Top 10 Worst British Monarchs

The Top Ten
1 John I

Class 7PA agrees that King John was the worst king. The reasons for this are:
He got his country excommunicated from the Church because he was arguing with the Pope over who should control the English Church.
He did not listen to his barons and he should have listened to everyone instead of his foreign advisers.
A source said that he had an unstable personality and was evil.
He had an agreement, Magna Carta, but he abandoned it causing the barons to fight against him. He also raised unfair taxes.

Forced into signing Magna Carta and was viewed as having a very unstable personality, leading to the barons to rally behind Prince Louis to replace John. Was also completely overpowered by Philip II of France and Pope Innocent I. On the plus side he was able to sort out his dispute with Innocent and did have some military successes against his barons.

Class 7QD agrees that King John was the worst king. He raised taxes unfairly and he broke the Magna Carta. We also think this because he fell out with the Pope and he got excommunicated. This made people less able to get access to the Church and heaven, which was unpopular.
He may have possibly drowned his own nephew in order to keep the throne of England.

Class 7PD agrees that King John is the worst king. He raised taxes too high. He was disrespectful to the Church which resulted in John getting excommunicated by the Pope. He was not loyal to the barons because he betrayed them by breaking Magna Carta. He lost his territory in France. So overall he was the worst king.

2 Mary I

Bitter and hateful. Murdered countless of her own people in brutal and cruel ways, simply because they did not conform to Catholicism

Had no idea how to rule England. She failed to understand that England's population was largely Catholic and thus added strength to the Protestant cause by stupidly burning 300 Protestants who were immediately viewed as martyrs. Was also dominated by her husband Philip II of Spain and after choosing to invade France, Henry II completely showed her up by taking Calais, the last English possession in France.

Her treatment of Protestants is unforgivable, furthermore she did little for England during her reign and we'll and truly earned the name Bloody Mary.

An insane absolutist driven by hatred. Her reign saw almost 300 innocent people being burned at the stake.

3 Richard III

Edward V doesn't need to be on here, but this guy does! Unpopular, cruel, manipulative (if Sir Thomas More is anyone to believe), a child-killer (not yet confirmed, but highly likely)... would you want him for a monarch?

Adding to what has already been presented, I point out that he also drowned his brother, poisoned his wife's father, buried his wife under the tower of London, and then he did supposedly kill his nephews.

In his quest for power he failed to protect the dynasty and likely killed the only legitimate York heirs.

He doesn't even care about his own nephews.

4 George IV

George IV deserves some credit, he's era was the Regency Era that was an era of creativity for Britain. His personal lavish tastes is the reason why the British royal palaces are fitted with glamour today. He turned Buckingham Palace into the palace it is today despite the limited funds of the monarchs (in comparison to the monarchs on the continent). He rebuilt Windsor Castle after its decline. His love for fashion and the arts contributed so much to the Regency Era. Sure, not the country's best, but he did do something and that should be noted!

A completely useless monarch. No interest in Britain, had huge debts and by the time he became king he avoided being seen in public leading many people to wonder what the point of having a monarchy was.

He held huge debts and wasting money and not helping his country.

He only cared about money and mistresses. He is useless!

5 Edward VIII

Spent all his time with the wrong crowd and rough, married women. I am not sure why most people brush over his Nazi sympathies.

After nearly destroying the government and being forced to abdicate, he and his Nazi wife conspired with Germany. He told Hitler to keep bombing the country he abandoned.

Shamed the monarchy after abdicating the throne to marry an American actress, Wallis Simpson.

6 Henry VIII

Henry VIII was a self interested irritable monarch who actually achieved very little in a positive sense. The fact that we are a protestant nation (largely seen as a good thing) is purely a by-product of his self interest. OK, so he told the Pope where to get off but his wars were costly and largely unsuccessful.

On the whole, he spent money like there was no tomorrow and left the country far worse off than when he became king. People are only obsessed with him today because the whole"6 wives" thing makes good television.

The worst thing in my opinion however, being a student of architecture, is that he was a vandal on an epic scale.So many abbeys and priories wrecked needlessly.

He was basically the biggest baby in English monarchy history. Fickled, flaky, greedy, unfaithful, deceitful, arrogant, narcissistic, con artist. Had people killed on trumped up charges, because he wanted something/someone new, due to religious beliefs, etc. He treated most of his wives horribly (even before the cheating came out with some of them) and his own daughters Mary and Elizabeth. Yet people are criticizing his daughters and not him... 'The apple doesn't fall far from the tree'. He is to blame for their bitterness.

Because of him, Catholicism still suffers today, he killed priests, Treated women like slaves, cared about nothing but food and money. He is the most damaging British monarch

Treated women horribly. Apparently HE could cheat and filander, but if he suspected an unfaithful wife, then had her murdered. Just reading about how young (<21 y/o) Kathryn Howard was up at night practicing how to lay her head on the chopping block because she was so nervous, is heartbreaking. What a cruel and disgusting person.

And separated an entire denomination of Christianity because he wanted a divorce. Truly a scumbag who should be remembered as such.

7 William II

With hindsight, and discounting their atrocities, this certainly became a much more advanced country thanks to William the Conqueror and all his French Lords. I just adore all the amazing castles we have in England Scotland Ireland and Wales, many of which were built during and following on from William's invasion.

He was ruthless, feckless, capricious and oppressive. His father was ruthless, but at least he was an intelligent soldier.

William Rufus is just utterly selfish.

8 Stephen I

England was in total chaos after he usurped the throne in 1135. Ended up being imprisoned but after a brave assault from his wife he was freed. His only redeeming feature was that he was a capable leader in battle.

He plunged Britain into a series of four civil wars! Between 1138 and 1154!

Created chaos with nearly every decision.

9 Henry VI

Was haunted by madness but even when he was sane he was a weak personality and this led to the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses. His small successes were mainly due to his wife or his noble friends.

His lack of leadership directly caused the wars of the roses and the loss of the 100 years war

10 Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive. She was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their more.

More about Windsor Castle, the people were forced to pay the money to repair Windsor so the people wanted a republic, she receives millions of pounds from the government every year! (I recommend watching the kings and queens of England by Lindsay Koski which has 8 videos, which is 17 minutes max).

It was under her rule that the British Empire declined greatly, and it is more than likely that the United Kingdom will dismantle after her reign seeing as nearly all the territories became independent countries and the lot.

Oversaw the dismantling of the British Empire.

What has she ever done for me?

The Contenders
11 Charles I

To be honest, I kind of feel bad for the guy. Everyone puts Charles at fault, however, Parliament is equally to blame here. For example, his father was James I, a feeble king. He was king during the gunpowder plot due to his assumed hatred against Catholics; he tried copying Elizabeth I's policy of the Middle Way; he was a homosexual-making him seem girly and weak for a king and so much more. However, Parliament had no right to not grant Charles custom tax for his entire lifetime. That caused Charles to do everything he did.

If he had the guidance from Parliament, he would have probably won the taking of Cadiz and his expedition in France. But parliament refused to help him. He would have gained so much money if Parliament would have just co-operated with him. He held illegal merchant taxes therefore breaking the Magna Carta, but could you really blame him?

Every time he asked Parliament for permission, they refused. Furthermore, Queen Elizabeth I sold land for money, ...more

Charles I had catholic sympathies (religious tolerance was not a thing back then), and completely alienated parliament. He also illegally taxed people without parliamentary consent, and was an awful war leader. Just a reminder, Charles was so bad, he was the only English King to be executed for regicide!

Did not allow himself to be dominated but never understood the importance of compromise unlike his father. Consequently the Civil War broke out and after a few early successes he was defeated, refused to compromise with Cromwell and subsequently executed.

Stepped on parliamentary prerogative via the arrest of sitting MPs and illegal taxation and was a stubborn diplomat that displayed great ignorance to the grievances of the parliament. This soured political instability is what triggered a conflictual Long Parliament and his eventual trial and execution.

12 George V

This coward didn't want to offend Lenin by granting asylum to his own cousin tsar Nicholas and his family...unforgivable!

I think that's a bit harsh. He pit his people first before foreign affairs. Plus, he might have been overthrow had he done that

13 Edward II

Another person completely unfit for monarchy. Allowed himself first to be dominated by Piers Gaveston and made the same mistake again with the Despensers. Was crushed at the Battle of Bannockburn by Robert the Bruce. The legend of him being murdered with a red hot poker seems an appropriate way for him to go after his reign.

A fickle man, prone to having usually homosexual favourites. His complete and pathetic misgovernment resulted in him being deposed in 1327

He never been kind to his wife and made really bad decisions for his country!

He wielded his office only in his own and his favourites's interest finally becoming a tyrant.

14 Victoria Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any previous British monarch and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. In 1876, the British Parliament voted to grant her the additional title of Empress of India. more.

She is the worst because she killed so many Indians and took over India for 200 years and the people who were in India at the time became slaves to the crazy British people that is like slavery.

She may be "Grandmother of Europe", but she has also a bad backstory.
She married Albert and shortly after, he died and Victoria never appeared in public
for over a decade!

The 1st monarch to have never appeared in public life for over a decade!

15 George III

Wasn't really any of his fault, he was mad sure but he also had no power. Blame Lord North for taxing and losing to the Confederacy, it was his fault as the man with power to change such things.

Let the valuable colonies that would become the United States slip away, was quite mentally unstable, unwilling to compromise to satisfy the colonists

He Was insane and lost America.

16 James II

Didn't understand that England would not accept a Catholic king who tried to brush aside parliament. Was overthrown by William I during the Glorious Revolution.

To the person above that thinks William the Conqueror of 1066 fame overthrew James II, thank god you don't teach history.

James could have wrote the opposite of a popular management book, " How not to win friends or influence people.

This senseless king was soon replaced in the "Glorious Revolution".

17 Edward VII

A weak and cowardly man, who never led from the front in battle. Drove his people into poverty because of his own fears and even enslaved those who dared to rebel against his huge taxes and fines. Executed large numbers of people. Held the young boy Edward of Warwick (a York heir) in basically solitary confinement in the tower of London until he lost his mind. Treated his wife appallingly but as a grown man of over 30 years and crowned a king needed his mothers rooms next to his still and she would see him to bed at night (basically tucking him in).

The only royal to be a genuine nazi.

One of you is thinking of Henry vii and the other two our thinking of Edward viii, Edward vii was Victoria's son and heir who reigned from 1901 to 1910 and created the modern monarchy and forged England's longstanding alliance with France

18 Harold Godwinson

Defeated the largest invading force that England had ever seen at Stamford Bridge, lost to the largest force England had ever seen at Hastings. Short reign, not too bad as a king, pretty fleet footed (which helped his charge on both William and Harald), but certainly not that notable.

A total lamppost he is the reason England was under French control

19 Egbert
20 Æthelred the Unready

Ill advised, as his name says, into marching on Winchester and killing his brother, Eadwærd the Martyr, into prancing around England whilst his Kingdom was taken, into pushing his son, Ironside, to war with CNUT and HARTHACNUT (as well as Harold Harefoot). He was a pretty bad king, was so abrasive and stupid that the Witan (the council that elected Kings in Anglo-Saxon England) kicked him out of the country twice in favour of a Scandinavian candidate.

Over the dead body of his brother king received a country ruled by the laws of Alfred the Great - the best organised state in Western Europe. His long reign marked by unrest and slaughter of his Danish subjects resulted in the loss of England to Danish kings and paved the way to the Norman conquest that brought ruin to the North and extermination of Anglosaxon aristocracy.

21 Richard I

Overrated bloodthirsty warlord who only cared about England when he wanted money from his subjects to help him kill more Muslims and never even attempted to learn English. He always considered England a distant second to his homeland France.

Ambitious to the point of megalomania, he usurped his own father to win the throne.

Utterly moronic, he managed to get himself kidnapped through incompetence and the ransom bankrupted the nation for years.

In a final act of stupidity he was killed in battle as he didn't bother to put any armour on.

His good reputation stems from the fact that the Church did molst of the writing back then and they gave him a good write up as he took part in the Crusades. Through modern eyes, his reign can be seen for the warmongering egotrip that it really was.

Did absolutely nothing to govern his own country. He was too busy spending it's money playing a Medieval version of cowboys and Indians- where he raided others lands and attempted to force them to convert to what he felt was the 'correct' way of living

He spent only 6 months in England, barley spoke English and bankrupt the country to fund the crusades that he didn't win. He also handed the country over to the worst monarch in history his brother John.

£150,000 for Crusade, £100,000 for his ransom, £31,000 for his defense.

The Crusade can be swept aside as an act of piety, because surely kings should be pious?

But the capture was his fault. After the fall of Acre to the Christians the three most battleworthy men stood to fly their banners above the city: Richard le Couer de Lion, Phillip Augustus, and Leopold die Virtuous. Richard stood, offended that someone of his pomposity could be equal to a Duke like Leopold, he tore the standard down and stamped on it.

The defense was his fault, he left the Crusade too early in some's eyes (for he abandoned Jerusalem), but I'd suggest he left too late. If he had left with Phillip, the Crusade would still have gotten Acre and Cyprus, steppingboards that would be used more than any other port for future Levantine Crusades, and he wouldn't have lost the Vexin, the land so needed for the defense of Normandy. With the loss of the Vexin, the Norman Barons begun to move to ...more

22 James I

One word: hatred. This man hated everyone. He loathed women and had an unusually sick fascination with believing everyone to be a witch.

Most racist king ever

23 Edward V

Not his fault but at the end of the day he was only on the throne for 2 months before being overthrown by Richard I and therefore achieved nothing as king. The poor boy never got a chance to prove himself and became more famous for his mysterious death.

I believe his uncle was Richard III, brother of Edward IV, and not Richard I (Coeur de Leon).

It's not fair he had to be killed by his uncle.

24 Henry III

A very weak king who was dominated by his barons and then his wife and her family, leading to his imprisonment by Simon de Montfort. It was down to his son Edward, not Henry himself, that Simon was killed and that Henry got his throne back.

25 Mary Queen of Scots

Wonderful, beautiful, intelligent Catholic monarch betrayed by the heretic John Knox. She unfortunately had a poor choice in men.

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