The Jubilee Kings

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There’s no doubt that England’s queens are longer reigning that the country’s kings. Since Mary I became the first female regnant, over 500 years ago, just six women have ruled in their own right but 50% of them have chalked up epic reigns. And finding kings who reached any kind of jubilee landmark is a little harder than you think.

A quarter of a century is now taken as the first major jubilee in Britain and only a handful of male rulers have managed that. This is a look at the kings who made it to 25 years on the throne but not as far as 50 years wearing the Crown.

The House of Norman

Just one of the four Norman kings managed a reign long enough to merit jubilee status, even though such celebrations weren’t usual at the time. In 1100, Henry I, youngest son of William the Conqueror, claimed the throne his father had won at the Battle of Hastings and ruled his father’s captured kingdom for thirty five years.

The House of Plantagenet

The Plantagenets were in charge for hundreds of years and produced dozens of royals which didn’t help when it came to keeping reigns long. Cousins claiming crowns led to a good run of short rules and the number of jubilee kings is lower than you might imagine.

The first King of the House of Plantagenet, Henry II, racked up a reign lasting 35 years. He took the throne, following the Civil War known as the Anarchy, in 1154 and went on to hold power until 1189.

His grandson, Henry III, was the first post Conquest king to rule for longer than a half century. His reign ran from 1216 until 1272, a total of 56 years.

Edward I, Henry III’s son, held the throne for 25 years, between 1272 and 1307.

One more monarch managed a jubilee worthy reign. Edward III, grandson of Edward I, ruled England between 1327 and 1377, another golden king.

The House of Lancaster

The unfortunate Henry VI, was king between 1422 and 1461, a reign of 39 years. He was briefly restored to the throne in 1471 but toppled again soon afterwards during the Wars of the Roses.

The House of Tudor

He is still perhaps the most famous king England has ever had and Henry VIII is part of the jubilee crowd. He took the throne in 1509 and ruled until 1547. His 38 year reign changed England forever.

The House of Stuart

Charles II restored the Monarchy after the downfall and execution of his father and went on to rule for a quarter of a century, between 1660 and 1685.

The House of Hanover

As medical science improved and lifespans increased, the reigns of England’s kings began to grow. George II, was in charge between 1727 and 1760, a reign of 33 years.

His grandson, George III, succeeded him and gave the country its first ever six decade reign. He was King between 1760 and 1820 but the last ten years of his rule were dominated by his ill health which saw his eldest son, George, take power as Prince Regent.

The House of Windsor

George V was actually a king of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha when he took the throne in 1910 but his decision to change the family name in 1917 gave the world one of its best known dynasties. The first King of the House of Windsor went on to rule for 26 years, marking his Silver Jubilee in 1935.

About Post Author

Lydia Starbuck

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.