List of monarchs of the British Isles by cause of death

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This is a list of Monarchs of the British Isles by cause of death.

They are grouped by the type of death and then ordered by the date of death. The monarchical status of some people is disputed, but they have been included here for the sake of completeness.

Natural causes

Those monarchs that are assumed to have died through natural causes (through disease).

Name House Born Reign Death Notes
Kenneth I House of Alpin (Scotland) after 800 843–858 13 February 858 Tumour
Constantine II House of Alpin (Scotland) before 879 900–943 952
Edred West Saxons (England) c. 923 946–955 23 November 955
Edgar the Peaceable West Saxons (England) c. 942 959–975 8 July 975
Ethelred the Unready West Saxons (England) c. 968 978–1013
23 April 1016
Edmund Ironside West Saxons (England) c. 988/993 1016 30 November 1016
Sweyn Forkbeard Danish Kings (England) ??? 1013–1014 3 February 1014
Malcolm II House of Alpin (Scotland) c. 980 1005–1034 25 November 1034
Canute Danish Kings (England) c. 995 1016–1035 12 November 1035
Harold Harefoot Danish Kings (England) c. 1015 1035–1040 17 March 1040
Harthacanute Danish Kings (England) 1018 1040–1042 8 June 1042
St Edward the Confessor West Saxon Restoration (England) c. 1004 1042–1066 4 January 1066
Edgar House of Dunkeld (Scotland) 1074 1097–1107 8 January 1107 [1]
Alexander I House of Dunkeld (Scotland) c. 1078 1107–1124 23 April 1124
Edgar the Atheling West Saxon Restoration (England) c. 1051 1066 c. 1126 Proclaimed by surviving English nobles, clerics and magnates, but never crowned, as the Normans approached after Hastings.
David I House of Dunkeld (Scotland) 1084 1124–1153 24 May 1153
Stephen House of Blois (England) 1096 1135–1154 25 October 1154
Malcolm IV House of Dunkeld (Scotland) c. 1141 1153–1165 9 December 1165 His premature death may have been hastened by osteitis deformans.[2]
Matilda (Empress Maud) Angevins or Plantagenets (England) February 1101 1141 10 September 1167
Henry II Angevins or Plantagenets (England) 5 March 1133 1154–1189 6 July 1189
William I House of Dunkeld (Scotland) around 1142 1165–1214 4 December 1214 Natural causes
John "Lackland" Monarchs of England and Ireland (England) 24 December c. 1166 1199–1216 18/19 October 1216 Retreating from the French invasion, John crossed the marshy area known as The Wash in East Anglia and eventually succumbed to dysentery.
Alexander II House of Dunkeld (Scotland) 24 August 1198 1214–1249 6 July 1249 Died after suffering a fever at the Isle of Kerrera in the Inner Hebrides
Henry III Monarchs of England and Ireland (England) 1 October 1207 1216–1272 16 November 1272
Margaret House of Fairhair (England) 9 April 1283 1216–1272 26 November 1290
Edward I "Longshanks" House of Plantagenet (England) 16 November 1239 1272–1307 7 July 1307 Dysentery (confirmed); cancer (possible)
John House of Balliol (Scotland) 1248 1292–1296 1314 Natural causes
Robert I House of Bruce (Scotland) 11 July 1274 1306–1329 7 June 1329 Suffered for some years from what some contemporary accounts describe as an "unclean ailment"; the traditional story is that he died of leprosy, but this is disputed. Other suggestions include syphilis, psoriasis, and a series of strokes.
Edward Balliol House of Balliol (Scotland) c. 1282 1332–1336 1364 Natural causes
David II House of Bruce (Scotland) 5 March 1324 1329–1371 22 February 1371 Natural causes
Edward III Monarchs of England and Ireland (England) 13 November 1312 1327–1377 21 June 1377 Died of a stroke
Robert II House of Stuart (Scotland) 2 March 1316 1371–1390 19 April 1390
Robert III House of Stuart (Scotland) c. 1340 1390–1406 4 April 1406
Henry IV House of Lancaster (England) 3 April 1367 1399–1413 20 March 1413 Several years of ill health- some type of visible skin ailment. Leprosy is also rumoured to have been possible.
Henry V House of Lancaster (England) 16 September 1387 1413–1422 31 August 1422 Natural causes, probably dysentery
Edward IV House of York (England) 28 April 1442 1461–1470
9 April 1483
Henry VII House of Tudor (England) 28 January 1457 1485–1509 21 April 1509 Tuberculosis
James V House of Stuart (Scotland) 10 April 1512 1513–1542 14 December 1542 Died of ill health shortly after the Battle of Solway Moss
Henry VIII House of Tudor (England) 28 June 1491 1509–1547 28 January 1547 Suffered from gout, Obesity dates from a jousting accident in 1536 in which he suffered a leg wound. This prevented him from exercising and gradually became ulcerated. Also possibly suffered from syphilis and/or diabetes
Edward VI House of Tudor (England) 12 October 1537 1547–1553 6 July 1553 Tuberculosis, arsenic poisoning, or congenital syphilis?
Mary I House of Tudor (England) 18 February 1516 1553–1558 17 November 1558 Possibly ovarian cancer
Philip House of Habsburg (England) 21 May 1527 1554–1558 13 September 1598
Elizabeth I House of Tudor (England) 7 September 1533 1558–1603 24 March 1603 Suffered from frailty and insomnia
James VI & I House of Stuart 19 June 1566 1567–1625 27 March 1625 Suffered from senility and died of 'tertian ague', probably brought on by kidney failure and a stroke
Charles II House of Stuart 29 May 1630 1660–1685 England
1649–1651 and 1660–1685 Scotland
(1649–1685 de jure)
6 February 1685 Died suddenly of uremia
James II & VII House of Stuart 14 October 1633 1685–1689 16 September 1701 Stroke
Mary II House of Stuart 30 April 1662 1689–1694 28 December 1694 Died of smallpox at Kensington Palace
William III & II House of Stuart 14 November 1650 1689–1702 8 March 1702 Died of pneumonia, a complication from a broken collarbone resulting from a fall off his horse. He was asthmatic.
Anne House of Stuart 6 February 1665 1702–1714 1 August 1714 Died of suppressed gout, ending in erysipelas, an abscess and fever. Her 17 ill-fated pregnancies perhaps ravaged her body.
George I House of Hanover 28 May 1660 1714–1727 11 June 1727 Stroke
George II House of Hanover 10 November 1683 1727–1760 25 October 1760 Aortic dissection while on the toilet
George III House of Hanover 4 June 1738 1760–1820 29 January 1820 Suffered a bout of mental illness possibly caused by porphyria before dying aged 81.
George IV House of Hanover 12 August 1762 1820–1830 26 June 1830 Upper gastrointestinal bleeding caused by the rupture of gastric varices. Suffered from cataracts, alcoholism, opioid dependence, obesity, gout, oedema, arteriosclerosis and possibly porphyria and cancer.
William IV House of Hanover 21 August 1765 1830–1837 20 June 1837
Victoria House of Hanover 24 May 1819 1837–1901 22 January 1901 Age and heart failure
Edward VII House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 9 November 1841 1901–1910 6 May 1910 Bed-ridden by bronchitis, he died of a myocardial infarction
Edward VIII House of Windsor 23 June 1894 1936 28 May 1972 Throat cancer
George VI House of Windsor 14 December 1895 1936–1952 6 February 1952 Suffered from lung cancer and arteriosclerosis due to heavy smoking; died of a coronary thrombosis


In battle

Those that died in battle either as the antagoniser or otherwise.

Name House Born Reign Death Notes
Constantine I House of Alpin (Scotland) unknown 862–877 877 Killed fighting the Viking army
Edward the Elder West Saxons (England) c.874–877 899–924 17 July 924 Died leading an army against a Cambro-Mercian rebellion at Farndon-Upon-Dee
Malcolm I House of Alpin (Scotland) before 900 943–954 954
Indulf House of Alpin (Scotland) 954–962 962 Killed fighting Vikings near Cullen
Kenneth III House of Alpin (Scotland) before 967 997–1005 1005 Killed in battle at Strathearn by Malcolm II
Duncan I House of Alpin (Scotland) unknown 1034–1040 15 August 1040 Killed by his own men led by Mac Bethed at Pitgaveny near Elgin
Macbeth House of Alpin (Scotland) c. 1005 1040–1057 15 August 1057 Defeated and mortally wounded by Máel Coluim mac Donnchada at the Battle of Lumphanan, dying at Scone.
Harold Godwinson West Saxon Restoration (England) c. 1022 1066 14 October 1066 Killed at the Battle of Hastings
William I, the Conqueror The Normans (England) c. 1028 1066–1087 9 September 1087 Died at the Convent of St Gervais, near Rouen, France, from abdominal injuries received from his saddle pommel when he fell off a horse at the Siege of Mantes.
Malcolm III House of Dunkeld (Scotland) 1030 or 1038 1058–1093 13 November 1093 Ambushed by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria, near Alnwick
Richard I, the Lionheart Angevins or Plantagenets (England) 8 September 1157 1189–1199 6 April 1199 Died during a siege of the castle of Châlus-Charbrol in Limousin, France, facing a rebellion by the Viscount of Limoges and his half-brother, the Count of Angoulême
James II House of Stuart (Scotland) 16 October 1430 1437–1460 3 August 1460 An early-adopter of artillery, James was killed when a cannon exploded while attacking one of the last Scottish castles still held by the English after the Wars of Independence.
Richard III House of York (England) 2 October 1452 1483–1485 22 August 1485 Killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field
James III House of Stuart (Scotland) 1451/ 1452 1460–1488 11 June 1488 Killed at the Battle of Sauchieburn while fighting an army raised by disaffected nobles, former councillors, and his son, the future James IV of Scotland.
James IV House of Stuart (Scotland) 17 March 1473 1488–1513 9 September 1513 Killed at the Battle of Flodden while attacking the English

Murdered, assassinated, executed or euthanised

Those that were murdered, assassinated, executed away from the battlefield, or euthanised by their doctors.

Name House Born Reign Death Notes
Áed House of Alpin (Scotland) unknown 877–878 878 Killed by his successor, Giric
Edmund I West Saxons (England) 921 939–946 26 May 946 Murdered at a party in Pucklechurch by Leofa, an exiled thief
Dub House of Alpin (Scotland) 962–966 967
Cuilén House of Alpin (Scotland) 966–971 971 Killed in Lothian when the hall he was in was burnt to the ground
Amlaíb House of Alpin (Scotland) ?–977 977 Killed by Kenneth II
St Edward the Martyr West Saxons (England) c. 962 975–978 18 March 978 Killed at Corfe Castle by his stepmother Ælfthryth or one of her party. Canonised as Saint Edward the Martyr in 1001.
Kenneth II House of Alpin (Scotland) 971–?
Constantine III House of Alpin (Scotland) before 971 995–997 997
Lulach House of Alpin (Scotland) before 1033 1057–1058 17 March 1058 Assassinated and succeeded by Malcolm III
Duncan II House of Dunkeld (Scotland) before 1069 1094 12 November 1094 Killed by Máel Petair of Mearns
Edward II Monarchs of England and Ireland (England) 25 April 1284 1307–1327 21 September 1327 Supposedly murdered in Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire after a metal tube (or, in some versions, a sawn-off ram's horn) and a red-hot poker were inserted into his anus. Allegedly by Sir John Maltravers of Dorset. No contemporary account survives to this effect, which is probably a later interpolation
James I House of Stuart (Scotland) 10 December 1394 1406–1437 21 February 1437 A group of Scots led by Sir Robert Graham assassinated James at the Friars Preachers Monastery in Perth. He attempted to escape his assailants through a sewer but, three days earlier, he had had the other end of the drain blocked up because of its connection to the tennis court outside.
Henry VI House of Lancaster (England) 6 December 1421 1422–1461
21/22 May 1471 Imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he was murdered
Jane House of Tudor (England) c. September–October 1537 1553 12 February 1554 Executed (beheaded), but not for being the 9 Day Queen
Mary I House of Stuart (Scotland) 8 December 1542 1542–1567 8 February 1587 Convicted of treason against the English Crown and beheaded at Fotheringay Castle, Northamptonshire
Charles I House of Stuart 19 November 1600 1625–1649 30 January 1649 Found guilty of high treason by 59 commissioners and was beheaded
George V House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor
3 June 1865 1910–1936 20 January 1936 Drug Overdose (Euthanasia lethal injection administered by his doctor)


Name House Born Reign Death Notes
Richard II Monarchs of England and Ireland (England) 6 January 1367 1377–1399 14 February 1400 Placed in Pontefract Castle, and probably murdered (or starved to death) there.
Edward V House of York (England) 4 November 1470 1483 c. 1483 Imprisoned in the Tower of London along with his younger brother Richard, Duke of York; the date and cause of death of both Princes in the Tower remain unknown.

Accidental death

Name House Born Reign Death Notes
William II, Rufus The Normans (England) c. 1056 1087–1100 2 August 1100 Killed by an arrow through the heart during a hunting trip
Henry I The Normans (England) c.1068 1100–1135 1 December 1135 Died of food poisoning from eating "a surfeit of lampreys"
Alexander III House of Dunkeld (Scotland) 4 September 1241 1249–1286 19 March 1286 Fell from his horse in the dark while riding to visit the queen at Kinghorn in Fife. He had been separated from his guides and it is assumed that in the dark his horse lost its footing.


Name House Born Reign Death Notes
Donald I House of Alpin (Scotland) unknown 858–862 13 April 862 According to the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, died "at the palace of Cinnbelathoir", possibly near or at Scone, probably from natural causes
Eochaid House of Alpin (Scotland) 878–889
Giric House of Alpin (Scotland) 878–889
Alfred the Great West Saxons (England) c. 849 871–899 26 October 899 Married to Earlswith in 868.Father of Edward the Elder
Donald II House of Alpin (Scotland) 889–900 According to the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba killed in battle against Vikings at Dunnottar
Ælfweard West Saxons (England) 924 2 August 924 Apparently natural causes
Athelstan West Saxons (England) c. 895 924–939 27 October 939 Died at Gloucester, apparently natural causes
Edwy the Fair West Saxons (England) c. 941 955–959 1 October 959 Presumed to be natural causes
Donald III House of Dunkeld (Scotland) before 1040 1093–1094
1097 or after William of Malmesbury tells us that he was "slain by the craftiness of David ... and by the strength of William [Rufus]".[3] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says of Domnall that he was expelled,[3] while the Annals of Tigernach have him blinded by his brother, for which we should read nephew.[4] John of Fordun, following the king-lists, writes that Domnall was "blinded, and doomed to eternal imprisonment" by Edgar, omitting that the place of his imprisonment was said to be Rescobie, by Forfar, in Angus.[5]
Margaret House of Dunkeld (Scotland) early 1283 1286–1290 September/October 1290

See also


  1. Duncan, p. 60
  2. Duncan, pp. 74–75.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Scottish Annals, p. 119.
  4. Annals of Tigernach, s.a. 1097.
  5. Fordun, V, xxvi; Duncan, pp. 57–58; Oram, David I, pp. 47–48.


  • Anderson, Alan Orr, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers A.D. 500–1286. D. Nutt, London, 1908.
  • Duncan, A.A.M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
  • John of Fordun, Chronicle of the Scottish Nation, ed. William Forbes Skene, tr. Felix J.H. Skene, 2 vols. Reprinted, Llanerch Press, Lampeter, 1993. ISBN 1-897853-05-X
  • McDonald, R. Andrew, Outlaws of Medieval Scotland: Challenges to the Canmore Kings, 1058–1266. Tuckwell Press, East Linton, 2003. ISBN 1-86232-236-8