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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
Timeline of the Kings and Queens of Britain

The Stuarts

Union of Scottish and English Crowns

The Stuarts were the first kings of the United Kingdom.

Scotland provided England with a new line of kings, the Stuarts. They were to bring disaster to the nation for, coming from Scotland where royal power had not been curbed by Parliament, they had no understanding of the more democratic ways that had developed in England.

James 1James I 1603 - 1625 image: Scottish flag

James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. During his reign the Gunpowder Plot failed and the Pilgrim fathers set sail for America in the Mayflower.

  • Age 36-59
  • Great-great-grandson of Henry VII
  • Born: 19 June1566 at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
  • Parents: Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley
  • Ascended to the throne: 24 March 1603 aged 36 years
  • Crowned: 25 July 1603 at Westminster Abbey, also as James VI of Scotland at Stirling Castle
  • Married: Anne, Daughter of Frederick II of Denmark and Norway
  • Children: Three sons and five daughters, of whom three survived infancy; Henry, Elizabeth and Charles
  • Died: 27 March 1625 at Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire, aged 58 years
  • Buried at: Westminster
  • Succeeded by: his son Charles

King of England from 1603 and Scotland (as James VI) from 1567.

When James became King of England, he was already a king - King James VI of Scotland. He was the first monarch to rule both countries and the first to call himself 'King of Great Britain'. However it was not until 1707 that an act of Parliament formally brought the two countries together.

James had been King of Scotland for twenty-nine years when he acceded to the English throne.

In 1605 the Gunpowder Plot was hatched: Guy Fawkes and his friends, Catholics, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament, but were captured before they could do so.

Guy Fawkes and men
The Gun Powder Plot

James authorised the translation of the King James Bible. He also had Sir Walter Raleigh executed

Charles 1Charles I 1625 - 1649

Charles tried to rule without Parliament. In the Civil War between his party and Parliament, he was captured and was executed in 1649.

  • Age 24-49
  • Born: 19 November 1600 at Dunfermline Palace, Scotland image: Scottish flag
  • Parents: James I (VI of Scots) and Anne of Denmark
  • Ascended to the throne: March 27, 1625 aged 24 years
  • Crowned: 2 February 1626 at Westminster Abbey
  • Married: Henrietta Maria, Daughter of Henri IV of France
  • Children: Four sons and five daughters
  • Died: 30 January 1649 at Whitehall, London (executed), aged 48 years
  • Buried at: Windsor
  • Succeeded by: his son Charles II

Charles was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and became heir to the throne on the death of his elder brother Henry in 1612.

King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1625,

Fought against the Parliament leading to civil war.
Was executed as a result on 30 January 1649.

The English Civil War (1642 - 51)

The war began in 1642 when, after seeing his rights as king slashed by Parliament, Charles miscalculated by swarming into the Palace of Westminster with several hundred soldiers to arrest five Members of Parliament and a peer he accused of treason. They all escaped, but London was scandalized and the king was forced to flee the city.

The war between the Roundheads (supporters of parliament) and the Cavaliers (supporters of the King) began.

The Civil War led to the trial and execution of Charles I, the exile of his son Charles II, and the replacement of the English monarchy with first the Commonwealth of England (1649–1653) and then with a Protectorate (1653–1659), under the personal rule of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector.

England became a Republic for eleven years from 1649 - 1660.

At first England was ruled by Parliament, but in 1653, Oliver Cromwell, commander of the army, became Lord Protector of England. He held his post until his death in 1658 (when his son briefly took over). Cromwell did not want to be king and refused the crown when it was offered to him.

The Commonwealth - declared 19 May 1649

  • Oliver Cromwell (1653-58)
  • Richard Cromwell (1658-59)

The Stuarts line Restored (The Restoration)

Charles II 1660 - 1685

        Charles was called the Merry Monarch. In his reign occurred the Plague, The Fire of London, and the Dutch Wars. Having suffered a stroke, Charles converted to Catholicism on his death-bed and passed away a few hours later.

        • Age 30-55
        • Born: 29 May 1630 at St. James Palace image: English Flag
        • Parents: Charles I and Henrietta Maria
        • Ascended to the throne: 29 May 1660 aged 30 years
        • Crowned: 23 April 1661 at Westminster Abbey, and at Scone as King of Scots, 1 January 1651, aged 20
        • Married: Catherine of Braganza
        • Children: Three children who died in infancy, and about 17 illegitimate children by at least 8 different mistresses
        • Died: 6 February 1685 at Whitehall Palace, London, aged 54 years
        • Buried at: Westminster
        • Succeeded by: his brother James II

He was crowned King of Scotland in 1651. When Richard Cromwell lost the confidence of Parliament and abdicated, Charles returned to London in time for his thirtieth birthday and to rule Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales).

Charles saw London recover from the Plague (1665) and Great Fire (1666). Many new buildings were built at this time. St. Paul's Cathedral was built by Sir Christopher Wren and also many churches still to be seen today.

The Great Fire of London
St Pauls

James II 1685 - 1688

James tried to make England a Roman Catholic country. He was not popular nd he soon lost his throne.

  • Age 51-55
  • Younger brother of Charles II
  • Born: 14 October 1633 at St. James Palace image: English Flag
  • Parents: Charles I and Henrietta Maria
  • Ascended to the throne: February 6, 1685 aged 51 years
  • Crowned: 23 April 1685 at Westminster Abbey
  • Married: (1) Anne Hyde, (2) Mary, Daughter of Duke of Modena
  • Children: Eight by his first wife Anne, of whom only Mary and Anne survived,and Five by his 2nd wife Mary of whom only a son James (Old Pretender) and Louise Maria survived.
  • Died: 6 September 1701 at St Germain-en-Laye, France, aged 67 years, 10 months, and 21 days
  • Buried at: Chateau de Saint Germain-en-Laye, Near Paris,
  • Succeeded by: his daughter Mary and son-in-law William of Orange

King of England and Scotland (as James VII) from 1685.

James was 15 when his father was executed. He escaped to France in 1648, disguised as a girl.

As his brother, Charles II, had no children James succeeded him.

Whilst king, James tried to force people to follow his Roman Catholic faith. He was very unpopular because of his persecution of the Protestants, and he was hated by the people.

He was forced to give up the crown in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Parliament asked William of Orange, who was married to James' daughter Mary, to take the throne. She was a Protestant.

William III 1688 - 1702 and Queen Mary II 1688 - 1694

Mary, daughter of James II, was married to William of Orange. His aim was to save Holland (Netherlands) by defeating Louis XIV of France.

  • Age:
    William 39-52
    Mary 27-32,
  • Born:
    William: The Hague, Netherlands;
    Mary: St James Palace, London
    William: William II of Orange and Mary Stuart;
    Mary: James II and Anne Hyde
  • Ascended to the throne: 13 February 1689
  • Crowned: 11 April 1689 at Westminster Abbey, when William was 38 and Mary was 26
  • Married: William married Mary, daughter of James II
  • Children: Three stillborn
  • Died: 8 March 1702 at Kensington Palace (William), aged 51 years. Mary died 1694,
  • Buried at: Westminster (both)
  • Succeeded by: Mary's sister Anne

Mary, daughter of James II and her Dutch husband were invited to be King and Queen following James abdication.

King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1688, the son of William II of Orange and Mary, daughter of Charles I. He was offered the English crown by the parliamentary opposition to James II. He invaded England in 1688 and in 1689 became joint sovereign with his wife, Mary II.

Queen Anne 1702 - 1714

Ann was the last of the Stewart monarchs. She was the sister of Mary.

  • Age 37-49
  • Sister of Mary II
  • Second daughter of James II
  • Born: February 6, 1665 at St. James Palace, London image: English Flag
  • Parents: James II and Anne Hyde
  • Ascended to the throne: March 8, 1702 aged 37 years
  • Crowned: April 23, 1702 at Westminster Abbey
  • Married: George, son of Frederick III of Denmark
  • Children: Eighteen, including miscarriages and still-born, of whom only one William survived to age of 12
  • Died: August 1, 1714 at Kensington Palace , aged 49 years
  • Buried at: Westminster
  • Succeeded by: her 3rd cousin George of Hanover

Queen of Great Britain and Ireland 1702–14.

Her nickname was Brandy Nan because of her alleged taste for fine French brandy. She was also known as Mrs Bull and Mrs Morely.

All of her 18 children died.

Anne, the last Stuart monarch, died at Kensington Palace in London aged 49. As none of her children survived her, under the terms of the Act of Succession of 1701 she was succeeded by George, Elector of Hanover, who was proclaimed as George I. He was the first of the Hanoverian monarchs.

1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England formed Great Britain.

1710 - St Paul's Cathderal, London, completed by Sir Christopher Wren 

1711 - First race meeting held at Ascot 

After Anne's death the succession went to the nearest Protestant relative of the Stuart line. This was George of Hanover, grandson of James I.

Tudorsprevious pagenext pageHanoverians

1066 - 1154 The Normans

1154 - 1216 The Angevins (The first Plantagenet kings)

1216 - 1399 Plantagenets

1399 - 1461 The House of Lancaster

1461 - 1485 The House of York

1485 -1603 The Tudors

1603 - 1649 and 1660 - 1714 The Stuarts

1714 -1901 The House of Hanoverians

1901 -1910 and 1910 - Today Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and The Windsors


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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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