Famous British Emperors & Kings

If you unfold the pages of British history, the legacy of British emperors & kings would stand tall, reflecting the rich bequest, heritage and culture of the British Empire. Having had the monarchical rule ever since times immemorial, British Empire has witnessed a consortium of emperors and kings, who have ruled the kingdom at various phases, each adding to the glory and prestige of the nation. Be it Alfred the Great or William the Conqueror, Henry VIII or Elizabeth I, the longest ever reigning monarch Queen Victoria or the current and second longest British monarch, Elizabeth II, each of them significantly contributed to make Britain what it is today. While some augmented the country’s legal system and military structure, there were others who took measures to give the country its architectural marvels, and still others who promoted the growth of art, culture and science. While each had their own sense of uniqueness, what has been common to all is their leadership skills, warrior instinct, charming mannerism and committed self. The section below gives details about the life and works of numerous British Emperors & Kings. Read on.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Henry VII of England

Henry VII of England.
22
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: January 28, 1457
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Died: April 21, 1509

Henry VII of England played an important role in popularizing the House of Tudor by becoming the first monarch of the house; he ruled as the king of England from 1485 until his death in 1509. He is credited with several economic, diplomatic, and administrative initiatives.

 2 King James I

King James I.
6
Famous As: King of Scotland
Birthdate: June 19, 1566
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Died: March 27, 1625

King James I of England and Ireland was also the king of Scotland as James VI. Son of Mary, Queen of Scots, he believed in royal absolutism. He had major conflicts with the Parliament and its ever-growing powers, which eventually led to revolts against his successor, Charles I.

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 3 Charles II

Charles II.
14
Famous As: King of England, Scotland & Ireland
Birthdate: May 29, 1630
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St James's Palace
Died: February 6, 1685
Charles II, son of King Charles I of England, ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660 to 1685. He was initially defeated by Oliver Cromwell and forced to go into exile, but returned to England after Cromwell’s death. He introduced the Clarendon Code and later sided with the Tories.

 4 Henry V of England

Henry V of England.
11
Famous As: King of England (1413-1422)
Birthdate: August 9, 1386
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Monmouth Castle, Monmouth, Principality of Wales
Died: August 31, 1422

One of the most renowned kings in English history, Henry V ascended the throne at the age of 26 in 1413 and ruled England till his death in 1422. Though his reign was short, it was marked by great successes in the Hundred Years' War against France which established England as one of the strongest kingdoms in entire Europe.

 5 Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great.
18
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0849 AD
Birthplace: Wantage, United Kingdom
Died: October 26, 0899

Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, cemented his place in history as a legendary ruler who led his kingdom to victory in wars that seemed hopeless. He is known for his brilliant strategies and defensive measures. He prevented England from falling to the Danes during his rule from circa 871 to 886. He’s also credited with promoting learning and literacy and curbing corruption.

 6 Edward I of England

Edward I of England.
10
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: June 17, 1239
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Palace of Westminster, London, England
Died: July 7, 1307

Edward I of England ruled England as its king from 1272 to 1307. During his reign, Edward I reformed common law and royal administration. He is also credited with setting up Parliament as a permanent institution. He is also criticized for issuing the Edict of Expulsion, which expelled Jews from England. The Edict was not overturned for almost 350 years.

 7 Edward IV of England

Edward IV of England.
10
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 28, 1442
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: April 9, 1483

The King of England for several years from 1461 until his death in 1483, Edward IV of England was a central figure in the Wars of the Roses. He was a brave warrior and his contemporaries described him as handsome, affable, and energetic. He died at the relatively young age of 40. The cause of his death remains unknown. 

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 8 Edward III of England

Edward III of England.
8
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: November 13, 1312
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Windsor Castle
Died: June 21, 1377
Edward III, or Edward of Windsor, was the King of England and the Lord of Ireland from 1327 to 1377. He took to the throne after his father, Edward II, was deposed by his mother, Isabella, and Roger Mortimer. He strengthened the military and participated in the Hundred Years' War.

 9 Henry VIII of England

Henry VIII of England.
16
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: June 28, 1491
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kent, England
Died: January 28, 1547

Henry VIII, the second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, ruled England from 1509 to 1547. He married six times, leading to differences with the Roman Catholic Church, which prohibited divorce, thus forming the Anglican Church. The "father of the Royal Navy," he was known for his tyranny and extravagance.

 10 Richard III of England

Richard III of England.
16
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 2, 1452
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, England
Died: August 22, 1485

Richard III was King of England from 1483 to 1485. His defeat and subsequent death marked the demise of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of William Shakespeare's famous play Richard III. He has also been an inspiration for several other works of literature and films.

 11 Athelstan

Athelstan.
6
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 0894 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: October 27, 0939
Æthelstan, or Athelstan, son of Edward the Elder, was an Anglo-Saxon king who ruled from 924 to 927. He was also the King of the English from 927 to 939. Æthelstan is known for his victory at the Battle of Brunanburh and for his significant contribution to European politics. 

 12 James II of England

James II of England.
10
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 14, 1633
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: September 16, 1701

James II of England reigned as the king of Ireland, Scotland, and England from 1685 to 1688. His deposition as king, caused by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, ended a century of civil and political strife by establishing the principle that Parliament would be preferred over the Crown as opposed to the principles of divine right of kings and absolutism.

 13 Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor.
8
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1003 AD
Birthplace: Islip
Died: January 5, 1066
Edward the Confessor, son of Æthelred the Unready, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon rulers of England and reigned from 1042 to 1066. He restored the rule of the House of Wessex after the reign of Danish king Cnut. He was considered a national saint till Saint George replaced him.

 14 George III of the United Kingdom

George III of the United Kingdom.
14
Famous As: King
Birthdate: June 4, 1738
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norfolk House, St James's Square, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 29, 1820

The King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for almost six decades, George III had a reign that was longer than those of any of his predecessors. His reign was marked by a series of military conflicts. He suffered from mental illness in his later years.

 15 Edward VI of England

Edward VI of England.
19
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 12, 1537
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, United Kingdom
Died: July 6, 1553

Edward VI of England served as the King of England and Ireland from 1547 until his death at the age of 15 in 1553. Edward VI, who took interest in religious matters, allowed Protestantism to be established in England during his reign. His reign also witnessed the introduction of written works that formed the basis for practices of the English Church.

 16 Edward the Elder

Edward the Elder.
8
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0874 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: July 17, 0924

Edward the Elder, the Anglo-Saxon ruler of Wessex from circa 899 to 924, is known as the king who extended his authority over almost all of England by conquering the areas previously held by the Danish invaders. Though he is said to have been largely ignored by historians until the late 20th century, he is held in high regard now.

 17 Harold Godwinson

Harold Godwinson.
12
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1022 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: October 14, 1066
Harold Godwinson, also known as Harold II, was the last Anglo-Saxon ruler of England, and succeeded Edward the Confessor. He died at the Battle of Hastings, fighting William the Conqueror and his army during the Norman Conquest. Harold was the first English king who was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

 18 Richard I of England

Richard I of England.
15
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: September 8, 1157
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England
Died: April 6, 1199
Richard I of England, the king of England from 1189 to 1199, was known as Richard the Lionheart, for his military prowess. He also reigned over Normandy, Aquitaine, Gascony, Cyprus, Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes. The third son of King Henry II, he fought actively in the Third Crusade.

 19 George VI

George VI.
31
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: December 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: York Cottage, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Died: February 6, 1952
The last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth, King George VI was the King of the United Kingdom for fifteen years. He served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force before reluctantly inheriting the throne and becoming a symbol of courage during WWII. His determination also helped him in his struggle with stammering.

 20 Charles I of England

Charles I of England.
14
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: November 19, 1600
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline, Scotland
Died: January 30, 1649

Charles I, the King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1625 to 1649, was said to be authoritarian and was in constant battle with the Parliament over the issue of royal prerogative. The friction led to a civil war from 1642 to 1645 between him and the English and Scottish Parliaments. He was defeated and executed in 1649 for treason.

 21 Edward II of England

Edward II of England.
10
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 25, 1284
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Caernarfon Castle
Died: September 21, 1327
Edward II was the king of England from 1307 till his deposition in 1327. His relationship with Piers Gaveston caused the English barons to revolt against Edward, leading to the passage of the Ordinances of 1311. Edward lost to Robert Bruce at Bannockburn. Edward inspired Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II.

 22 Henry I of England

Henry I of England.
10
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1068 AD
Birthplace: Selby, United Kingdom
Died: December 1, 1135
Henry I, fourth son of William the Conqueror, seized the throne of England after his brother William II’s death, and ruled as the King of England from 1100 to 1135. He was strict but efficient, and is known for his conquest of Normandy following the Battle of Tinchebray.

 23 John, King of England

John, King of England.
14
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: December 24, 1166
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Beaumont Palace, Oxford
Died: October 19, 1216

John, King of England reigned over England from 1199 to 1216. His inability to retain the French lands, which was acquired by King Philip II of France, contributed to the subsequent growth of the Capetian dynasty; this is widely regarded as a turning point in the history of Europe.

 24 Henry IV of England

Henry IV of England.
12
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 15, 1367
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bolingbroke Castle
Died: March 20, 1413

Henry IV of England reigned over England from 1399 until his death in 1413. Apart from spending much of his reign fighting against rebellions, Henry IV of England also established foreign relations; during his reign, Manuel II Palaiologos visited England, becoming the only Byzantine emperor to do so.

 25 Edward VIII

Edward VIII.
20
Famous As: King of United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond Park, Surrey, England
Died: May 28, 1972

Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire for several months in 1936. He was also Emperor of India during this period. He served in the British Army during the First World War and became the king following his father’s death. However, he abdicated the throne only months into his reign.

 26 Olav V of Norway

Olav V of Norway.
7
Famous As: King
Birthdate: July 2, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Died: January 17, 1991

Olav V of Norway served as the king of Norway from 1957 to 1991. Olav became heir apparent to the throne in 1905 when his father was crowned king of Norway. His leadership skills during World War II earned him the position of Norwegian Chief of Defence in 1944. Nicknamed The People's King, Olav was popular for his down-to-earth style.

 27 Henry III of England

Henry III of England.
10
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 1, 1207
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Winchester Castle
Died: November 16, 1272
Henry III, or Henry of Winchester, son of King John, took over as the king of England at age 9 and ruled from 1216 to 1272. He was the first British king to reign for more than 50 years. He imposed the Statute of Jewry, forcing Jews to wear badges. 

 28 Egbert of Wessex

Egbert of Wessex.
6
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0770 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: 0839 AD

Egbert of Wessex was the King of Wessex from 802 to 839. He was the son of  Ealhmund of Kent. Not much is known about his reign, but it is believed that he fought hard to maintain the independence of Wessex against the kingdom of Mercia for years before he ended Mercia's supremacy at the Battle of Ellandun.

 29 George IV of the United Kingdom

George IV of the United Kingdom.
11
Famous As: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Birthdate: August 12, 1762
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 26, 1830

Regarded as the first gentleman of England, King George IV of the United Kingdom saw his empire consolidating its position as the global hegemon, particularly after the Napoleonic Wars. His regency during the illness of his father and then his 10-year reign were marked by royal extravagance. 

 30 Arthur, Prince of Wales

Arthur, Prince of Wales
9
Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: September 20, 1486
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Winchester
Died: April 2, 1502

 31 Edward V of England

Edward V of England.
9
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: November 2, 1470
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Westminster, England
Died: 1483 AD

Edward V of England was King of England and Lord of Ireland for a few months in 1483. He was never crowned and he didn’t hold any real power during his short reign. He was deposed and possibly killed by his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, who went on to reign as King Richard III.  

 32 Henry VI of England

Henry VI of England.
17
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: December 6, 1421
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: May 21, 1471

The only child of Henry V, Henry VI of England served as the king of England for almost 40 years. He also served as the disputed king of France between 1422 and 1453, becoming the only English monarch to serve as the king of France. He founded educational institutions like Eton College, All Souls College, Oxford, and King's College, Cambridge.

 33 William II of England

William II of England.
8
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1056 AD
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Died: August 2, 1100
William II, the third son of William the Conqueror, reigned as the king of England from 1087 to 1100. He was also known as William Rufus and was thought to be homosexual due to the fact that he never married. He died due to an arrow injury while hunting.

 34 George V

George V.
27
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 3, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marlborough House, London, England
Died: January 20, 1936

George V became the King of Great Britain and the British Dominions in 1910. During the World War I, he played an active role in supporting the troops. The rise of socialism, communism, fascism and the Indian independence movement was witnessed during his rule. His reign also saw the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons established by the Parliament.

 35 Ethelred the Unready

Ethelred the Unready
8
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0968 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: April 23, 1016

 36 Stephen of England

Stephen of England
8
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1092 AD
Birthplace: Blois
Died: October 25, 1154

 37 Duke of Windsor

Duke of Windsor
10
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond Park, England
Died: May 28, 1972

 38 Edgar the Peaceful

Edgar the Peaceful.
6
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: August 7, 0942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: July 8, 0975

Edgar the Peaceful reigned as the King of the English for more than 17 years. His reign was noted for its stability as he consolidated his predecessors' work. His coronation at Bath in 973, which was the pinnacle of his reign, forms the basis for the present-day coronation ceremony.

 39 Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover

Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: June 5, 1771
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buckingham House, London, England
Died: November 18, 1851

 40 Edmund Ironside

Edmund Ironside.
6
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 0989 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: November 30, 1016

Edmund Ironside was King of the English who reigned from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He earned his cognomen Ironside after displaying valor while resisting the Danish invasion, which was led by Cnut the Great. His life and work inspired the Elizabethan play Edmund Ironside and the 1970 TV film The Ceremony of Innocence.

 41 Edward the Martyr

Edward the Martyr.
5
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 0962 AD
Birthplace: Wessex
Died: March 18, 0978

Edward the Martyr reigned as the King of the English from 975 to 978. The oldest son of King Edgar the Peaceful, Edward was selected as king after his father's death. However, he was killed in 978 at Corfe Castle and was succeeded by his half-brother Æthelred the Unready. Edward is recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church.

 42 Edmund I

Edmund I
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0921 AD
Birthplace: Wessex, England
Died: May 26, 0946

 43 William IV of the United Kingdom

William IV of the United Kingdom.
10
Famous As: King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: August 21, 1765
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buckingham House, London, England
Died: June 20, 1837
William IV, the third son of George III, was the king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and that of Hanover, from 1830 to 1837. His stint in the Royal Navy earned him the nickname “Sailor King.” He introduced electoral reforms, abolished slavery, and restricted child labor.

 44 Aella of Northumbria

Aella of Northumbria
6
Famous As: Anglo-Saxon King
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: United Kingdom
Died: March 21, 0867

 45 Hardecanute

Hardecanute
6
Famous As: King of Denmark and England
Birthdate: 1018 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: June 8, 1042

 46 Macbeth of Scotland

Macbeth of Scotland
5
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1005 AD
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: August 15, 1057

 47 Eadred

Eadred
5
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0923 AD
Birthplace: Wessex, England
Died: November 23, 0955

 48 Edward VII

Edward VII.
23
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: November 9, 1841
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
Died: May 6, 1910

Edward VII, the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death, is said to have played a role in the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War. His main interests lay in the fields of foreign affairs and naval and military matters.

 49 Harold Harefoot

Harold Harefoot.
5
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1015 AD
Birthplace: Kingdom of England
Died: March 17, 1040

 50 Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales

Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales
3
Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: October 13, 1453
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Palace of Westminster, London, England
Died: May 4, 1471