In many works of fiction, the ruler of a country or piece of land will often share his surname with the land itself. There can be a few reasons — the country may have been named by the ruler after himself, or the ruler may be an outsider who took the country's name as his own to fit in. It may also simply be tradition for the current ruler to take the name of the country as a surname when he comes to power.
This practice comes from the old naming convention to refer to nobility as "<name> of <land>", such as Henry of York. This was known as a "territorial surname" and was used to specifically note that the person was a landowner or noble of some sort. On the other hand, the country might in fact have been named after the dynasty that rules or ruled it — the Principality of Liechtenstein, for example, is named after the ruling House of Liechtenstein ... which in turn is named after its ancestral home in Castle Liechtenstein, Austria. In fiction this can occur due to authors not having knowledge of noble houses, or the proper history behind territorial surnames. In short, it's simply easy to name the ruler of a country after the country, because it saves the writer getting into the politics of the political houses and it's easier to remember for the reader.
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Anime & Manga
- In Code Geass, all Britannian royalty has the last name "Britannia" with some prefix, like "di Britannia" or "li Britannia".
- In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta is named after his planet.
- Light Novel/Slayers: The entire Seyruunian/Saillunean royal family has names ending with "Seyruun". Amelia, for example, is Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun.
- Vision of Escaflowne: Van Fanel, King of Fanelia
- The Wicker Man: Both the 1973 original and the 2006 remake have these; the former being Lord Summersisle, the latter being Sister Summersisle.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who. In "The Curse of Peladon" and its sequel episode, the ambassador to Alpha Centauri is just called Alpha Centauri. Presumably this was done by the writers to give a Shakespearean feel to all the courtly intrigue.
- In The Queen's Thief, the monarchs of the three countries (Sounis, Eddis, Attolia) are identified by the country each of them rules. They all do have individual birth names, though.
- The Land of Oz is at first ruled by the Wizard, who calls himself Oz. We later learn that the land was already called Oz before he got there and the fact that the Wizard was also named Oz was a coincidence. The Wizard thought they had named the country after him. From the second book onward, Oz is ruled by a princess named Ozma.
- An Omnipresent Trope in the Regency romance genre with nobles being addressed as Lord <insert locale inhabited>, due to it being Truth in Television.
- In Will of Heaven, characters are usually referred to as whatever they're king/emperor of.
- The Forgotten Realms setting flipflops on this with regard to the city-state of Neverwinter. According to some sources it's called that because its river never freezes (due to being heated by a nearby volcano). Other sources point to it being a truncation of "Never's Winter" after Lord Halueth Never, its earliest ruler.
- In Traveller, the head of an Aslan clan is identified by the name of his clan. When distinguished from his clan as an individual the syllable "ko"("chief" or literally "himself") is added. That is the head of Coolclan is formally either Coolclan or Coolclanko.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy V, Tycoon is ruled by Alexander Highwind Tycoon and Karnak is ruled by Queen Karnak.
- Final Fantasy VI, Edger Roni Figaro rules the kingdom of Figaro.
- Final Fantasy IX, the royal family of Alexandria bear the name "Alexandros". Both double as foreshadowing of the kingdom's guardian Eidolon, Alexander.
- Final Fantasy XII, Ashe's last name is Dalmasca. Subverted with the Archadian emperors, who are of House Solidor and use that as their surnames, never using Archadia or any permutation of the name.
- In the Ultima series, Lord British rules over Britannia. In this case the land was named after him: He united the land, then called Sosaria, under one banner and rechristened it Britannia.
- The Legend of Zelda, a couple games give the royal family of Hyrule the last name Hyrule. Both are justified, as the land was once ruled and protected by the goddess Hylia, and Skyward Sword reveals that the first Zelda was Hylia's reincarnation and is implied to have resettled Hyrule with humans after the game's end.
- The monarchs of Guardia in Chrono Trigger in the years 600 and 1000 are known only as King Guardia XXI and King Guardia XXXIII, respectively.
- The Empire in The Elder Scrolls is sometimes called the Septim Empire after the surname of its royal family through Oblivion. This is mainly to distinguish it from two previous Empires in the setting. The Empire in Skyrim is sometimes called the Mede Empire after its current royal family the Medes (the Septim Empire collapsed as a result of the Oblivion Crisis and was reconquered).
- Happens a lot in the Fire Emblem series. In the Fire Emblem Elibe games, the marquesses of Lycia are referred to after the provinces they govern, such as Marquess Ostia (being Uther or Hector, depending on the game) or Marquess Pherae (Elbert & Eliwood, respectively) and Lord Pent and his wife Louise are also called Count/Countess Reglay . In the Fire Emblem Tellius games, we have Elincia Ridell Crimea, princess (later queen) of Crimea, as well as King Daein (Ashnard) and King Kilvas (Naesala).
- Commander Canada and Commander Canadia from the Keegan's Truck web series.
- Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Saud dynasty.
- Liechtenstein, ruled by several Princes Liechtenstein.
- Though he formally has no surname, the British Prince William, in his military career, uses the surname Wales because he is the son of Charles, Prince of Wales. The same goes for the rest of his family. His brother is known as Captain Harry Wales.
- As many Shakespeare plays show, this actually has some basis in reality. In the history plays, for example, monarchs address their fellow monarchs as (say) "our fair cousin Dauphin". In this case, the Dauphin is the ruler of the Dauphinois, which is traditionally ruled by the heir to France. Similarly, one might speak of the king of France simply as "France" since, by medieval understanding, the country is nothing but the entirety of land held sovereignly in fief to the king.
- Territorial surnames are still in informal use among British Peers, but only among equals. For example, an earl may adress Hugh Clayton Lowther, 8th Earl of Lonsdale, simply as "Lonsdale", but a duke or a baron may not.