Kings & Queens of England: The Lives and Reigns of the Monarchs of England by Ian Crofton
In the 9th century Alfred the Great declared himself the first “king of England” and established a monarchy that has survived the shock of Norman invasion in the 11th century, the brutal vicissitudes of medieval kingship, civil war, and a transition into today’s constitutional monarchy. This expansive history offers elegant portraits of the 59 English monarchs who have held the throne, from such noted figures as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I to lesser-known sovereigns such as Æthelred the Unready and Cnut. Each monarch is profiled and the impact of his or her rule on wider English history is described and analyzed. A detailed timeline of key events, memorable quotations, feature boxes, and panels of key biographical facts augment this comprehensive survey of a thousand years of murder, invasion, usurpation, adultery, divorce, revolution, and sovereignty.