Throughout English history, many monarchs have lost their thrones due to civil wars, invasions, religious conflicts, or personal scandals. Here are the details of ten such monarchs:

1. Harold II (1066): The last of the Anglo-Saxon kings reigned for less than a year and spent it fighting to retain power against a coordinated double invasion by Vikings in the north and Normans in the south. Victorious at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, Harold was defeated and killed at the Battle of Hastings. After defeating the Vikings, Harold had to face William of Normandy with a disorganized, wounded, and tired army. William’s successful invasion changed English history.

2. William II (1087-1100): The third son of William the Conqueror, William II, known as ‘Rufus,’ was king from 26 September 1087. Red-faced and hot-tempered, he filled his court with undeserving favourites and spent too much time hunting. William was killed by an arrow through the lung while hunting in the New Forest on 2 August 1100. The circumstances remain unclear, but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle notes that he was “shot by an arrow by one of his own men.”

3. John (1199-1216): At odds with the barons for much of his reign, John was a fugitive king at the time of his death. His attempt to renege on commitments made at the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 led to civil war and the occupation of London by a foreign usurper invited in by John’s rebellious subjects. During his reign, he also lost Normandy to King Philip of France.

4. Edward II (1307-1327): A weak-willed playboy dominated by favourites, Edward was an ineffective and unpopular king. The English army was defeated at Bannockburn in 1314 by Robert the Bruce. Estranged from his wife, he was overthrown in a conspiracy led by the queen herself. Edward was then murdered while imprisoned in Berkeley Castle, reportedly by having a red-hot poker thrust by his backside.

5. Richard II (1377-1399): Like Edward II, Richard was bored by governmental responsibility and addicted to pleasure and extravagance. Overthrown in a military revolt led by Henry Bolingbroke (who became Henry IV), he was deposed and then secretly murdered in Pontefract Castle.

6. Henry VI (1422-1461): A religious obsessive dominated by his queen, Margaret of Anjou, Henry was unable to prevent England’s descent into the protracted internecine conflict now known as the Wars of the Roses. Overthrown in 1461, he remained in play until 1471 when, having been briefly restored to the throne in a Lancastrian coup, his army was defeated, and he was captured and promptly murdered.

7. Richard III (1483-1485): After murdering his brother’s two sons, Richard of York seized the throne. This was more realpolitik than personal ambition since a boy-king threatened Yorkist control. But the taint of usurpation and murder contributed to his downfall.

8. Charles I (1625-1649): Driven from London by the revolution in 1642 and defeated in two successive civil wars (1642-1646 and 1648), Charles was put on trial by the radical leaders of the New Model Army and their supporters in a purged ‘Rump’ Parliament. He was beheaded in a public execution in Whitehall after being condemned as a traitor to the English people. Usually, traitors were executed for betraying the monarch, but this was the reverse.

9. James II (1685-1688): Son of Charles I and brother of Charles II, James attempted to reverse the outcome of the English Revolution by establishing an absolute monarchy and restoring the Catholic religion. He was overthrown in a military coup known as the Glorious Revolution: senior army officers secretly invited William of Orange to invade and seize the throne, then mutinied in his favour as he advanced on London.

10. Edward VIII (1936): Edward abdicated on 11th December 1936 in favour of his brother George VI, the father of the late Queen Elizabeth II. This was due to a love affair between Edward and Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite, which was deemed unacceptable.