Top 6 Iconic English Monarchs of All Time

King John Signing the Magna Carta in 1215. “King John Signs the Magna Carta, BBC.”

King John Signing the Magna Carta in 1215. “King John Signs the Magna Carta, BBC.”

Paul Drumbl, Reporter

On May 6, 2023, Charles of Windsor was crowned as the King of England at Westminster Abbey in London. His coronation is the first to take place in the United Kingdom since Queen Elizabeth II’s over 70 years before in 1952. With the passing of this monumental event, King Charles becomes the most recent in a line of monarchs, the most famous of which I’ve listed here in order to give a shout out to the icons who have shaped our world through their rule.

At number one is the man who started it all, William the Conqueror. William started off as the Duke of Normandy in France, but led the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. After defeating King Harold at the battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror was crowned King and established the Kingdom of England, which he ruled until his death in 1087. 

Famous for his six wives, King Henry VIII comes in a second on my list. He made his largest contribution to history by creating the Church of England in 1536. After the Pope denied his request to divorce his first wife, Catherine, King Henry decided to break England off of the Catholic church and create his own Protestant Church of England. Despite frequent religious turbulence in the following years, Protestantism prevailed as the dominant religious faction in England, and has remained so until this day.

Queen Elizabeth I was one of England’s most powerful and influential female monarchs. Throughout her life she resisted marriage, which was very uncommon for women of the time. In addition, Elizabeth I brought religious reform to England by reinstating Protestantism and the Church of England. In 1588 she defeated the Spanish Armada off the coast of Calais, in France, saving England from invasion. Reigning through one of England’s most prominent eras, Elizabeth I walked so that Queen Elizabeth II could run. 

Queen Elizabeth II has undeniably earned her place on this list, coming in at fourth. Her reign of more than 70 years makes her the longest standing monarch in British history, and she has left her impact and legacy on the UK. Her charm and charisma have made her loved by people around the world, and she is an iconic piece of British culture. Despite her passing in September of 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, admirably known as “Lizzy”, will be remembered for a long time, and the influences she had on Britain will not soon be gone.

Fifth on my list is Queen Victoria, who ruled the UK during the late 1800s. Queen Victoria reigned during the Industrial Revolution, as well as an intense period of British imperialism which saw the British Empire take over a fourth of the World’s landmass. Victoria was one of the most influential monarchs in British history, and her rule pushed Britain into the modern era.

Late Medieval monarch King John just makes the list at sixth place. His legacy is marked by him laying the groundwork for future governments around the world when he was forced to sign the Magna Carta by English nobles in 1215. This document was the foundation of principles such as rule of law, which are still implemented in the U.S. constitution and other governments today. Despite being forced, King John’s signing of the Magna Carta cemented his legacy as one of the most pivotal and important monarchs of all time.