The Crown

I recently watched The Crown. It’s a Netflix series of ten episodes that span the years 1947-1955 in the life of Elizabeth II, with flashbacks to the time of Edward VIII‘s abdication and the succession of Elizabeth’s father, George VI, in 1936. (It seems that more episodes are in the works, and that they will focus on the latter years of the Queen’s reign.) Whatever the merits or demerits of The Crown — and there are both — it got me to thinking about the history of the monarchs of England, their lineage in particular.

The lineage can be found in many sources, which are usually complex depictions, replete with spouses and siblings. (See this and this, for example.) The best simplified version that I have found is this one at Wikipedia, which omits the spouses and siblings and focuses on the line of descent from Alfred the Great (reigned 871-899) to Elizabeth II.

I have concocted a variant of the simplified version that more vividly represents intra- and inter-generational shifts in the descent of monarchs. Further, it begins with the monarchs of Wessex, from whom Alfred the Great is descended. That is, it stretches back to Cardic, King of Wessex 519-534. From Cardic to Elizabeth II (House of Windsor, formerly Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) there have 82 monarchs, counting split reigns as separate monarchies and dual reigns as single monarchies. The 82 monarchies span 49 generations, including 3 generations unrepresented by a monarch.

Elizabeth II is 15 generations removed from Elizabeth I (House of Tudor, reigned 1558-1603); that is, Elizabeth II is Elizabeth I’s niece 14 generations removed.  Elizabeth II is 30 generations removed from William the Conqueror (House of Normandy, reigned 1066-1087), and 33 generations removed from her most remote ancestor in the lineage, Sewyn (House of Knitynga, reigned 1013-1014), who was the 34th monarch and William’s great-grandfather.

Although there’s no blood line between Cardic and Elizabeth II, there are family ties. Sewyn’s son Cnut the Great (House of Knitynga, reigned 1016-1035) was married to the widow of Aethelred the Unready (House of Wessex, reigned 978-1013, 1014-1016). Aethelred was Cardic’s nephew 15 generations removed.

It’s one big (happy?) family. You can view its lineage by going to “Monarchs of England.”