Medieval Kings History

The history of medieval kings started in early medieval times when the Western Roman Empire collapsed. It became a fully established institution during the middle and late medieval times throughout Europe.

Otto I Famous Holy Roman Empire Kings

The king enjoyed absolute power over the subjects, particularly during the middle and late medieval times. By the end of medieval times, however, the power of the medieval king started to decline.

Medieval Kings *Early Medieval Times

During the early medieval times, Europe was plunged into virtual anarchy with large tracts of its territory being governed by local lords and warring groups. However, there were also medieval kings in certain areas.

Romans Chariot

The void left by the Roman Empire was filled by various strong groups who then went on to choose their medieval king. For instance, Ostrogoths settled in Italy and chose Theodoric the Great as their ruler.

Empire of Theodoric the Great 523

Similarly, the medieval king of the Frankish kingdom during the early medieval period was Childeric.

Carolingian People Franks

Medieval Kings during Middle Medieval Times

During the middle medieval times, various critical changes took place in Europe. Christian Europe came into contact with the Muslim East through the Crusades and this resulted in wide cultural, intellectual, and political impact.

During the same time, England was conquered by William the Conqueror who can be considered the most important medieval king of England. The Norman Conquest of England ushered in the era of middle medieval times.

Norman Conquest

Norman Conquest

Medieval King during the Late Medieval Times

During the late medieval times, the powers of a medieval king continued to grow. One factor for this increase in power was also the declining power of the Church and the changing political dynamics of Europe.

In England, the Normans continued to retain their distance from the local people although assimilation of language and culture had already begun and was to continue. Thus it was during the late medieval times that a medieval king had the most power.

King William The Conqueror Medieval KIngs

William The Conqueror

Famous Medieval Kings of England

Before the Norman Conquest of England, Harold of Wessex was ruling England. He had ascended to the throne after the death of Edward the Confessor. Eventually, Harold was killed in the Battle of Hastings against William the Conqueror and with this, a new chapter in the history of medieval times begins.


Battle of Hastings

William was followed by his son, William Rufus after whom Henry I ascended to the throne. From 1066 to 1377, England was ruled by eight kings and one queen.

Harold Harefoot Early Medieval KIng

Famous Medieval Kings of France

In France, Louis VI can be considered the first real medieval king who reigned from 1108 to 1137. However, he had a reckless temper and hardly enjoyed popularity with his vassals, which was important for a medieval king.

To establish his authority as a medieval king, Louis VI had to defeat many robber barons and lords. He was succeeded by King Louis VII who ruled from 1137 to 1180.

Suptuary Laws Royal Colour Blue Coronation of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castille

Louis VIII and Blanche of Castille

Medieval Kings Summary

The concept of a medieval king clearly dates back to early medieval times but the chaotic situation in Europe during these times hardly warranted the establishment of a stable kingdom.

Thus it was during the middle and late medieval times that the concept of a medieval king took full form and the medieval king enjoyed enormous powers. The decline of the power of the Church coupled with the emerging concept of the nation-state contributed to the power of a medieval king.