Penguin Monarchs, The Full List

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Dive into the royal history of Britain with the Penguin Monarchs series, “short, fresh, expert accounts of England’s rulers”.

Each book offers an exploration of the country’s rulers, from Athelstan in 920 to Elizabeth II’s reign (1952). These concise volumes provide a clear overview of 1,000 years of British monarchy.

Penguin Monarchs, The Series in Order

The publication began in late 2014 with releases including Henry VIII, George V, Charles I, Edward VI, and George VI.

Unlike Penguin’s non-chronological approach, I’ve chosen to present the collection following the sequence of historical events.

  1. Athelstan: The Making of England by Tom Holland (924-939)
  2. Aethelred the Unready: The Failed King by Richard Abels (978-1016)
  3. Cnut: The North Sea King by Ryan Lavelle (1016-1035)
  4. Edward the Confessor: The Sainted King by David Woodman (1042-1066)
  5. William I: England’s Conqueror by Marc Morris (1066-1087)
  6. William II: The Red King by John Gillingham (1087-1100)
  7. Henry I: The Father of His People by Edmund King (1100-1135)
  8. Stephen: The Reign of Anarchy by Carl Watkins (1135-1154)
  9. Henry II: A Prince Among Princes by Richard Barber (1154-1189)
  10. Richard I: The Crusader King by Thomas Asbridge (1189-1199)
  11. John: An Evil King? by Nicholas Vincent (1199-1216)
  12. Henry III: A Simple and God-Fearing King by Stephen D. Church (1216-1272)
  13. Edward I: A New King Arthur? by Andy King (1272-1307)
  14. Edward II: The Terrors of Kingship by Christopher Given-Wilson (1307-1327)
  15. Edward III: A Heroic Failure by Jonathan Sumption (1327-1377)
  16. Richard II: A Brittle Glory by Laura Ashe (1377-1399)
  17. Henry IV: The Afflicted King by Catherine Nall (1399-1413)
  18. Henry V: From Playboy Prince to Warrior King by Anne Curry (1413-1422)
  19. Henry VI: A Good, Simple and Innocent Man by James Ross (1422-1461)
  20. Edward IV: The Summer King by A.J. Pollard (1461-1483)
  21. Richard III: A Failed King? by Rosemary Horrox (1483-1485)
  22. Henry VII: Treason and Trust by Sean Cunningham (1485-1509)
  23. Henry VIII: The Quest for Fame by John Guy (1509-1547)
  24. Edward VI: The Last Boy King by Stephen Alford (1547-1553)
  25. Mary I: The Daughter of Time by John Edwards (1553-1558)
  26. Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity by Helen Castor ( 1558-1603)
  27. James I: The Phoenix King by Thomas Cogswell (1603-1625)
  28. Charles I: An Abbreviated Life by Mark Kishlansky (1625-1649)
  29. Oliver Cromwell: England’s Protector by David Horspool (1649-1660)
  30. Charles II: The Star King by Clare Jackson (1660-1685)
  31. James II: The Last Catholic King by David Womersley (1685-1688)
  32. William III & Mary II: Partners in Revolution by Jonathan Keates (1689-1702)
  33. Anne: Last Queen of England by Richard Hewlings (1702-1707)
  34. George I: The Lucky King by Tim Blanning (1714-1727)
  35. George II: Not Just a British Monarch by Norman Davies (1727-1760)
  36. George III: Madness and Majesty by Jeremy Black (1760-1820)
  37. George IV: King in Waiting by Stella Tillyard (1820-1830)
  38. William IV: A King at Sea by Roger Knight (1830-1837)
  39. Victoria: Queen, Matriarch, Empress by Jane Ridley (1837-1901)
  40. Edward VII: The Cosmopolitan King by Richard Davenport-Hines (1901-1910)
  41. George V: The Unexpected King by David Cannadine (19120-1936)
  42. Edward VIII: The Uncrowned King by Piers Brendon (1936-1936)
  43. George VI: The Dutiful King by Philip Ziegler (1936-1952)
  44. Elizabeth II: The Steadfast by Douglas Hurd (1952-2022)

A brief note about the future titles of Penguin Monarchs

When the project was announced, it was said that the Penguin Monarchs would consist of 45 titles, released in groups of five over the next four years.

Nearly a decade on, the collection remains unfinished as Penguin has a few titles yet to release. On their website, they announce upcoming additions:

What about the 45th title? It is supposedly Edward V: The May King by Thomas Penn (you can find a cover for the book and even an original release date for 2019), but there is no information about a possible release for that title at this moment.

After this exploration of the British rulers, dive into historical fiction with the now classic The Wolf Hall Trilogy by Hilary Mantell.