Britain … Great Britain … the UK … huh?
Before we list the British monarchs, let’s just consider Britain … or should that be the UK …
Confused about the right terminology when it comes to Britain? Don’t worry, you’re certainly not alone! Is it Britain? Great Britain? The United Kingdom? Is the Isle of Man part of the UK? How about the Isle of Wight? Or the Channel Islands? And then there’s the far-flung British dependencies … where do they fit in?
Most people don’t know, or at least aren’t really sure. And frankly, many think it’s absolutely absurd … other countries (generally) settle for one name, and they seem fairly happy with that decision.
Even we’re confused!
We, on the other hand, have such an absurdly convoluted mess of terminology that even most UK residents would be hard put to understand the many intricacies of our national identity, let alone be able to explain them to an outsider.
If you’d like to understand a little more on this subject, may I direct you to a very detailed (and quite amusing) explanation on YouTube. This short video will explain many of the details that have no doubt had you suddenly waking up in the middle of the night, worried and confused. If you’re going to watch it though, try to think really quickly or the speaker will leave you in the dust, believe me!
Back to the matter in hand … the British monarchs …
To set the scene, let me just explain that Great Britain was a sovereign state from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. From 1 January 1801, the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland were merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, part of Ireland seceded and the state was renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – the title that still stands today.
There could be further paragraphs here stuffed with much more detail, but that’s not important (and I don’t really pretend to be an expert of these things anyway). So let’s leave it there and get on with the whole monarchs thing, yeah?
The twelve British monarchs
There have been 12 monarchs of the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom since the merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland on 1 May 1707. The table below lists them, in order, and with some bare-bones details.
Obviously, there’s much more to know about each one of the kings and queens, if you’re curious, but for now these few details might suffice. They’re certainly enough to provide you with a memory exercise, anyway.
I did consider gathering more information on each of the monarchs and including it in the table, together with some more information on British royalty, but I decided that would defeat the object of the exercise. This is provided purely so you can more easily memorise the monarchs, in order (if that’s what you want to do), with just a minimum amount of data attached.
If you want to build on that information, by all means follow the links below to each of the monarchs (or just google them) so you can research some more and increase your knowledge of each one. But for starters, the table above will provide you with basic information and an idea of the timeline involved.
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