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For example, the reign of Charles I came to an end with his execution on 30 January 1649, but contemporary legal records such as the House of Commons Journals record this as 30 January 1648.
To account for this complication, it is customary for historians referring to legal events between 1 January and 25 March to write the year down in "double-barreled" format (e.g.
For example, as the Commonwealth era was suppressed in the official record, the regnal years of Charles II are measured from 30 January 1649 (the day his father Charles I was executed); as a result, when Charles II actually became king, on , he was already in his 12th regnal year.
(For the de facto tabulation of English rulers, see any conventional list of English monarchs.) To calculate the regnal year from a particular date, just subtract the first regnal year from the calendar year in question.
The legal year also did not always coincide with the start date for the historical year.
For centuries, English official public documents have been dated by the regnal years of the ruling monarch. For example the Queen Regent's Prerogative Act 1554 is cited as "1 Mary s. 1" because it was the first act passed in the third session of the parliament begun in the first year of the reign of Queen Mary, and the Riot Act is cited as "1 Geo 1 Stat. Regnal years are calculated from the official date (year, month and day) of a monarch's accession.