Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy by Alison Weir


  About the Author

  Also by Alison Weir



  1 The Saxon and Danish Kings of England

  2 The Norman Kings of England

  3 The Angevin or Plantagenet Kings of England

  4 The Later Plantagenets: The Houses of Lancaster and York

  5 The Tudors

  6 The Kings and Queens of Scotland from the 9th Century to 1603

  Part One: The House of MacAlpine

  Part Two: The House of Dunkeld

  Part Three: The House of Balliol

  Part Four: The House of Bruce

  Part Five: The House of Stewart

  7 The House of Stuart

  8 The House of Hanover

  9 The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha becomes the House of Windsor

  Author's Note

  Select Bibliography


  About the Author

  Alison Weir was born in London and now resides in Surrey. Before becoming a published author in 1989, she was a civil servant, then a housewife and mother. From 1991 to 1997, whilst researching and writing books, she ran a school for children with learning difficulties before taking up writing full-time. Her non-fiction books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Lancaster and York, Children of England, Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VIII: King and Court, Isabella and, most recently, The Lady in the Tower. She is also the author of three best-selling novels, Innocent Traitor, The Lady Elizabeth and The Captive Queen.

  Alison Weir



  The Complete Genealogy

  To Rankin, John and Kate

  Also by Alison Weir


  Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy

  The Six Wives of Henry VIII

  The Princes in the Tower

  Lancaster and York: The Wars of the Roses

  Children of England: The Heirs of King Henry VIII 1547 – 1558

  Elizabeth the Queen

  Eleanor of Aquitaine

  Henry VIII: King and Court

  Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley

  Isabella: She Wolf of France, Queen of England

  Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and His Scandalous Duchess

  The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn


  Innocent Traitor

  The Lady Elizabeth

  The Captive Queen


  In 1965, when I was fourteen, I read for the first time an adult historical novel. It was about Katherine of Aragon, and was entirely forgettable, except for the fact that it left me with a thirst to find out more about its subject. Subsequently, I read many more novels, and then many history books, and my interest expanded from the Tudor period to encompass the whole sweep of British, indeed, European, history. But from the first, my chief fascination was with the British monarchy, and it became my ambition to produce a book that would provide the reader with a complete genealogical record of all the royal families of England, Scotland and Great Britain.

  It has taken me more than 22 years to research this book. Throughout this time I have consulted countless books and articles in various libraries, visited sites of interest, and revised the manuscript at least eight times. It may seem strange, but despite the fact that there are numerous and detailed books on the British monarchy, and even on royal genealogy, there is not one that gives a complete record of all the members of the various royal houses and families. To obtain such a record, I have had to research each person individually, cross-checking the facts where possible from alternative sources, and re-checking against new works as they were published. I have used original, contemporary sources for verification wherever possible.

  The result is Britain’s Royal Families, which I am convinced will prove an invaluable aid to the student of royal history, and will provide much of interest for even the most casual of royalty watchers.

  Alison Weir

  London, 1989


  The Saxon and Danish Kings of England

  There have been kings in England for more than 2,000 years, and yet this realm has been a monarchy for little more than half that time. Up until the Dark Ages, kingship was basically tribal, invested in chieftains of Celtic or Romano-British stock. Then, in the middle of the 5th century, England began to feel the impact of the Barbarian invasions that were changing the face of Europe. Angles, Saxons and Jutes came to these shores, settled, and then colonised the land. There then evolved 7 kingdoms, known to historians as the Heptarchy. The earliest kingdom was established in Kent by Hengist, son of a Germanic chieftain, in around A.D. 455. The other kingdoms were Essex (the East Saxons), Sussex (the South Saxons), East Anglia (the East Angles), Lindsey, Bernicia, Deira, Mercia and Wessex (the West Saxons). Lindsey was centred around Lincoln; the names of its kings are not known to us, and it was very soon swallowed up by neighbouring kingdoms. Bernicia and Deira combined later on to form the kingdom of Northumbria, the first of the biggest three kingdoms to establish supremacy over the rest.

  Christianity came to Kent in the late 6th century, and soon spread to the rest of the Heptarchy, although there were pagan influences still prevalent until the late middle ages. Not so welcome were the raids of the Vikings from Scandinavia, which were the scourge of England (and other countries also) from the 8th to the 11th centuries, and which attained their ultimate achievement in the Norman Conquest of 1066.

  Northumbria was the first kingdom to achieve supremacy, and during the 7th century it was a centre for the arts and religion. Unfortunately, the light of learning was extinguished during the following century because of the Viking raids. At that time, Mercia was in the ascendant. This kingdom comprised the Midlands and some of the southern counties. At its peak of supremacy, Mercia was governed by King Offa (d.796), who established firm government and overseas alliances. However, after his death, the kingdom declined because of ineffective leadership, leaving Wessex in the ascendant.

  The kingdom of Wessex had been founded in A.D. 519 by a chieftain called Cerdic, who came to Britain from Germany in 494/5. His descendants, proud to bear his name, called themselves ‘Cerdingas’. H.M. Queen Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of Cerdic. Later Saxon chroniclers would boastfully trace Cerdic’s descent from Adam and Eve, via a mythical son born to Noah in the Ark, but of course this is pure fiction, for Cerdic’s ancestors were in fact obscure tribal chieftains and elders.

  Anglo-Saxon kingship was a blend of the mystical and the practical. The function of the king was to protect his people, by making war if necessary, and by giving them laws to obey. He was also sanctified by holy rites, which evolved into the coronation as we know it, the modern form of which dates from the crowning of King Edgar in 973. Anglo-Saxon kings of the House of Wessex had from time immemorial been crowned upon the ancient coronation stone at Kingston-upon-Thames, in a simple ritual which was not as complicated as the European ceremony adapted for Edgar by Archbishop Dunstan. Hence, the king, set apart by his anointing and crowning, and thereby invested with priestly attributes, was a champion of the Christian Church, who was deemed to hold his office from God.

  The king was also expected to father sons for posterity, to ensure the succession and the stability of the kingdom. His wife was rarely accorded the title of ‘Queen’ in Wessex, but was usually styled ‘Lady’. Succession was by primogeniture, supporting the right of the eldest son, although on several occasions the right of conquest prevailed over this.

As late as the 11th century, the Danes were still attempting to invade and conquer a by then united England, and they were ultimately successful, which is why our line of Anglo-Saxon monarchs is broken by four Danish interlopers. As a result of this, the succession in the 11th century was an ongoing problem, which was not finally resolved until 1066. In 1100, when Henry I married a princess of Saxon descent, the old and the new royal houses at last joined in blood.

  This handbook is about the monarchy, and it begins with the first ruler who properly may be accorded the title of monarch, Egbert of Wessex. Egbert was acknowledged in his time as an outstanding sovereign, who, by the end of his reign, was recognised by other, lesser, kings as overlord of most of England. For this reason, we must begin with Egbert. Unfortunately, his supremacy did not long survive his death, and the authority of his immediate descendants, the great Alfred included, was more or less confined to Wessex. It was not until more than a century after Egbert’s death that the monarchy was properly established in England under King Athelstan.

  King Egbert

  * * *

  FATHER: Ealhmund, King of Kent.

  He was the son of Eafa of Wessex by a Kentish princess, whose identity is unknown. Ealhmund is known to have been reigning in Kent in 784 or 786. He died in 786 (?).

  MOTHER: Unknown.

  SIBLINGS: St Alburga.

  She was either the daughter of Ealhmund by his unknown wife, or the daughter of that wife by another husband. She is called the half-sister of Egbert.

  Alburga married Wulfstan, who was perhaps Ealdorman of Wiltshire. Upon her widowhood, she entered her husband’s religious foundation at Wilton, which she is said to have converted into a nunnery. She died and was buried there in c.800 or c.810. Egbert did not have any brothers.


  He was born around 769/80. He became ‘Subregulus’ of Kent in 790/96, and succeeded Beorhtric as King of Wessex in 802. There is no record of his coronation. From 825 onwards, he had established his supremacy over all other rulers in England, and was effective overlord of all the south-eastern kingdoms. In 829, he succeeded Wiglaf as King of Mercia, although he was expelled the following year.

  Egbert married (although no record exists of the date or the place):


  She is said to have been the sister of the King of the Franks (who, at that time, was Charlemagne), but her identity is uncertain, and hardly anything is known about her.

  Issue of marriage:

  1 King Ethelwulf ( see here).

  2 Athelstan

  He became ‘Subregulus’ of Kent, Essex, Sussex and Surrey in 839, and also reigned as King of East Anglia. He died in c.851.

  Athelstan married a lady about whom no information exists, and had issue:

  (i) Ethelweard

  He was ‘Subregulus’ of Kent. He died, probably unmarried, in 850.

  3 Edith

  She became a nun at Polesworth Abbey, Co. Warwick, where she later became Abbess. She died and was buried there, but the year is not recorded.


  He died on 4 February (or after c.June), 839, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral. His bones are now in one of the mortuary chests there.

  He was succeeded by his son Ethelwulf.

  King Ethelwulf

  * * *

  FATHER: Egbert, King of Wessex ( see here).

  MOTHER: Redburga ( see here).

  SIBLINGS: ( see here).


  He was born around 795/810. He became ‘Subregulus’ of Kent, Essex, Sussex and Surrey in 825 or 828, and succeeded his father as King of Wessex on 4 February, 839. He was crowned, probably that same year, at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. In 855/6, he resigned Wessex to his son Ethelbald, and confined his own authority to Kent, Sussex and Essex as ‘Subregulus’.

  Ethelwulf married firstly, in c.830 (although no record exists as to where):


  She was the daughter of Oslac of Hampshire or the Isle of Wight. She died in 846 or 852/5. (Osburga has sometimes been confused by historians with St Osburga, foundress of Coventry Abbey, who died c.1018).

  Issue of marriage:

  1 Athelstan (?)

  Although some sources cite Athelstan as Ethelwulf’s eldest son, he has almost certainly been confused with Athelstan, son of King Egbert, as the details of his life are identical. It is therefore improbable that Ethelwulf actually had a son called Athelstan.

  2 King Ethelbald ( see here).

  3 King Ethelbert ( see here).

  4 King Ethelbert I ( see here).

  5 King Alfred ( see here).

  6 Ethelswitha

  She married, after 2 April, 853 (or 854/5), Burgred, King of Mercia (d.874) at the Palace of Chippenham, Wiltshire. Shortly after her widowhood in 874, she became a nun. She went on a pilgrimage to Rome in 888/9, but died in Paris on the way there. She was buried at either Pavia or Ticino in Italy.

  Ethelwulf married secondly, on 1 or 15 October, 856, at Verberie sur Oise, France:


  She was the daughter of Charles II, King of the Franks, by Ermentrude, daughter of Odo, Count of Orléans. She was born in c.843/4, and was crowned Queen of Wessex on her wedding day.

  In 860, she married secondly her stepson, King Ethelbald ( see here), at Chester, but the marriage was annulled that same year on grounds of consanguinity. She had no issue from either of these marriages.

  In c.863, she married thirdly Baldwin I, Count of Flanders (d.c.879), at Auxerre, France, and had issue:

  1 Charles (died young).

  2 Baldwin II, Count of Flanders (d.918), who married Elfrida of Wessex ( see here, under King Alfred), and had issue. One of their descendants was Matilda, wife of William I.

  3 Rudolf, Count and Abbot of Cambrai.

  4 Gunhilda, who married Wilfred I, Count of Barcelona (d.897).

  Judith died in c.870.


  He died on 13 January (or late in the year), 858, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.

  He was succeeded by his son Ethelbald.

  King Ethelbald

  * * *

  FATHER: Ethelwulf, King of Wessex ( see here).

  MOTHER: Osburga ( see here, under King Ethelwulf).

  SIBLINGS: ( see here, under King Ethelwulf).


  He was born in c.834. He succeeded his father as King of Wessex on 13 January (or late in the year), 858, and was crowned soon afterwards at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

  Ethelbald married, in 860 (although no record exists as to where):


  She was his father’s widow, and the marriage was frowned upon. It was annulled that same year. There was no issue from it. (Judith’s details are given under King Ethelwulf, see here).


  He died on 20 December, 860, and was buried in Sherborne Abbey, Dorset.

  He was succeeded by his brother Ethelbert.

  King Ethelbert

  * * *

  FATHER: Ethelwulf, King of Wessex ( see here).

  MOTHER: Osburga ( see here, under King Ethelwulf).

  SIBLINGS: ( see here, under King Ethelwulf).


  He was born in c.836. He became ‘Subregulus’ of Kent in 853 or 855, and succeeded his brother Ethelbald as King of Wessex on 20 December, 860. He was crowned soon afterwards at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

  He died, unmarried and childless, in 865/6, and was buried in Sherborne Abbey, Dorset.

  He was succeeded by his brother Ethelred.

  Ethelred I

  * * *

  FATHER: Ethelwulf, King of Wessex ( see here).

  MOTHER: Osburga ( see here, under King Ethelwulf).

  SIBLINGS: ( see here, under King Ethelwulf).


  He was born in c.840. He succeeded his brother Ethelbert as King of Wessex in 865/6, and was crowned shortly afterwards at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

  Ethelred I married, in c.868 (altho
ugh no record exists as to where):

  (?) Wulfrida

  Nothing is known of her origin or dates.

  Issue of marriage:

  1 Ethelwald

  He was born in c.868, and set himself up as King of York and Pretender to the throne of Wessex in 901, after the death of his uncle, King Alfred. He was killed defending his claims in 902/5 at the Battle of the Holm.

  Ethelwald married a professed nun from Wimborne Minster, Dorset; her name is unknown.

  2 Ethelhelm

  He is perhaps to be identified with:

  (a) an Ealdorman of Wiltshire, or

  (b) an Archbishop of Canterbury who was consecrated in 919 and who died on 8 January, 923.

  There is, unfortunately, no conclusive evidence to support either theory. It is possible that Ethelhelm died in 898.


  He was killed on 23 April (after Easter), 871, at the Battle of Merton, and was buried at Wimborne Minster, Dorset, although some less reliable sources give his place of burial as Sherborne Abbey, Dorset. After his death, he was popularly reputed a saint.

  He was succeeded by his brother Alfred.

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