galba Roman Empire Year of the Four Emperors 8 June 68 15 January 69 7 months, 7 days Assassinated after adopting Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus as his heir instead of Otho, who succeeded him. His head and trunk were buried by the Via Aurelia.
King Edmund II England Wessex 23 April 1016 30 November 1016 7 months, 7 days Edmund's kingdom was ceded to Canute I after his death, the cause of which is uncertain.
King Lulach King of Scots Moray 15 August 1057 17 March 1058 7 months, 2 days Succeeded his stepfather, Macbeth, who was killed in battle against Malcolm Canmore. Lulach was himself killed by Malcolm, who succeeded him.
Emperor Heraklonas Byzantine Empire Heraclian 11 February 641 September 641 ≈7 months Heraklonas became joint co-emperor with his brother Constantine III at the time of his father's death and then sole emperor on the death of his brother Constantine III in May 641. Heroklonas was then forced to accept Constantine III's son as joint emperor Constans II. Heroklonas was then mutilated and banished after a revolt, leaving Constans II as sole emperor.
Bardiya Persian Empire Achaemenid early 522 BCE September 522 BCE ≈7 months Bardiya was either a son of Cyrus the Great or an impostor, he seized power from Cambyses II and was assassinated by Darius the Great.
King Hildeprand King of the Lombards January 744 <August 744 <7 months Deposed and dead by August 744.
Pharaoh Nedjemibre Pharaoh of Egypt Thirteenth Dynasty c. 1780 BC c. 1780 BC 7 months[1] One of many contemporary pharaohs of the Second Intermediate period
Shah Sogdianus Shah of Persia Achaemenid Empire 424 BC 424 BC 6 months, 15 days Reigned briefly during a power struggle, was succeeded by Darius II
Emperor Amha Selassie Ethiopia Solomon 12 September 1974 12 March 1975 6 months Proclaimed Emperor by the Derg while receiving medical treatment in Switzerland, following the deposition of his father, Haile Selassie. He did not accept this proclamation as legitimate, and did not return to Ethiopia. The monarchy was abolished in March 1975.
Emperor Dương Nhật Lễ Vietnam Trần 1369 20 May 1370 >6 months Dethroned and killed. Replaced by Trần Phủ.
Mbret William Albania Wied 7 March 1914 3 September 1914 6 months, 27 days William accepted a request from Albania to be its sovereign and soon, due to the outbreak of the First World War and civil war within Albania, fled into exile. Albania officially declared itself a republic on 31 January 1925.
King Charles I King of Norway Bonde 25 October 1449 13 May 1450 6 months, 18 days Charles was elected king in Trondheim after the death of Christopher of Bavaria, but Christian I had more supporters in southern Norway and was able to force Charles' abdication.
King Christian Frederik Norway Oldenburg 16 February 1814 28 August 1814 6 months, 12 days Christian Frederick was made King of Norway upon its independence from Denmark after defeat in the Napoleonic Wars and the Treaty of Kiel. Later in 1814 after an invasion by Sweden Christian Frederick renounced the throne after the Convention of Moss. Christian Frederick would later become King Christian VIII of Denmark.
Prince Dafydd ap Gruffudd Wales Gwynedd 11 December 1282 22 June 1283 6 months, 11 days Succeeded to the princeship of Wales on the death of his brother Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. For most of his reign his rule was confined solely to Gwynedd due to the invasion of Wales by Edward I of England. He was captured in June 1283 and subsequently executed.
Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah Zanzibar Al Sa'id 1 July 1963 12 January 1964 6 months, 11 days Jamshid bin Abdullah's short reign was brought to an end by the Zanzibar revolution and the abolition of the sultanate.
Tsar Peter III of Russia Russia Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov 5 January 1762 9 July 1762 6 months, 4 days Wildly unpopular and barely able to even speak the Russian language, he was dethroned (and possibly killed) by his own consort, who became Catherine II.
Emperor Lê Túc Tông Vietnam 6 June 1504 7 December 1504 6 months, 1 day Lê Túc Tông was possibly murdered by his older brother and successor Lê Uy Mục.
King David V Kingdom of Georgia Bagrationi c. 1154 c. 1155 ≈6 months David V was murdered by his nobles and succeeded by his alienated brother, George III.
King Donald III King of Scots Dunkeld 13 November 1093 May 1094 ≈6 months Succeeded his brother, Malcolm III, only to be overthrown by Malcolm's son Duncan II (below). Regained the throne upon Duncan's death and reigned until being overthrown again in 1097.
King Duncan II King of Scots Dunkeld May 1094 12 November 1094 ≈6 months Seized the throne from his uncle, Donald III (above). Killed in battle against Donald, or possibly murdered.
King Zechariah of Israel Israel House of Omri 754 BC[2] 753 BC 6 months[3] Biblical King of Israel from the Second Book of Kings
Emperor Alexios IV Angelos Byzantine Empire Angelos 1 August 1203 27 January 1204 5 months, 26 days Co-emperor with his father, Isaac II Angelos, who regained the throne from his brother Alexios III Angelos when the Fourth Crusade arrived in Constantinople. Alexios IV was the effective ruler, as Isaac had been blinded by Alexios III. He soon lost the support of the crusaders and the citizens of Constantinople, and was overthrown and imprisoned by Alexios V Doukas, who then had him strangled. Isaac died at around the same time, probably of natural causes.
Emperor Wu Sangui China Great Zhou March 1678 August 1678 ≈5 months Wu Sangui proclaimed himself Emperor of a new Zhou Dynasty and was soon quashed by Kangxi. Wu Sangui had also been instrumental in the removal of Emperor Li Zicheng.
King George VII King of Imereti Bagrationi June 1712 November 1713 ≈5 months Also reigned in other periods of time.
Emperor Isaac II Angelos Byzantine Empire Angelos 1 August 1203 c. January 1204 ≈5 months Reigned from 1185 until 1195 when he was deposed, blinded and imprisoned by his brother Alexios III Angelos. When the Fourth Crusade arrived in Constantinople, Alexios III fled and Isaac was restored to the throne, with his son Alexios IV Angelos as co-emperor. Died, probably of natural causes, at around the same time Alexios IV was overthrown and imprisoned by Alexios V Doukas.
King Charles VIII of Sweden King of Sweden Bonde 9 August 1464 30 January 1465 5 months, 21 days Charles, who had been removed from office 7 years prior, was recalled during a rebellion, but soon found his luck changed and was forced out of office a second time. He would return to claim the throne a third time in 1467.
Duke Eduard Anhalt Ascania 21 April 1918 13 September 1918 4 months, 23 days Succeeded with the death of his brother, Friedrich II, only to himself die five months later. The throne then passed to his teenage son, Joachim Ernst (below).
King Ntare V Burundi Ntwero 8 July 1966 28 November 1966 4 months, 20 days He deposed his father Mwambutsa IV, and four months later he himself was deposed in a military coup by Michel Micombero, who proclaimed the Republic.
Prince Alexander Hangerli Moldavia Phanariotes 7 March 1807 24 July 1807 4 months, 17 days Sultan Selim III appointed him Prince of Moldavia in place of the deposed Alexander Mourousis, only to be replaced by Scarlat Callimachi less than half a year later. Sources diverge in respect to the reason for this measure.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Hisamuddin of Selangor Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia Selangor 14 April 1960 1 September 1960 4 months, 17 days Hisamuddin was elected after the death of Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan and died himself within 5 months. That year Malaysia had three Yang di-Pertuan Agongs.
Duke Charles II Parma Bourbon-Parma 17 December 1847 19 April 1848 4 months, 2 days Charles II abdicated in favour of his son Charles III after the revolution of 1848. Charles II had previously succeeded his father King Louis I of Etruria to become Louis I from 27 May 1803 to 1807 when it was annexed by France and succeeded his mother Maria Louisa to become Duke Charles I of Lucca from 13 March 1824 to 1847 when it was annexed by Tuscany.
Pharaoh Renseneb Egypt Thirteenth Dynasty c. 1775 BC c. 1775 BC 4 months Pharaoh of the Second Intermediate period. Attested 4 months in the Turin Papyrus
Emperor Hiệp Hoà Vietnam Nguyễn 30 July 1883 29 November 1883 3 months, 29 days Succeeded the throne after the death of emperor Dục Đức after a reign of 3 days. Hiệp Hoà was murdered and succeeded by Kiến Phúc (who also reigned less than a year).
King Mindaugas II Lithuania Württemberg 11 July 1918 2 November 1918 3 months, 21 days Mindaugas II was elected King by the Council of Lithuania soon after independence from the Russian Empire and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The council soon changed its decision and declared Lithuania a republic.
King Jehoiachin of Judah Judah House of David 9 December 599 BC[4] 16 March 599 BC 3 months, 10 days[5] Biblical King from the Second Book of Kings.
Kaiser/King Frederick III German Empire and Prussia Hohenzollern 9 March 1888 15 June 1888 3 months, 6 days Succeeded his father, Wilhelm I. At this point, he had terminal laryngeal cancer and was unable to speak during his brief reign. He was succeeded by his son Wilhelm II.
Sultan Murad V Ottoman Empire Osman 30 May 1876 31 August 1876 3 months, 1 day Succeeded with the deposition of his uncle, Abdülaziz, who died several days later. Murad was himself deposed in favour of his brother, Abdul Hamid II, on the grounds that he was mentally ill.
Emperor Otho Roman Empire Year of the Four Emperors 15 January 69 16 April 69 3 months, 1 day Committed suicide after his forces were defeated in the First Battle of Bedriacum by the forces of his successor, Vitellius.
King Ansprand King of the Lombards Mars 712 June 712 3 months
King Teia King of the Ostrogoths 1 July 552 October 552 ≈3 months Probably killed at the Battle of Mons Lactarius.
King George VIII King of Imereti Gurieli 15 March 1720 June 1720 ≈3 months 1726
Emperor Constantine III Byzantine Empire Heraclian 11 February 641 May 641 ≈3 months Constantine III was junior co-emperor with his father Heraclius from 22 January 613 until his death 11 February 641. Constantine III then became joint co-emperor with his brother Heraklonas who was sole emperor after Constantine III's death.
King Sinmu Silla (Korea) Kim April 839 July 839 ≈3 months He killed King Minae and succeeded the throne, but died by furuncle on his back after three months.
King Sunjong Goryeo (Korea) Wang July 1083 October 1083 ≈3 months King Sunjong is the shortest reigning monarch in Korean history.
King Jehoahaz of Judah Judah House of David July 610 BC[6] October 610 BC 3 months[7] Biblical King from the Second Book of Kings.
Emperor Pertinax Roman Empire Year of the Five Emperors 1 January 193 28 March 193 2 months, 28 days Assassinated by his Praetorian Guards, who then auctioned off the throne to the highest bidder.
Queen Berengaria Castile(Spain) Anscarids 6 June 1217 31 August 1217 2 months, 25 days Abdicated her throne to her son, in order to unify Castile and León and avoid a civil war.
Emperor Yuan Shikai China Yuan 1 January 1916 22 March 1916 2 months, 22 days President Yuan Shikai declared himself emperor of his newly created Chinese Empire on 1 January 1916. Due to the unpopularity of the new Empire he reverted to being the president of the Republic of China until his death on 5 June 1916.
Despot Stephen Tomašević Serbia 1 April 1459 20 June 1459 2 months, 20 days Became despot of Serbia to unite forces with Bosnia, but shortly after taking power, he agrees to leave Serbia to the Ottomans.
King Pedro IV Portugal Braganza 10 March 1826 28 May 1826 2 months, 18 days Became the first Emperor of Brazil in 1822 after declaring that country's independence from Portugal. Succeeded the Portuguese throne with the death of his father, João VI, but abdicated in favour of his daughter, Maria II, in the awareness that a reunion of Brazil and Portugal would be unacceptable to the people of both nations. He abdicated the Brazilian throne in 1831, in favour of his son Pedro II.
King Edward V England York 9 April 1483 25 June 1483 2 months, 16 days Succeeded with the death of his father, Edward IV. Deposed after he and his brother Richard, Duke of York, were declared illegitimate; their uncle then ascended the throne as Richard III. The young princes disappeared from the Tower of London later in 1483.
King Philip I Castile (Spain) Habsburg 12 July 1506 25 September 1506 2 months, 13 days Declared his wife, the sovereign Queen Joanna I, insane in order to rule in her place. He then died, apparently of typhoid fever, although rumors claimed he was poisoned by King Ferdinand of Aragon.
Seventh Dynasty of Egypt (usually considered spurious) Ancient Egypt Seventh Dynasty of Egypt c. 2180 BC c. 2180 BC 70 days According to Africanus (c. AD 160-240), Manetho (3rd century BC) claims that 70 kings reigned for a total of 70 days.
Ibrahim ibn al-Walid Umayyad Caliphate Umayyad, Marwanid branch 744 744 70 days
Emperor Alexios V Doukas Byzantine Empire Doukas 5 February 1204 12 April 1204 2 months, 7 days Seized the throne after overthrowing and imprisoning Alexios IV Angelos, whose father and co-emperor, Isaac II Angelos, died at around the same time. His decision to have Alexios IV killed angered the army of the Fourth Crusade, who ultimately sacked Constantinople. Alexios V fled to Mosynopolis, where he was blinded on the orders of his father-in-law, the previously deposed Alexios III Angelos, before being brought back to Constantinople and executed for treason.
Emperor Didius Julianus Roman Empire Year of the Five Emperors 28 March 193 1 June 193 2 months, 5 days Purchased the throne after the Praetorian Guards auctioned it off. Faced revolt by General Septimius Severus who captured and executed him.
King Frederick Charles Finland Hesse-Kassel 9 October 1918 14 December 1918 2 months, 5 days Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse was elected king by the newly independent Kingdom of Finland and due to German defeat in the First World War renounced his title without travelling to his own kingdom.
King Mamia III Gurieli King of Imereti Gurieli November 1713 5 January 1714 ≈2 months reigned for around a year (1701–1702), eight months (October 1711 – June 1712), three months (November 1713-5 January 1714)
Chúa Trịnh Cán Vietnam Trịnh 1782 1782 ≈2 months Trịnh Cán succeeded his father Trịnh Sâm to the throne aged 6 years and his half brother Trịnh Khải soon killed him and usurped his throne.
Duke Joachim Ernst Anhalt Ascania 13 September 1918 12 November 1918 1 month, 30 days Succeeded with the death of his father, Eduard (above). Abdicated during the German Revolution at the end of the First World War, with the Duchy then becoming the Free State of Anhalt. Died in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1947, as a prisoner of the Soviet Union.
King Bolesław I Chrobry Poland Piast 18 April 1025 17 June 1025 1 month, 30 days Duke of Poland from 992; crowned himself King in 1025. Died not long after his coronation, most likely due to an illness.
King Edgar II Kingdom of England Wessex 15 October 1066 10 December 1066 1 month, 25 days Grandson of Edmund II (above). Elected king by the Witenagemot following the death of Harold II at the Battle of Hastings but never crowned; subsequently submitted to William the Conqueror.
King Charles II Hungary Capetian House of Anjou 31 December 1385 24 February 1386 1 month, 24 days After the death of Louis I, he had claimed the Hungarian throne as the senior Angevin male, and ousted Louis' daughter Mary in December 1385. He was murdered in February 1386.
Tsar Feodor II All Russia Godunov 23 April 1605 20 June 1605 1 month, 22 days Tsar Feodor II succeeded to the throne after the death of his father Boris Godunov and was soon after killed during the Time of Troubles.
Emperor Ziying China mid-October 207 BC December 207 BC 1 month, 16 days Ziying was the last ruler of the Qin Dynasty of China
Sultan Al-Mansur Abu Bakr Mamluk Egypt 17 June 1341 5 August 1341 49 days He was deposed and arrested by his father's senior emir, Qawsun. After being sent to prison, he was executed on Qawsun's orders two months later.
Emperor Ningzong China c. 1332 c. 1332 1 month, 13 days Ningzong was briefly installed as Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, a ruling dynasty of China.
Tirigan Sumer Dynasty of Guti c. 2050 BC c. 2050 BC 40 days Last king of Guti, according to the Sumerian King List.
Khan Umor First Bulgarian Empire Dynasty of Uokil 766 766 40 days
King Sweyn I England 25 December 1013 3 February 1014 1 month, 9 days King of Denmark from c. 985; also ruled most of Norway. Seized the English throne from Æthelred II following a successful invasion of the country; Æthelred regained the throne following Sweyn's death. Sweyn's son, Canute, ruled England from 1016 to 1035.
King Umberto II Italy Savoy 9 May 1946 12 June 1946 1 month, 3 days Ascended the throne when his father, Victor Emmanuel III, abdicated in an attempt to strengthen support for the monarchy against a referendum to abolish it. After the referendum passed and a republic was declared, Umberto left Italy and never returned.
Emperor Li Zicheng China Li 25 April 1644 27 May 1644 1 month, 2 days Li Zicheng declared himself Emperor of China after Chongzhen committed suicide and was then forced from power after the Battle of Shanhai Pass.
Pope John Paul I Holy See 26 August 1978 28 September 1978 1 month, 2 days
Pope Benedict V Holy See 22 May 964 23 June 964 1 month, 1 day
King Reccared II King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia Visigoths 612 612 ≈1 month
King Shallum of Israel Israel 773 BC[8] c. 772 BC 1 month[9] Biblical King from the Second Book of Kings. Because he became King in the 38th year but died in the 39th year, then his reign probably spans the Jewish New year.

Less than a month[edit]

Note: Some of the following have been disputed as genuine monarchs

Name Country Royal house/dynasty Reign began Reign ended Length Comments
Taichang Emperor China Ming 28 August 1620 26 September 1620 29 days Died after a bout of diarrhea which could have been caused by poisoning.
Emperor Liu He China Han 74 BC 74 BC 27 days Installed and deposed by Regent Huo Guang.
Pope Leo XI Holy See 1 April 1605 27 April 1605 27 days
Pope Pius III Holy See 22 September 1503 18 October 1503 27 days
Prince Milan Obrenović II Serbia Obrenović 25 June 1839 8 July 1839 26 days Succeeded with the abdication of his father, Miloš Obrenović I, although, due to ill health, he may never have been aware of his own rule, dying after 26 days.
Rǫgnvaldr Óláfsson Kingdom of Mann and the Isles Crovan dynasty 6 May 1249 30 May 1249 24 days Slain by an apparent accomplice of his first cousin once removed, Haraldr Guðrøðarson, a man who certainly succeeded Rǫgnvaldr.
Pope Damasus II Holy See 17 July 1048 9 August 1048 24 days
Emperor Constantine Russian Empire Romanov 1 December 1825 25 December 1825 24 days Proclaimed Emperor of Russia after the death of his elder brother Alexander I despite his renunciation of the crown until the accession of Nicholas I.
Pope Marcellus II Holy See 9 April 1555 1 May 1555 22 days
Emperor Gordian I Roman Empire Gordian 22 March 238 12 April 238 21 days Proclaimed joint Augustus with his son Gordian II (below) after leading a revolt against Maximinus I. Gordian I hanged himself upon learning of his son's death in the Battle of Carthage.
Emperor Gordian II Roman Empire Gordian 22 March 238 12 April 238 21 days Proclaimed joint Augustus with his father Gordian I (above) after leading a revolt against Maximinus I. Gordian II was killed at the Battle of Carthage.
Pope Sisinnius Holy See 15 January 708 4 February 708 21 days
Pope Theodore II Holy See December 897 December 897 20 days
Emperor Shang China Tang 8 July 710 25 July 710 18 days Installed by Empress Wei to succeed Emperor Zhongzong, but was deposed 18 days later in a coup.
King Anikanga Mahadipada Polonnaruwa 1209 1209 17 days Governor of Maya Rata, who put to death the 3 months old Infant King Dharmasoka Deva and became king.
Pope Celestine IV Holy See 25 October 1241 10 November 1241 17 days Died before Consecration
Pope Boniface VI Holy See April 896 April 896 16 days
Emperor Napoleon II Emperor of the French Bonaparte 22 June 1815 7 July 1815 16 days Succeeded with the abdication of his father, Napoleon I, but never actually ruled France. Louis XVIII was restored as King on 8 July 1815.
Eleanor of Navarre Kingdom of Navarre 28 January 1479 12 February 1479 14 days Official reign lasted longer.
Pope Urban VII Holy See 15 September 1590 27 September 1590 13 days Shortest reigning Pope of all time. (See full list)
King Lodewijk II Holland Bonaparte 1 July 1810 13 July 1810 12 days Succeeded with the abdication of his father Lodewijk Napoleon only to have his kingdom annexed by Napoleon I of the French.
Emperor Puyi China Qing 1 July 1917 12 July 1917 12 days Restored by Zhang Xun in a coup, but the republic was restored by Duan Qirui 12 days later.
Queen Jane England and Ireland Tudor 10 July 1553 19 July 1553 9 days Proclaimed Queen four days after the death of Edward VI only to be removed and later executed by Mary I.
Emir Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah Kuwait Al-Sabah 15 January 2006 24 January 2006 9 days Succeeded with the death of Jaber III Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and voted out of office by parliament due to ill health before being able to issue his abdication in favour of Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
King Henry V King of France Bourbon 2 August 1830 9 August 1830 7 days Succeeded with the abdications of his grandfather, Charles X, and then his uncle, Louis XIX (below), twenty minutes later. Never officially proclaimed as King, he was rejected by the National Assembly in favour of Louis Philippe of Orléans. Afterwards, he was the Legitimist claimant to the throne from 1844 until his death in 1883.
King Thong Lan Ayutthaya Kingdom Suphannaphum 1370 1370 7 days Succeeded with the death of Borommarachathirat I and then Ramesuan's forces quickly took the palace and executed King Thong Lan. King Ramesuan then held the throne.
King Sigeric Spain Visigothic Kingdom 415 415 7 days Usurped the throne after the assassination of king Ataulf, but his cruelty raised high opposition, leading to his murder.
King Zimri Israel c. 885 BC or c. 876 BC c. 885 BC or c. 876 BC 7 days A biblical king from the Books of Kings.

Less than a week[edit]

Note: Some of the following have been disputed as genuine monarchs

Name Country Royal house/dynasty Reign began Reign ended Length Comments
King John I France and Navarre Capet 15 November 1316 20 November 1316 5 days Posthumous son of Louis X, died aged 5 days.
King Crateuas Macedon Argead Dynasty 399 BC 399 BC 4 days Assassinated Archelaus I during a hunt. Succeeded by Archelaus's son Orestes.
Pope-elect Stephen Holy See 23 March 752 26 March 752 3 days Not normally recognized as a genuine Pope, Stephen died of apoplexy 3 days after his election, missing his consecration. The numbering of Stephens from Stephen I (254–257 AD) to Stephen II (752–757 AD) skips him over, and he was removed from the 1961 List of Popes.
Lê Trung Tông Vietnam October 1005 October 1005 3 days Assassinated by order of his successor Lê Ngoạ Triều.
Lê Quang Trị Vietnam 1516 1516 3 days
King Karposh Kumanovo October 1689 October 1689 3 days Leader of an uprising against the Ottoman Empire.
Emperor Dục Đức Vietnam Nguyễn 20 July 1883 23 July 1883 3 days Executed for failing to observe Confucian mourning etiquette, and for having intimate relations with his predecessor's concubines.
King Inayatullah Khan Seraj Afghanistan Barakzai 14 January 1929 17 January 1929 3 days Inayatullah Khan Seraj replaced his brother King Amanullah Khan who had abdicated. Inayatullah Khan Seraj then abdicated himself three days later in favour of Habibullah Ghazi who was deposed 8 months later.
King Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev Nepal Shah 1 June 2001 4 June 2001 <56 hours Succeeded to the throne after murdering his father Birendra during the Nepalese royal massacre, in which Dipendra allegedly inflicted mortal wounds upon himself. He was comatose for the duration of his reign.
King Xiaowen of Qin China Qin 13 September 250 BC 15 September 250 BC 2 days
Sultan Sayyid Khalid bin Barghash Zanzibar Al Bu Sa'id 25 August 1896 27 August 1896 2 days Seized power after the death of Sayyid Hamad bin Thuwaini Al-Busaid resulting in the 38 minute Anglo-Zanzibar War. Replaced by Sayyid Hamoud bin Mohammed Al-Said after surrender.

Less than a day[edit]

Due to the ephemeral nature of their reigns, the following have been disputed as genuine monarchs:

Name Country Royal house/dynasty Reign began Reign ended Length Comments
Emperor Michael I Megas Komnenos Empire of Trebizond Komnenos 30 July 1341 31 July 1341 Less than 24 hours First reign : as the legitimate male descendant of the ruling family, Michael received the support of much of the populace and was acclaimed emperor. Some of the nobility, led by the Metropolitan Akakios received him as their lord and escorted him into the palace. As soon as night fell, however, the nobles imprisoned Michael, not wishing to be ruled by a mature and forceful monarch.
Tsar Michael II Russian Empire Romanov 15 March 1917 16 March 1917 16 hours Deferred acceptance. Later killed.
Emperor Mo China Jin 9 February 1234 9 February 1234 12 hours Crowned while under assault by Mongolians at the Siege of Caizhou and killed after the coronation.
Victoria Kamāmalu Hawaii Kamehameha 30 November 1864 30 November 1864 5 hours and 45 minutes As Kuhina Nui, she effectively became head of state upon her brother Kamehameha IV's death at 9:15 a.m. until her other brother Kamehameha V's declaration as the actual successor at 3 p.m. the same day.[10]
Daughter of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei China Northern Wei 1 April 528 1 April 528 Less than 5 hours Soon after her birth, her grandmother, the Empress Dowager Hu, falsely declared she was a boy and ordered a general pardon. Emperor Xiaoming died soon afterwards. On 1 April 528, Empress Dowager Hu installed the infant on the throne for a matter of hours before replacing her with Yuan Zhao the next day.[11]

Less than an hour[edit]

Due to the ephemeral nature of his reign, the following has been disputed as a genuine monarch:

Name Country Royal house/dynasty Reign began Reign ended Length Comments
Prince Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, "King Louis XIX" Kingdom of France Bourbon 2 August 1830 2 August 1830 20 minutes Succeeded with the abdication of his father, Charles X, only to himself abdicate in favour of his nephew, Henry V (above). The question of whether Louis actually "reigned" is a philosophical one, as after his father signed the document of abdication, he contemplated his future for twenty minutes before himself signing. Many Legitimists did not recognise the abdications as valid, and recognised Charles X as king until his death in 1836, before recognising Louis as king until his own death in 1844.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The political situation in Egypt during the second intermediate period", by K. S. B. Ryholt, page 192
  2. ^ Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 0-8254-3825-X, 9780825438257
  3. ^ 2 Kings 15:8
  4. ^ "Annals of the World" by James Ussher, section 797
  5. ^ 2 Chronicles 36:9
  6. ^ "Annals of the World" by James Ussher, sections 760–761
  7. ^ 2 Chronicles 36:2
  8. ^ Annals of the World by James Ussher, section 569
  9. ^ 2 Kings 15:13
  10. ^ Dutton, Meiric Keeler; Harris, Charles Coffin (1957). The Succession of King Kamehameha V to Hawaii's Throne: Including a Recently-Discovered Private Memorandum Written by Attorney-General C. C. Harris. Honolulu: Loomis House Press. p. 11.
  11. ^ 历史上短命的皇帝有哪些 [Short-lived emperors in history]. (in Chinese). Henan Culture Web (河南文化网). 2013-07-16. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17.