The Edmondson Blog

Kings And Queens Of England, Part 4


James I of England and VI of Scotland, born 1566, reigned 1603 – 1625. In the latter years of his life he was seriously ill with arthritis and gout and was unable to properly perform his duties as king. In 1625 he had a stroke and died during a severe bout of dysentery. His elder son, Frederick, died in 1612, so to younger son:

Charles I, born 1600, reigned 1625 – 1649. Believed in the Divine Right of Kings, and many feared that he was attempting to gain absolute power. There was widespread opposition to many of his actions, especially the levying of taxes without Parliament’s consent. Deposed and executed by Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell, born 1599, died 1658. A key contributor to making England into a republican Commonwealth. A religious Puritan, regicide and a brilliant soldier, he rose from leading a single cavalry troop to eventual command of the entire army. He was the third person to sign Charles I’s death warrant and was made Lord Protector on 16th December 1653. Died of Maleria. When the Royalists returned to power in 1660, his corpse was dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded. To his third son:

Richard Cromwell, born 1626, governed 1658 – 1659. Despite his very short reign, he is the longest lived ruler of England, dying in 1712 if old age. To the son of Charles I:

Charles II, born 1630, reigned 1660 – 1685, King of Scots from 1650. Died of a stroke, apologising on his death bed for taking a long time to die. His last words were, “Let not poor Nellie starve,” referring to his mistress, Nell Gwyn. To his brother:

James II, born 1633, reigned 1685 – 1688. Deposed and died 1701. James was a Roman Catholic and became unpopular because of his views on religion. He had two protestant daughters by first marriage but a big problem when his Catholic son was born. Deposed by William of Orange (brother in law) and died in 1701 of a brain haemorrhage in the French royal chateau of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. To:

William III (nephew of James) and Mary II (daughter), jointly reigned from 1689. Mary died of smallpox in 1694 and William continued as king until his death in 1702. Died from complications from a bad fall and broken collar bone caused by his horse stumbling on a molehill. To Mary’s sister:

Anne, born 1665, reigned 1702 – 1714. The probable cause of her death was erysipelas (an acute bacterial infection of the skin and underlying fat tissues) and suppressed gout. To her second cousin (both Anne and George I were grandchildren of Charles I):


George I, born 1660, reigned 1714 – 1727. Died of a stroke. To his son:

George II, born 1683, reigned 1727 – 1760. Hated his own son Frederick, declaring, “Makes me vomit.” He outlived Fred. George II was the last king to lead his troops in battle. To his grandson:

George III, born 1738, reigned 1760 – 1820. Lost America. Regency by Prince George from 1810. Mad, foamed at mouth, rolled eyes, shouted obscenities and spoke gibberish. To his son:

George IV, born 1762, reigned 1820 – 1830. In 1795 married his cousin, Caroline, to get her money. She was foolish, charmless, badly behaved and smelt. Split up in 1796. One daughter Charlotte died 1817. Caroline came uninvited to coronation in 1820. Caused great fuss but died in 1821. George died of a ruptured blood vessel in his stomach. The Times wrote, “There never was an individual less regretted by his fellow creatures than this deceased king.” To his brother:

William IV, born 1765, reigned 1830 – 1837. No legitimate children (but lots of others). Spat a lot and not at all nice. Lots of drinking and gambling at court. Duchess of Kent complained bitterly and said she would not let her daughter come to court. They say William IV hung on before dying so that Victoria would be 18 years old and so Duchess would not be Regent. Died of cardiac failure and broncho-pneumonia. To his niece:

Victoria, born 1819, reigned 1837 – 1901. Her reign was at the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic, and technological progress, and a great expansion of the British Empire. Married Albert who died in 1861 of typhoid. Victoria died of old age. To her son, Edward VII.

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