House of Stuart
Stuart (or Stewart) was the Scottish royal house that ruled Scotland from 1371 to 1603, and then ruled the whole of Great Britain from 1603 to 1649 and from 1660 to 1714.
The rule of the Stuarts in Great Britain began with King James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary (Queen of Scots). He was crowned James I of England upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 who died without an heir.
The Stuart claim to the English crown was legitimate due to the elder sister of England's King Henry VIII (Margaret Tudor) marrying King James IV of Scotland. This made Queen Elizabeth of England and Mary Queen of Scots cousins.
The House of Stuart was always controversial in the post-Tudor England. King Henry VIII had turned the country away from Catholicism and had rejected the authority of the Pope. His daughter Queen Mary, a Catholic, earned the nickname "Bloody Mary" thanks to her anti-Protestant pro-Catholic policies which saw thousands slaughtered. Her protestant half-sister who succeeded her, Queen Elizabeth, brought peace and prosperity, but suspicion and fear of Catholicism was strong and the Stuart's convenient conversion to the Protestant church did not convince many. For this reason The Act of Settlement (1701) ensured that no Catholic could sit on the English throne, leaving Stuart heirs Prince James (son of King James II) and his son Prince Charles (Bonnie Prince Charlie) fighting for the crown. Supporters of James and Charles were known as Jacobians.
The line of succession passed to the closest Protestant relative, Sophia, Electress of Hanover, a distant cousin and descendant of King James I. She died before she could accede, and instead her son, King George I, succeeded Queen Anne upon her death.
The Stuart monarchy reigned in Great Britain as follows:
James I (VI of Scotland) (1603-1625)
Charles I (1625-1649)
(Lord Protectors: Oliver Cromwell and Richard Cromwell) (1653-1659)
Charles II (1660-1685)
James II (VII in Scotland) (1685-1688)
William III & Mary II (1689-1694)
William III alone (1694-1702)