Great Britain and Ireland

The regions that make up the territories of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and Ireland have changed boundaries and names several times over the last two millennia. Post the collapse of the Roman Empire, several smaller kingdoms emerged over the following six centuries until the majority were united under Alfred in the tenth century in the area now known as England. Further expansion followed over the next millenium, with Wales coming under English law in 1542, Scotland joining the two kingdoms with the 1707 Act of Union, and Ireland brought under rule with the 1800 Act of Union. Ireland seceded as the Irish Free State in 1922, before becoming the state or republic of Ireland in 1937. This section includes women who have ruled in part or whole the separate domains of the areas now known as England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, those who ruled the nation of Great Britain, and those who have ruled the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This is a brief outline of the country’s history, in order to situate its rulers with further context. Please follow the links below to find out more about queens of the territories that now make up the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Ireland!


Benz-St. John, Lisa. Three Medieval Queens: Queenship and the Crown in Fourteenth-Century England. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

Campbell Orr, Clarissa, ed. Queenship in Britain 1660-1837. Royal Patronage, Court Culture, and Dynastic Politics. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009

Cooke, Jessica. “Scottish Queenship in the Thirteenth Century’, Thirteenth Century England 11 (2007): 61–80

Crawford, Anne. Letters of the Queens of England 1100-1547. Stroud: Sutton, 1994

Danbury, Elizabeth. “Images of English Queens in the Later Middle Ages.” Historian 46 (1995): 3–9

Downie, Fiona. “And They Lived Happily Ever After? Medieval Queenship and Marriage in Scotland, 1424–1449.” In Gendering Scottish History: An International Approach, edited by T. Brotherstone, D. Simonton, and O. Walsh, 129-141. Glasgow: Cruithne Press, 1999

Downie, Fiona. She is But a Woman: Queenship in Scotland, 1424–1463. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2006

Downie, Fiona. “Queenship in Late Medieval Scotland.” In Scottish Kingship, 1306–1488, edited by M. Brown and R. Tanner, 232-254. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2008

Earenfight, Theresa. Queenship in Medieval Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

Earenfight, Theresa. Women and Wealth in Late Medieval Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

Hunt, Alice, and Anna Whitelock, eds. Tudor Queenship: The Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

Laynesmith, Joanna L. The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004

Levin, Carole, and Robert Bucholz, eds. Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008

Marshall, R. K., Scottish Queens, 1073–1714. East Linton: Tuckwell, 2003

Messer, Danna R. Joan, Lady of Wales, Power and Politics of King John’s Daughter. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2020

Mudan Finn, Kavita. The Last Plantagenet Consorts: Gender, Genre, and Historiography, 1440-1627. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

Nelson, Jessica. “Queens and Queenship in Scotland, circa 1067-1286.” PhD Thesis, King’s College London, 2006

Scutt, Jocelynne A. Women and The Magna Carta: A Treaty for Control or Freedom? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

Warnicke, Retha M. Elizabeth of York and Her Six Daughters-in-Law. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

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