The monarch of the United Kingdom is the head of state of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories in the broader Commonwealth of Nations. There have been 12 monarchs of the United Kingdom proper, although the monarchy traces its origins back to both the monarchies of the Angles and the ancient Scots kings. The Kingdom of Great Britain was formed by the Acts of Union on 1 May 1707 with the merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which had been in personal union under the House of Stuart since March 1603. On 1 January 1801 Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After most of Ireland left the union on 6 December 1922, its name was amended to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 12 April 1927.
While the monarchy maintains formal executive authority over the country, those powers are constrained by law, precedent, and custom. For example, while the monarch appoints the prime minister, custom dictates that the monarch must appoint someone who has the support of the House of Commons. Thus, the Prime Minister's tenure in office is set by democratic election rather than by the monarch's choice. Moreover, the Prime Minister holds most of the actual power when it comes to setting and executing domestic and foreign policy.
In addition, the monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Again, as in the secular realm, the monarch's role is more ceremonial, and the Archbishop of Canterbury is the true spiritual leader.
The monarch reigns for life. Succession is hereditary, and is governed by male-preference cognatic primogeniture. In October 2011, the governments of the various commonwealths began the process of implementing legislation to do away with the male preference. In short order, efforts were also begun to remove the ban on Catholic rulers. Both amendments were made by the British Parliament in the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013.
This article lists the known British monarchs found in the works of Harry Turtledove after the point of divergence in any alternate history, or known monarchs found in works of science fiction or fantasy. Monarchs who served before the POD of a given alternate history that are mentioned in passing do not need to be listed here. Stories set in OTL may reference past monarchs, or even the sitting monarch, but unless the individual's role in the story is specifically fictionalized, they do not belong here.
The reign of Victoria saw Great Britain intervene in North America twice in a generation. In 1862, Britain recognised the independence of the Confederate States, and forced a mediation upon the United States, bringing the War of Secession to a close. In 1881, Britain participated in the Second Mexican War, attacking the USA on several fronts, and annexing a part of Maine into Canada when the conflict ended in 1882.
However, the UK's participation in the Great War (in the reign of George V) and the Second Great War (in the reign of Edward VIII) proved disastrous for the country, as Britain was defeated both times, and devastated with superbombs in the last one.
Incumbent at series' end, 1945
In the mid-1760s, King George III met with an American delegation led by Colonel George Washington. The meeting led to an agreement on colonial self-rule within the British Empire averted a feared revolution of the colonies against Great Britain, and led to the foundation of the North American Union. A famous painting commemorated this event.
The Union continued as a proud part of the Empire, naming its capital after Queen-Empress Victoria. In 1995, a plot by a separatist insurrection was thwarted in the capital, and the life of the visiting King-Emperor Charles III was saved.
Incumbent at novel's end, 1995
(*) Not referenced in novel.
Only three 20th-century monarchs are named. Edward VIII and Edward IX are mentioned only in passing, while Charles III appears directly in the present day, 1995. Edward VIII is implied to have had a long reign. Assuming that Edward VIII took the throne in 1936 as in OTL, the compact timeline leaves little room for any additional monarchs.
Monarch of England
The usual list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, who initially ruled Wessex, one of the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the Anglo-Saxons from about 886, and while he was not the first king to claim to rule all of the English, his rule represents the start of the first unbroken line of kings to rule the whole of England, the House of Wessex. Arguments have made for a few different kings deemed to control enough Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to be deemed the first king of England. For example, Offa of Mercia and Egbert of Wessex are sometimes described as kings of England by popular writers, but it is no longer the majority view of historians that their wide dominions are part of a process leading to a unified England. For example, Offa achieved a dominance over many of the kingdoms of southern England, but this did not survive his death in 796. In 829 Egbert of Wessex conquered Mercia, but he soon lost control of it. It was not until Alfred's reign that Wessex became the dominant Anglo-Saxon kingdom. The title "King of the English" or Rex Anglorum in Latin, was first used to describe Alfred's grandson Æthelstan in one of his charters in 928.
After the death of Queen Elizabeth I without issue in 1603, King James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, joining the crowns of England and Scotland in personal union. By royal proclamation, James styled himself "King of Great Britain", but no such kingdom was actually created until 1707, when England and Scotland united to form the new United Kingdom of Great Britain, with a single British parliament sitting at Westminster, during the reign of Queen Anne.
The following monarchs ruled England but not the United Kingdom during or after the point of divergence of one of Harry Turtledove's alternate history works, or in works of fantasy or science fiction in non-ATL works. Stories set in the past of OTL may reference past or future monarchs, or even the incumbent monarch, but unless there is a speculative element about these references, they do not belong here.
In the 17th century, the English monarchy achieved absolute power under the "Divine Right of Kings" doctrine. Instead of challenging the monarch's power, all of the more important dissidents simply emigrated to the American colonies, leading to the formation of a new nation, the Federated Commonwealths of America, in 1738.
James I, incumbent during "Vilest Beast" and referenced in broad strokes, primarily as the namesake of Jamestown.
Charles I appears to be the king who adopted the Divine Right of Kings and silenced all opposition. His final fate is unrevealed.
Unnamed and ungendered monarch, incumbent during "Though the Heavens Fall," set in 1804-1805. Referenced in passing as "a tyrant," although this assessment comes from a very unreliable source. While the novel's timeframe extends to 1988, it doesn't address the further developments of English politics.
The succession of the English monarchy was disrupted in 1588, when King Philip II of Spain ordered the Spanish Armada to invade England. The invading Spanish subdued the country, and imprisoned Queen Elizabeth in the Tower of London. Philip installed his daughter Queen Isabella and her husband King Albert on the English throne. Their reign lasted until 1598, when the English people rose up and drove the Spanish out.
|Isabella and Albert||1588-1598|
Incumbent at novel's end
Monarch of Scotland
The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of Scotland. According to tradition, the first King of Scots was Kenneth I MacAlpin (Cináed mac Ailpín), who founded the state in 843. The distinction between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of the Picts is rather the product of later medieval myth and confusion from a change in nomenclature i.e. Rex Pictorum (King of the Picts) becomes Rí Alban (King of Alba) under Donald II when annals switched from Latin to vernacular around the end of the 9th century, by which time the word Alba in Gaelic had come to refer to the Kingdom of the Picts rather than Great Britain (its older meaning). By the late 11th century at the very latest, Scottish kings were using the term rex Scottorum, or King of Scots, to refer to themselves in Latin. The Kingdom of Scotland was merged with the Kingdom of England to form a single United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. Thus Queen Anne became the last monarch of the ancient kingdoms of Scotland and England and the first of Great Britain, although the kingdoms had shared a monarch since 1603. Her uncle Charles II was the last monarch to be crowned in Scotland, at Scone in 1651, although he was not recognised as king by Parliament. He had a second coronation in England ten years later, after the Restoration of the monarchy in both countries.
In the works of Harry Turtledove, the Scottish monarchy remains separate from the English version in a handful of timelines. The only one to name a monarch is Ruled Britannia, where King James VI rules at the close of the 16th century as in OTL. The novel ends too early for him to assume his other OTL title, James I of England. In a few other timelines, the Union of the Crowns (1603) and/or the Act of Union (1707) presumably happen as in OTL, but are not specifically mentioned in the text.
Various monarchs of England (and Scotland in some cases), Great Britain, and geographic analogs thereof, play roles, of varying importance, in other Harry Turtledove timelines after the point of divergence, or in fantasy or science fiction stories set in OTL and/or a hypothetical future.
The Atlantis timeline acknowledges several historical monarchs of England and/or Britain: Henry VI (incumbent at the relevant POD), Edward IV, Elizabeth I, Charles II, George III, and Victoria (incumbent at series' end).
In addition to the above, Edward VIII's abdication and subsequent Dukedom of Windsor occur in The War That Came Early, but this former king casts a greater shadow than in OTL, as Britain's politics veer dangerously toward the fascism which Edward purportedly admires.
In Through Darkest Europe, England and Scotland retain separate monarchies in 2018. Neither reigning monarch is described, but the incumbent Prince of Wales, heir to the English throne, appears directly.
Historical Monarchs in Non-Monarchical Roles
- Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the head of government and senior most elected position in the United Kingdom. In truth, the Prime Minister actually makes most of the important decisions for the country, with the monarch acting as a figurehead.