Visualizing 1,000 Years of England’s Kings and Queens
As far back as the 9th century, when Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, became King, England has had a ruling monarchy.
Many countries have had monarchies at some point in history, though few are still recognized today. However, England’s monarchy is very much present, with the most recent sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, having reigned for over 70 years.
England’s Kings and Queens (1066–2021)
The English monarchy is passed from generation to generation, from parent to eldest child, a tradition that started with the sovereign William I (also known as William the Conqueror).
Up until 1702, this order of succession only applied to male heirs, until Parliament passed the Act of Settlement which allowed women to inherit the throne if a male heir was unavailable. Not until 2013 were these rules further updated to allow a female to inherit the throne if she is the eldest child, regardless of male heirs.
|Monarch||Reign||Length of Reign (Years)|
|Henry VI||1470–1471||0.5 (191 days)|
|Edward V||1483||0.2 (78 days)|
|Jane||1553||0.02 (9 days)|
|Edward VIII||1936||0.9 (327 days)|
One notable time frame missing is 1650–1659, which had no reigning monarch following the beheading of Charles I in 1649. Instead, England was ruled by Parliament in a period known as the Commonwealth of England, which lasted until 1653. That year, a coup d’état led by Oliver Cromwell ensued, leading to the eventual restoration of the monarchy in 1660, reigned by Charles II.
Other reigns of interest include the shortest reigning monarch, Jane, who held the throne for just nine days in 1553. Previously, King Edward VI had overruled the order of succession in naming Jane his heir. This was disputed and Edward VI’s half-sister, Mary I, was then crowned.
The longest reigning monarch is Elizabeth II, who had been on the throne for over 70 years. Before her, the longest reign was held by Victoria, Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother, from 1837 to 1901 (63 years).
Why Does England’s Monarchy Still Exist?
Today, the English monarchy is largely symbolic. The monarch serves as the Head of State in a ceremonial position, while Parliament, a representative government body headed by the Prime Minister, holds all real political power.
Instead, the monarch’s main duty is to provide ceremonial speeches and formal appearances, specifically for the opening of each new Parliament and on holidays and other special occasions. Though the Prime Minister briefs the monarch regularly on national affairs, it is understood that they will never provide opinions on political matters nor make any final decisions.
This beginning of this shift in political power was first established in 1215 with the signing of the Magna Carta by King John. Essentially one of the first written constitutions, it recognized the King and all future sovereigns as being subject to the law, not above it.
The Future of the Monarchy
Currently next in line to the throne is the Queen’s eldest son Charles, Prince of Wales, followed by his eldest son William, Duke of Cambridge.
And though there is much criticism of England’s monarchy as an outdated, expensive and inegalitarian system, the majority of England’s citizens are still in favor of the institution.
Advocates for a reigning king or queen look at the monarch’s role in unifying the nation and providing reassurance in times of uncertainty. They see the royal family as a symbol for their country, bringing in massive revenues in tourism.
With 61% of polled British adults in 2021 believing that the monarchy should stay, it is safe to assume that the institution will continue in the near future. But as the world continues to shift around us, how will that attitude evolve over time?
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
The Most Fuel Efficient Cars From 1975 to Today
This infographic lists the most fuel efficient cars over the past 46 years, including the current leader for 2023.
The Most Fuel Efficient Cars From 1975 to Today
When shopping for a new car, what is the most important factor you look for? According to Statista, it’s not design, quality, or even safety—it’s fuel efficiency.
Because of this, automakers are always looking for clever ways to improve gas mileage in their cars. Beating the competition by even the slimmest of margins can give valuable bragging rights within a segment.
In this infographic, we’ve used data from the EPA’s 2022 Automotive Trends Report to list off the most fuel efficient cars from 1975 to today.
Editor’s note: This is from a U.S. government agency, so the data shown skews towards cars sold in North America.
All of the information in the above infographic is listed in the table below. Data was only available in 5-year increments up until 2005, after which it switches to annual.
|Model Year||Make||Model||Real World Fuel Economy (mpg)||Engine Type|
From this dataset, we can identify three distinct approaches to maximizing fuel efficiency.
Prior to 2000, the best way for automakers to achieve good fuel efficiency was by downsizing. Making cars smaller (lighter) meant they could also be fitted with very small engines.
For example, the 1985 Chevrolet Sprint was rated at 49.6 MPG, but had a sluggish 0-60 time of 15 seconds.
The 2000s saw the introduction of mass-market hybrid vehicles like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. By including a small battery to support the combustion engine, automakers could achieve good MPGs without sacrificing so heavily on size.
While the Insight achieved better fuel economy than the Prius, it was the latter that became synonymous with the term “hybrid”. This was largely due to the Prius’ more practical 4-door design.
The following table compares annual U.S. sales figures for both models. Insight sales have fluctuated drastically because Honda has produced the model in several short spans (1999-2006, 2009-2014, 2018-2022).
|Year||Insight Sales||Prius Sales|
The Prius may have dominated the hybrid market for a long time, but it too has run into troubles. Sales have been declining since 2014, even setting historic lows in recent years.
There are several reasons behind this trend, with one being a wider availability of hybrid models from other brands. We also can’t ignore the release of the Tesla Model 3, which began shipping to customers in 2017.
We’re currently in the middle of a historic transition to electric vehicles. However, because EVs do not use fuel, the EPA had to develop a new system called MPGe (miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent).
This new metric gives us the ability to compare the efficiency of EVs with traditional gas-powered cars. An underlying assumption of MPGe is that 33.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity is comparable to the energy content of a gallon of fuel.
The most fuel efficient car you can buy today is the 2023 Lucid Air, which achieves 140 MPGe. Close behind it is the 2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD, which is rated at 132 MPGe.
Check out this page to see the EPA’s top 10 most efficient vehicles for 2023.
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