This page details other monarchies from around the world. These ones are not as famous as The House of Windsor or The House of Grimaldi, mostly turning up (if they do) in works and the media from their own countries.
Mohammed VI , King of Morocco
Became king in 1999, and has spent his time trying to modernize his nation. Attempts to reform the law to give women more freedom have ignited the anger of Muslim radicals. He also spent his early reign atoning for his (still well-liked) father Hassan II's heavy-handed and at times brutal rule. The Arab Spring did hit Morocco, but not particularly hard; however, it induced him to initiate constitutional changes that seriously limit the monarch's powers, and has estimated that by the time his son (Moulay Hassannote ) becomes King, the monarch will be a constitutional figurehead.
Despite him being a king, his consort Salma Bennani is styled "Princess" as opposed to "Queen". Speaking of her, in a strange turn of events, after not being spotted by the media between December 2017 and April 2018, it was rumored that she had divorced and had gone into hiding — the jury's still out on what happened.
The Alaouite dynasty is Africa's oldest ruling dynasty, having been ruling Morocco since 1631. It is one of the two ruling Arab dynasties who claim descent from The Prophet Muhammad, through his eldest grandson, Hasan. It is said that some of Hasan's descendants migrated to Morocco during the 12th century under the belief that the presence of a sharif family would bring peace to the region.
Mswati III, King of eSwatini
Though an absolute monarch with the power to appoint the government, he cannot appoint his own heir. In another unique quirk, the king and his mother, whose title is Indlovukati ("Great She-Elephant"), rule jointly.
Mswati is something of an odd duck due to his indulging in polygamy (with currently fifteen wives) and also attempted to curb the AIDS epidemic by enacting a five year ban on all sex in the Kingdom amongst women under eighteen years of age ... which he then violated by marrying a 17 year old.
Letsie III, King of Lesotho
His kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. Was originally made king in 1990, but abdicated in 1995 to return power to his deposed father, Moshoeshoe II. However, tragedy struck in 1996 when his father was killed in a car accident, and Letsie was once again crowned.
His brother, Prince Seeiso, is close mates with the UKs Prince Harry, and the two young heirs jointly co-founded Sentebale, a charity set up to ensure the most vulnerable children in Lesotho get the support they need.
Naruhito, Emperor of Japan
The worlds sole remaining monarch to bear the title emperor. Naruhito succeeded his father, Akihito, following his abdication on April 30, 2019. Abdication is an old custom, but it had not been practiced since 1817, making it all the more notable. Since he was born after the enactment of Imperial Household Law of 1947, which abolished the Japanese nobility, Naruhito is the first Japanese monarch to be raised by his parents, not courtiers.
Interested in transportation, specifically water transport; his master's thesis was titled A Study of Navigation and Traffic on the Upper Thames in the 18th Century.
Since Japan has agnatic primogeniture (which excludes females from the line of succession), the next ruler of Japan after Naruhito will not be his daughter Aiko, but his brother Fumihito. Naruhito's wife, Masako, gave birth to Aiko after eight years of marriage, during which she miscarried once. By the time Aiko was born, there was no male born into the royalty since Fumihito's birth in 1965. When it became clear that the princess was in no condition to beget another child after her health deteriorated in 2002 (reportedly because of the pressure she had of having to produce a male heir), the Japanese government proposed a legislation that would change the line of succession from agnatic primogeniture to absolute primogeniture, because the monarchy was projected to become extinct in a few decades, if not shorter, if things were to continue. As noted above, the nobility was abolished in post-war Japan, even though the only way for female royals to retain their title after marriage is to marry: (1) royalty (which means incest) or (2) nobility. Unlike other countries' royalty, Japanese royal women must become commoners if they want to marry one. The proposed change to absolute primogeniture would allow royal women to keep their status regardless of whom they marry. However, it was withdrawn when Fumihito's wife, who previously only had two daughters, gave birth to a son, Hisahito, in 2006. As of 2020, negotiations to amend the succession (or at least allow female royals to keep their titles following marriage) have been partially underway. By this point, there are only three eligible heirs to the throne should Naruhito pass away or abdicate: Fumihito, Hisahito, and the elderly Prince Masahito, Akihito's younger brother, who is married but has no children.
Naruhito is the 126th in a royal line that traditionally dates back to 660 BCE, though historians can only verify the genealogy up to Kinmei, the 29th Emperor (c. 6th century CE). Nevertheless, this is enough to make the Japanese royal family by far the oldest ruling dynasty in the world.
Not officially a royal family or a monarchy, as the country is a "democratic" republic, but the Kim family are the de facto monarchs of the nation, practising hereditary patrilineal primogeniture note . See The Rulers of North Korea for detailed information.
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan
Known in his country as the Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) of Bhutan, he assumed the throne in 2006 when his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated in his favour as part of a managed transition to democracy. He has dedicated mainly to promote Buddhism outside his country.
He also seems to be Mr. Fanservice, which became apparent when he assisted the crowning of Vajiralongkorn of Thailand and ended up attracting hordes of female fans (he was nicknamed 'Prince Charming' by the media). His consort, Jetsun Pema, is a breathtaking beauty, and not for nothing are the couple dubbed "The Will and Kate of the Himalayas". Their sons, Jigme and Ugyen, are actively competing with the Cambridge children for the title of "Most Adorable Royal Children."
Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan of Brunei
Currently the 29th Sultan of Brunei who has been ruling for over 50 years. Is well loved by his subjects for sharing the country's wealth from oil and gas to help the people's welfare.
The Sultan is Sandhurst graduate, has a large car collection, a private zoo, a banquet hall that holds over 5,000 people, and pays an enormous sum of money to keep a British Gurkha contingent permanently based in his country because he's a fan of them. Also his late father Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III and Queen Elizabeth II were good friends.
Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia
An accomplished dance instructor and ambassador to UNESCO. He actually has no power, other than being a symbolic figurehead. Became king in 2004 when his father Norodom Sihanouk abdicated. He has no children, but thats not a problem because since 1993, the King has been chosen by a council from the pool of male descendants of King Ang Duong (1796-1860), even if an heir existed.
Cambodia is a really odd country in that it's a constitutional monarchy in the complete sense, i.e. the king does nothing, but the Prime Minister (the ex-communist Hun Sen) runs a fairly repressive regime. The only other places in modern history where this arrangement lasted any significant amount of time are Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, and a few stints of dictatorship in Thailand. (Other constitutional monarchies have been authoritarian regimes, of course, but the king tends to have power and not be a mere figurehead.)
Hamengkubuwono X, Sultan of Yogyakarta Sultanate and Governor of Yogyakarta Special Region
Unlike other examples, this monarch rules over a province-sized Special Region instead of the country of Indonesia, which is a republic.
Hamengkubuwono IX (pre-regnal name Gusti Raden Mas Dorodjatun) was appointed the governor for life of the Yogyakarta Special Region by Indonesia's first president Soekarno as reward for his contributions during the Indonesian war for independence. However, upon the Sultan's death in 1989, vice governor Paku Alam VIII (himself the prince of the Pakualaman principality located within the Sultanate) took over as governor, with Hamengkubuwono IX's son, Hamengkubuwono X (pre-regnal name Bendara Raden Mas Herjuno Dapito) only inheriting the title of Sultan.
Hamengkubuwono X was democratically elected as governor after Paku Alam's death in 1998, and after a decade of negotiations, the "convention" that the titles of Yogyakarta governor and vice-governor are hereditary was made into law by the Indonesian government in 2012.
In 2015, Hamengkubuwono X promulgated a law changing the dynastic succession to be an absolute primogeniture, because he has no son. As a result, the current heir apparent is his eldest daughter, Ratu Mangkubumi.
By the way, the Sultan's fourth child, Princess Hayu, is One of Us and runs the Tepas Tandha Yekti, the Sultanate's IT and digital publication department.
Abdullah, King of Malaysia
Actually, his title is Yang di-Pertuan Agong, meaning 'He who is made Lord'. Full name Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah.
The Malaysian monarchy is unique because the king is elected by the Conference of Rulers consisting of the nine hereditary rulers of the Malay states and is rotated on a five-year period basis. However, Abdullah became king when his predecessor, Muhammad V, abdicated after only three years following his controversial marriage to Russian model Oksana Voevodina. Mostly ceremonial.
Rama X, King of Thailand
All kings of Thailand in the Chakri dynasty are called "Rama", adopted from the Hindu god Rama. The newest Rama, Rama X (Vajiralongkorn), succeeded his wildly popular father, Rama IX (Bhumibol Adulyadej), who ruled for 70 years.
His great-great-grandfather, Rama IV (Mongkut) was the subject of the musical and film The King and I.
He did not immediately become king when his father died on October 13th, but requested time to mourn and only officially took the throne a month and a half later on December 1st. He is seen as eccentric and does not have the widespread adoration that his father held. Which is rather understandable; because Bhumibol ruled for so long, by the time of his death, he is the king as far as the population's concerned, and they can't imagine anyone else being in the throne (similar to how Elizabeth II is the monarch of the United Kingdom).
West AsiaYou will see that these Arab monarchs usually have 'Al Something' in their name. That is the name of the house: Āl is Arabic for 'House' or 'Clan', and is different from Al- (an prefix, not an independent word, that means 'the').
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
Previously an emirate, Hamad proclaimed Bahrain as a kingdom in 2002.
The House of Khalifa is Sunni Muslim, but most Bahrainis are Shia. While this was not a major problem for most of the country's history, it became increasingly polarized since The Arab Spring, which saw mostly Shia protesters demonstrating to demand better rights. Suspecting Iranian involvement, the king called in mercenaries and troops from Saudi Arabia to defuse the protests by any means necessary. As a result, the monarchy remains, but its standing among the Bahraini streets has been tarnished. Curiously, most do not have a problem with Hamad himself; the problem is with the rest of his government.
Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, King of Jordan
Son of King Hussein and his English second wife. Retains significant power in his native country, but the monarchy is constitutional and he shares some power with Parliament, but like Mohammed VI of Morocco, he expects to be the last monarch with real power. An avowed nerd, he once guest-starred in Star Trek: Voyager.
Alongside Morocco, the Hashemite dynasty claim descent from the Prophet Muhammad through his eldest grandson, Hasan. They were a cadet branch of the Qatadids, who ruled Mecca from 1201 until they were deposed by the House of Saud in 1925. Hussein bin Ali, the penultimate Qatadid ruler of Mecca, was the father of the first king of Jordan, Abdullah. Another of Hussein's sons, Faisal, ruled Syria for four months in 1920 before being deposed by France and subsequently resettled as King of Iraq (then a British vassal) in 1921. The Hashemites continued to rule Iraq until 1958, when they were deposed during the July Revolution that killed Faisal II (the elder Faisal's grandson), leaving Jordan as the last Hashemite monarchy.
Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait
He succeeded his half-brother, Sabah, upon his death in September 2020. Before he ascended to the throne, Nawaf has been an active player in the Kuwaiti government since 1962, serving as governor, minister, and deputy prime minister.
He has the right to appoint and dismiss his government, but he himself is subject to the National Assembly, one of the most powerful parliaments in the Arab world.
Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, Sultan of Oman
He was unanimously elected as sultan by the royal council a day after the death of his long-reigning predecessor and first cousin, Qaboos bin Said, who had no children and never publicly designated an heir during his 49-year-long reign. Contrary to Qaboos, Haitham has since promulgated a law that designates the sultan's oldest son to be crown prince. Previously, he was the Minister of Heritage and Culture and before that was Minister of Foreign Affairs. Has been described as a sports enthusiast.
The House of Said's cadet branch ruled Zanzibar from 1856 to 1964, when it was deposed and the people of Zanzibar voted to join the Republic of Tanganyika in mainland Africa, creating Tanzania.
Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar
He took crown after his father Hamad bin Khalifa abdicated in favour of him in 2013. His reign saw the boycott of Qatar in 2017 by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, all of which accused Qatar of "supporting terrorism" by advocating for political Islam, chiefly the Muslim Brotherhood, which many Arab governments had blamed for fanning the Arab Spring, and cozying up to Iran, their archenemy. The boycott ended in 2021, though it is expected that Qatar will continue to assert its political independence owing to its nearly four-year isolation in the region.
Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia
Son of Abdulaziz, who created the modern Arabian state in 1902, King Salman is the sixth of his 65 children to rule the largest Arab monarchy in the world today. Unlike most other examples on this list, most of which are constitutional monarchies where the monarch has limited effective power, Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, and Salman has sweeping powers over the government, though he rarely performs his duties directly nowadays, due to his ill health.
The crown of Saudi Arabia is an Elective Monarchy that, until 2015, followed agnatic seniority as a general guideline. As a result, the heir-presumptive was the eldest surviving brother of the King, and was usually made heir apparent (Crown Prince) by a vote of the Allegiance Council — a group of the thirty or so most senior princes of the House. However, in 2015, Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz, then aged 69, was removed as Crown Prince. His replacement was the first grandson of Abdulaziz to become Crown PrinceMuhammad bin Nayef, at the time aged 55 (and more than 20 years younger than the then-oldest surviving grandson). Muhammad bin Nayef would himself be removed in 2017 in favor of a still younger grandson, Mohammad bin Salman (then just shy of his 32nd birthday), the current king's son. Prince Mohammad is widely seen to be the one de facto in charge of the country, due to his father's debilitating condition. He has won praise for abolishing the country's infamously misogynistic and restrictive morality law and opening the way further for foreign investment, though press freedom is still minimal (the assassination of human rights reporter Jamal Kashoggi in 2018, which was blamed on the prince, has been cited as a prime example of this aspect).
Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan & Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates
A very atypical monarchy. The UAE are a union of emirates, each ruled by a different emir, joined in a federation recognized worldwide as one state. The job of President of UAE goes to the Emir of Abu Dhabi (Mohammed bin Zayed) and the job of Prime Minister goes to the Emir of Dubai (Mohammed bin Rashid).
Mohammed bin Zayed is the world's newest monarch, succeeding his half-brother Khalifa after he died in 2022, though he has been de facto ruling the country since 2014, when Khalifa suffered a stroke. Mohammed bin Rashid is a fanatic of thoroughbred horse racing.
Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein
One of the wealthiest heads of state with a personal worth of over £2 billion. Once threatened to leave with the Royal Family and relocate to Austria if a constitutional shake-up was not agreed upon. Arguably one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe, in terms of practical political power; unlike most European monarchs, he actually does have an effect over the government. His people love him, and several referenda to reduce the power of the monarchy have been resoundingly defeated. Hans-Adam handed over the duties of day-to-day government decision making to his heir, Hereditary Prince Alois, in 2004 to prepare for the transition to the next generation. Hans-Adam's father, Franz-Joseph II, did the same thing in 1984.
He is a third cousin of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, a third cousin once removed of King Philippe of Belgium, a fourth cousin once removed of King Harald V of Norway, a fourth cousin twice removed to both Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, a fifth cousin once removed to King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Felipe VI of Spain, and Prince Albert II of Monaco, and a seventh cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark
Beloved by the Danish people for her down-to-earth attitude, she is an accomplished artist who actually illustrated the Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings. As she is also a competent translator, some people claim she helped translate it as well. Also a chain smoker, which formed part of a scene in Borgen where she keeps the titular Prime Minister waiting while she ducks out to buy cigarettes. Like her cousin Elizabeth II, to whom she is close, Margrethe refuses to abdicate, stating that she will remain on the throne until she falls off of it.
Only Denmark's second female monarch; the first was Margrethe I, who reigned as Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1389-1412 (the first two from 1387), founding the Kalmar Union. Denmark had been male inheritance only until 1953 when the constitution was changed after it was realised her father, Frederik IX, would not have a male heir. It is now absolute primogeniture; her heir apparent is Crown Prince Frederick (Danish monarchs traditionally alternate between Christian and Frederik, with Margrethe deciding she would be a 'Christian'), whose wife Crown Princess Mary is the first Australian royal anywhere.
She is a first cousin of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, a second cousin of King Harald V of Norway, a second cousin once removed of both King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, a third cousin of both Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, a third cousin once removed of King Felipe VI of Spain, a fourth cousin twice removed of Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, and a fifth cousin twice removed of Prince Albert II of Monaco. She is also the sister-in-law of the last King of Greece, Constantine II, who is married to her sister Anne-Marie.
Harald V, King of Norway
The first Norwegian king in recent times to actually be born in Norway (648 years, if you want to be exact). Technically the sixth king of Norway with the name Harald, but since Harald Bluetooth isn't counted in the numbering system used by Norwegian monarchs, he's known as Harald V. Caused considerable public controversy as crown prince when he married his commoner girlfriend of nine years, Sonja Haraldsen, in 1968.note Today he's Norway's most popular king, beloved for his sense of humor and leadership during trying times. Also refuses to abdicate, saying that he has an agreement with children that when they think he has gone completely crazy they will let him know it's time to leave.
Norway was the third European monarchy to adopt absolute primogeniture, but it only applies to those born after 1990 (if they had applied it retroactively like Sweden did Harald's eldest sister Princess Ragnhild would have suddenly found herself as as heir to the throne). Harald and Sonja's granddaughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra is expected to become Norway's second queen regnant after 14th-century Queen Margaretha, who founded the Kalmar Union.
Like Margrethe of Denmark above, he's been portrayed in his homeland's political dramas — for example, the Norwegian hit series Occupied (Norwegian: Okkupert), which details Russia's gradual occupation of Norway following the nation's green-energy policy. Harald appears when the Prime Minister must attend the Palace to request the formation of a new government. He also shows up in The King's Choice (Norwegian: Kongens nei) and Atlantic Crossing, both of which depict his family's escape from Norway and refuge in Sweden and the United States during the Nazi occupation in World War IInote .
Fun fact: out of all the monarchs presented here, hes closest in the line of succession to the throne of the United Kingdom, being the great-grandson of King Edward VII, second cousin of the Queen, and therefore 86th in linenote .
He is a first cousin once removed to both King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, a second cousin to both Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, a second cousin once removed of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, a third cousin once removed of King Felipe VI of Spain, a third cousin twice removed of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, a fourth cousin once removed of Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, and a seventh cousin of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden
A nature lover who, if he had been given a choice, would have been a farmer. Considered something of a harmless, vaguely buffoonish character (and is in fact dyslexic; it was suspected for years after he misspelled his signature on his accession document, before admitting it in 1997), many Swedes are willing to put up with him until his very popular and capable heir, Crown Princess Victoria, takes over (she's also dyslexic). Like his Scandinavian counterparts above, he also has refused to consider abdication.
House Bernadotte is a relatively recent monarchical family, having been created when Sweden's previous ruling house found itself heirless and Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, the son of a lawyer from Pau in France who eventually became Marshall of France, was contacted by a Swedish colonel in Paris and asked if he wanted to become King of Sweden. He did.
He isn't technically the 16th king of Sweden to be named Carl; the Swedish regnal numbering system was based off a mythical line of Swedish kings constructed by Johannes Magnus in the 16th century in an attempt to substantiate the antiquity of the Swedish throne. All kings named Carl/Charles base their number off of Charles VII, who was the first king to adopt this system. If they did not have this system, he would be known as Carl X.
The Swedish monarchy was the first to adopt 'Equal' or 'Absolute Primogeniture' in 1980, meaning that the eldest child inherits the throne regardless of their gender. This meant that then-Crown Prince Carl Philip, at the time 7 months old, was stripped of his status in favour of his older sister, the then three-year-old Victoria.note Crown Princess Victoria was the only direct female heir apparent of a throne in the world for 33 years (1980-2013, when the accession of Willem-Alexander in the Netherlands left his oldest daughter Catharina-Amalia heir apparent to the Dutch throne).
He is a first cousin of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, a second cousin once removed of King Harald V of Norway, a third cousin to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Philippe of Belgium, and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, a third cousin once removed to both King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and King Felipe VI of Spain, a fourth cousin twice removed of Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, and a fifth cousin twice removed of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
See also Notable Swedish Monarchs for further detail on the Swedish Monarchy.
Joan Enric Vives Sicília and Emmanuel Macron, Co-Princes of Andorra
A very atypical monarchy. Thanks to Andorra's strange ancient constitution, the country is co-ruled by two monarchs referred to as Princes. Each of the Princes are actually from the foreign nations of France and Spain; one is the Bishop of Urgell in Spain and the other is the President of France (originally the Count of Foix, a title which later became contiguous with the French monarchy and later the presidency). Both Princes have very few powers constitutionally.
The Monégasque Royal Family have their own page.
Felipe VI, King of Spain
Second King of Spain since the restoration of the monarchy in 1975. Ascended the throne in 2014 after the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos I. His elder daughter Leonor is the world's sole female heir presumptive (meaning that in the unlikely event her parents have a son she would be displaced in the line of succession); the Spanish government considered introducing legislation that allowed for absolute primogeniture, but chose not to do so when it became clear that Felipe and his wife, Queen Letizia, would not have any more children.
He is a third cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, and King Harald V of Norway, a fourth cousin of both King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, a fifth cousin of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, a fifth cousin once removed of Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, and a sixth cousin of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Through his mother Queen Sofia, he is also the nephew of the last King of Greece, Constantine II.
See also The Kingdom of Spain for further detail on the Spanish Monarchy.
Francis, Pope of the Vatican City
Elected monarch of the Vatican City and, by extention, of the Catholic Church. Though technically it's the other way around: the Pope is the monarch of Vatican City ex oficio, that is he holds the position as monarch because he is the man in charge of the Catholic Church. But, since Pope and the monarch of the Vatican City are the same person, it doesn't make any difference.
While the papacy is not a typical monarchy, the Pope is nonetheless a major player in world politics and a spiritual leader for the over 1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide. Pope Francis is the 266th Pope and the first from the Americas. See The Pope.
Phillipe, King of Belgium
The proper title is King of the Belgians, making him the only popular monarch left in the world — not in terms of beloved status in this use of the word (although he is) but rather a 'popular monarch' is a term used for royal titles referring to a people rather than a territory.
Philippe took over after his father Albert II abdicated in July 2013 (making him the fourth monarch to do so that year after those of the Netherlands, Vatican City and Qatar). There's a lack of clarity about the name of the royal house, since they changed it in World War I for more or less the same reasons as their British cousins the Windsors, but they haven't objected terribly about using the old name since then. His wife is the first Queen of the Belgians to actually be born in Belgium, and their oldest child and heir, Princess Elisabeth, is expected to become Belgium's first queen regnant.
The current King is also a first cousin of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, a first cousin once removed of King Harald V of Norway, a second cousin once removed of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, a third cousin of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, a third cousin once removed to both Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, a fourth cousin of King Felipe VI of Spain, a fourth cousin once removed of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and a fifth cousin of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Sovereign of the worlds sole remaining grand duchy. Being a constitutional monarch, he has very little power, but he does have a (rarely-used) veto power that he tried to use to stop a euthanasia/assisted suicide bill passed in 2008. Also known for giving a press conference where he denounced his own mother over her horrific treatment of his wife. Yeah.
He is a first cousin of King Philippe of Belgium, a first cousin once removed of King Harald V of Norway, a second cousin once removed of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, a third cousin of both King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, a third cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, a fourth cousin of King Felipe VI of Spain, a fourth cousin once removed of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and a fifth cousin of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Willem-Alexander, King of The Netherlands
Ascended the throne upon the abdication of his mother on April 30, 2013. The first reigning King of the Netherlands since 1890, his predecessors (Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix) all having been queens regnant. A sports fan and water conservationist. He also works undercover as an airline pilot, flying short-haul flights once or twice a month as a way to clear his mind.
Should be known as William/Willem IV, but chose to instead use Willem-Alexander as his regnal name, citing that "Willem Four is next to Bertha Two in the meadow."note . It is also believed that, having been nicknamed Prince Pils because of an alleged fondness for lager, he wished to avoid being called Willem IV (Willem Vier in Dutch) for fear of being nicknamed "Willem Bier" (William Beer).
He is a third cousin of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, a third cousin once removed of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, a third cousin twice removed of King Harald V of Norway, a fourth cousin once removed of both King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, a fifth cousin of King Felipe VI of Spain, a fifth cousin once removed of both Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, and a seventh cousin of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Tupou VI, King of Tonga
King of Tonga, an island chain in Polynesia. Recently ascended the throne on the death of his elder brother, George Tupou V. Tonga was part of the British Commonwealth, but it always recognized the King of Tonga as the actual monarch, as opposed to Elizabeth II. The Tongan people have great confidence in their monarchy (instead of the usual bickering) and it has been in the hands of the same family since the establishment of the Kingdom.
His great aunt, Queen Sālote Tupou III (standing a full 6' 3"), sealed her beloved status amongst Tongans and the rest of the Commonwealth when she she attended the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London. During the coronation procession, it began to rain heavily and hoods were placed on the carriages in the procession. As Tongan custom dictates that one should not imitate the actions of persons one is honouring, she refused a hood and rode through the pouring rain in an open carriage waving cheerily to the huge crowds.
Additionally, HM The Queen serves as Paramount Chief of the Republic of Fiji. Whether this title will remain tied to the British crown is unclear.
Historical & abolished monarchiesNote — this list includes the historical monarchs of nations which are now republics, or no longer exist. The current claimants to each throne are also listed, though their titles may be unrecognised nationally and internationally. The flags used here are the flags that were used at the time of the monarchs' reigns, not the current ones, which may be vastly different.
Farouk, King of Egypt
Penultimate King of Egypt. A famous womanizer, glutton, and narcissist, he was deposed in 1952; he fled to Italy and then France. After Farouk's reign ended, his infant son, Fuad II, then formally reigned as King until he himself was deposed a year later in 1953, with Egypt being declared a republic. His penchant for luxury despite the fact that most Egyptians lived in poverty led to "King Farouk" being a mid-20th century byword for "person who lives in great luxury amidst great deprivation." His most lasting legacy is the "Louis-Farouk" style of furniture, a variant of Louis XV-style design featuring ostentatious gilding and ornate fabrics that remains very popular in Egypt.
His son, Fuad, formally reigned as the last King of Egypt and the Sudan from July 1952 to June 1953, when he was deposed and banished. He now lives in Switzerland, but since 2010 his Egyptian citizenship has been restored.
Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia
Last Emperor of Ethiopia. Yes, the house name refers to that Solomon; tradition holds that the royal family of Ethiopia were descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is known for being a good ruler, reigning for 44 years until a Communist military coup overthrew him, and also for being revered as Messianic Archetype and God incarnate by the Rastafarians. While Haile never embraced this worship, he never tried to make them stop either; his feeling was that he knew he wasn't God, but if somebody else thought he was it was harmless.
Zera Yacob Amha Selassie is his grandson and has been head of the Imperial House of Ethiopia since 17 February 1997.
Second and last Emperor of Brazil. Highly loved and respected, not only by his own people, but also internationally, as a humble and hard-working man completely dedicated to the growth of his country (including the abolition of slavery, a controversial move at the time in Brazil). Under that public façade, however, there was a very sad man who never wanted the crown and resented the fact that he couldnt have a simple life. He was deposed by a handful of hardline military leaders with no popular support; Pedro was so tired of the crown that refused to offer resistance, much to the disappointment of his people, and went to exile on his own volition. This got to the point where even the leaders of the coup which deposed him saw him as a role model.
The current claim to the throne is disputed; Prince Luiz of Orleans-Braganza is the head of the Vassouras branch of the House of Orléans-Braganza. The Vassouras branch claims the throne in opposition to the Petrópolis branch of the Orléans-Braganzas, headed by Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza. Though both Prince Luiz and Prince Pedro Carlos are great-great-grandchildren of Emperor Pedro II, they dispute leadership over the Brazilian Imperial Family due to a dynastic dispute concerning their fathers, who were cousins.
Puyi, Emperor of China
Last Emperor of Imperial China. Puyi succeeded to the Manchu throne at the age of three, when his uncle, the Guangxu emperor, died in 1908. He reigned under a regency for three years, and then in February 1912, in response to the Chinese Revolution, he was forced to abdicate, ending the 267-year Qing rule of China and the 2,000-year-old imperial system. He was permitted to continue living in the palace in Beijing. Puyi chose 'Henry' as a given name and was thereafter known as Henry Puyi in the West. In 1924 he secretly left Beijing to reside in the Japanese concession (colony) at Tianjin. In 1932, he was installed as president, and from 1934 to 1945 he was emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria (Chinas Northeast) under the reign title of Kangde.
At the end of World War II he was taken prisoner by the Russians and returned to China in 1950 for trial as a war criminal. He was pardoned in 1959 and went again to live in Beijing, where he first worked in the mechanical repair shop of a botanical garden and later became a researcher in the institute of literature and history under the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference. His autobiography, From Emperor to Citizen, was published in English in 1964, and he was the subject of the 1987 biopic The Last Emperor.
Jin Yuzhang (Puyi's nephew) is the current heir to the Qing Dynasty, though he himself does not care for the claim nor acknowledge it.
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, King of Nepal
The worlds most recently disbanded monarchy — under the most tragic of circumstances. He reigned as the last King of Nepal and is also known as the world's last Hindu king.
Facing domestic unrest, including a Maoist insurgency, the Nepalese royal family never suspected that the greatest threat to the monarchy lived within the palace walls. On June 1, 2001, Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal got drunk and high (as he often did). Stumbling into the royal dining hall, the prince gunned down King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya, and eight other members of the royal entourage, including his younger siblings. The prince allegedly then turned the gun on himself in an attempt to commit suicide. He failed to end his own life and plunged into a coma. As heir to the throne, the murderous Crown Prince Dipendra was declared King of Nepal. He reigned for three days in the hospital before being declared brain dead. His uncle Gyanendra, detailed in this entry, was then crowned king.
The monarchy was subsequently disbanded at the beginning of 2008. The former king is still relatively popular among Nepali people, with many hoping the monarchy might be restored in the future.
Aka the other Kaiser, he was among Europe's longest reigning monarchs, outliving his contemporary, Queen Victoria. Also known for having endured a horrific stream of personal (and ultimately nationwide) disasters with nigh impregnable stride.
Emperor Karl (or Karl IV in Hungary): Franz Joseph's successor and the last Habsburg monarch. Made attempts at brokering peace while trying to keep his crumbling empire together. Made two (failed) efforts at restoring the throne in Hungary in the 1920s. He would die exiled in Madeira, although his son/heir Otto (noted for holding a seat in the European Parliament from Germany and being an advocate for European integration) would live on until 2011.
The current head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine is Karl's grandson Karl von Habsburg, son of Otto, is a businessman and philanthropist active in international organizations living in Salzburg.
Simeon II, Tsar of Bulgaria
The last king (Tsar) of Bulgaria, who was deposed by the communist revolution as a pre-teen in 1948 and exiled. After the fall of European communism, he returned to Bulgaria under the name Simeon Sakskoburggotski (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha), and served as the elected Prime Minister from 2001 to 2005.
Louis XVI, King of France
Married to Marie Antoinette, sister of the above Joseph II. He provided important aid to the American colonists during The American Revolution, sending money, supplies and troops to support the rebels, although this hastened France's eventual bankruptcy and he was unable to fix the failing finances left by his grandfather Louis XV. Unrest erupted throughout the country, resulting in The French Revolution. He was eventually executed by guillotine by French republicans for his alleged crimes.
There are three claimants to the defunct French throne; Louis Alphonse de Bourbon's claim is based on his descent from Louis XIV of France through his grandson Philip V of Spain. Jean Carl Pierre Marie d'Orléans is the senior male descendant by primogeniture in the male-line of Louis-Philippe I, King of the French (most royalists in France back his claim). Finally, Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoléon, is in the view of some Bonapartists, head of the former Imperial House of France.
Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany
His role in the First World War naturally made him a hate figure among the Allies. He had a withered left arm and wasn't a Nazi. Seriously. Every time people make that mistake, one of us history nerds gets boils from the raw stupid. Also, he had an awesome hat. Also, he was the oldest grandchild of Queen Victoria.
His full title was (brace yourself): His Imperial and Royal Majesty William the Second, by the Grace of God, German Emperor and King of Prussia, Margrave of Brandenburg, Burgrave of Nuremberg, Count of Hohenzollern, Duke of Silesia and of the County of Glatz, Grand Duke of the Lower Rhine and of Posen, Duke in Saxony, of Angria, of Westphalia, of Pomerania and of Lunenburg, Duke of Schleswig, of Holstein and of Crossen, Duke of Magdeburg, of Bremen, of Guelderland and of Jülich, Cleves and Berg, Duke of the Wends and the Kashubians, of Lauenburg and of Mecklenburg, Landgrave of Hesse and in Thuringia, Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia, Prince of Orange, of Rugen, of East Friesland, of Paderborn and of Pyrmont, Prince of Halberstadt, of Münster, of Minden, of Osnabrück, of Hildesheim, of Verden, of Kammin, of Fulda, of Nassau and of Moers, Princely Count of Henneberg, Count of the Mark, of Ravensberg, of Hohenstein, of Tecklenburg and of Lingen, Count of Mansfeld, of Sigmaringen and of Veringen, Lord of Frankfurt.
- Let's be thankful for this one. There are at least three places he was ruler of which are not mentioned there, and there were probably more, so it could have been even worse. Still cant help but wonder if he remembered it himself.
The current head of the House of Hohenzollern is his great-great grandson Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, a businessman and consultant from Bremen.
Constantine II, King of Greece
The last king of one of Europe's most recently-disbanded monarchies. After spending World War II in exile in South Africa, Constantine returned to Greece in 1946, succeeding to the throne upon his fathers death in 1964. Fearing leftist infiltration of the army, he dismissed Premier Georgios Papandreou and appointed interim premiers until April 21, 1967, when a military coup forestalled the election he was planning for May of that year. He attempted a countercoup from northern Greece but had few sympathizers and almost immediately fled to Rome with his family. The military regime retained control of the monarchy and appointed a regent in Constantines place, granting the king a free return if he so desired.
In 1973, the military regime ruling Greece proclaimed a republic and abolished the Greek monarchy. After the election of a civilian government in November 1974, another referendum on the monarchy was conducted; the monarchy was rejected, and Constantine, who had protested the vote of 1973, accepted the result.
Important point: modern Greece was a kingdom for more than half its history but both ruling dynasties were not Greek in origin: King Otto was from the House of Wittelsbach, while Kings George I, Constantine I, Alexander, George II, Paul and Constantine II were from the House of Glücksburg. When Greeks speak of a royal family, thats the only one they can refer to.
None of the two dynasties ever claimed descent from any Byzantine, let alone ancient Greek, house, and no Greek/Hellenistic royal houses existed after the Roman conquest succession to the Byzantine throne was never officially hereditary.
Finally, all Greek constitutions since the revolution of 1821 explicitly forbid the award or acceptance of titles of nobility on Greeks. Officially there were not even a crown prince or princes and princesses; the kings children were simply called βασιλόπαιδες, basilopaides kings children, and the crown prince was called διάδοχος, diadokhos heir.
The Greek royal family remain very close to other European monarchies, particularly the Danish monarchy from whom they descend, and the British monarchy, due to Prince Philip's Greek ancestry. Queen Elizabeth herself, in a highly unusual turn of events, attended the London wedding of Constantine's son, Prince Pavlos, in 1995. The Queen does not usually attend such events, preferring to send a representative (e.g Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex) — in theory so she doesn't upstage the couple (though possibly also because she must always maintain precedence).
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Son of Maria Theresa of Austria and brother to Marie Antoinette and one of the last monarchs of the Holy Roman Empire before it was dissolved in 1806 after Napoleon's rise in Europe. Famously commissioned operas and works from Mozart and appeared as a character in Amadeus. Well-known for being rather liberal in his day, and attempted to enlighten Austria with significant domestic reforms and also reduced censorship significantly. He died without any male children and was succeeded by his brother, Leopold II.
The crown of the Holy Roman Empire was ceded to Habsburg family, who continued as the Emperors of Austria after the dissolution of the Empire 1806. The legitimate heir of the WRE would be Karl von Habsburg, who would be Charles IX.
Manuel II, King of Portugal
The very cherubic last King of Portugal. Unfit and unprepared to be the king, he was elevated to the throne after the assassination of his father, King Charles I, and his brother, Prince Luís Filipe, who was the heir to the throne up to that point, in the 1908 Lisbon Regicide. Overthrown by the 5 October 1910 revolution, which implemented the Portuguese First Republic. Was great-great-great-great-grandson of Maria II, who was herself the sister of Dom Pedro II of Brazil.
Duke Duarte Pío, the pretender to the Portuguese throne, says his lack of an official role doesn't frustrate him. The house of the Duke of Braganza sits in the noble town of San Pedro de Sintra, 40 kilometers from Lisbon.
Michael I, King of Romania
The last King of Romania, deposed by a communist regime in 1947 and forced into exile with his family. When Nicolae Ceaușescu's government was overthrown in 1989, Michael attempted to return to Romania, but was arrested and forced to leave the country again. In 1997, his citizenship was fully restored and he was allowed back into Romania, and several of his family's ancestral properties were restored to him. Michael died on December 5th, 2017, at his residence in Switzerland at the age of 96, in the presence of his youngest daughter Princess Maria.
The current claimant to the throne is Michael's eldest daughter, Princess Margareta. While Salic law at the time of her birth prevented women from succeeding the throne in Romania, King Michael designated Margareta his heir apparent in 2007, should the monarchy be restored.note She's very popular with the people of Romania, best known for her charity work. She also heads the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation and has a degree in Sociology, Political Science and International Law from the University of Edinburgh.
Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia
Last Tsar of Russia before the February Revolution and generally portrayed (today, anyway) as a nice but hopeless chap who was caught up in events too big for him to handle. An Orthodox Saint (specifically "Passion Bearer" in the Orthodox Church), along with his wife Alexandra and their five childrennote .
His full title happened to be: Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrakhan, King of Poland, Tsar of Siberia, Tsar of Tauric Chersonesos, Tsar of Georgia, Lord of Pskov, and Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigalia, Samogitia, Belostok, Karelia, of Tver, Yugra, Perm, Vyatka, Bulgaria, and other territories; Lord and Grand Duke of Nizhny Novgorod, Chernigov; Sovereign of Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Beloozero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all the northern territories; and Sovereign of Iveria, Kartalinia, and the Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories; Hereditary Lord and Ruler of the Cherkass and Mountain Princes and others; Lord of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Oldenburg, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth.
Also happened to be the wealthiest saint in record, the estimated third wealthiest calculable historical figure ever (behind two great early American capitalists), and the wealthiest Russian Tsar. In a country where the majority of the population was illiterate and existed in effective serfdom, these may have been some of the grievances that ultimately got him removed and executed.
Grand Duchess Anastasia (Romanova): The youngest of Nicholas' four daughters, hence her common moniker "The Last Grand Duchess". When she wasn't found among the executed Romanovs, many thought she was alive and a number of movies have been made about her. As it turns out, she was among the executed Romanovs. Ah well. People thought she was alive decades before the Romanov burial site was found. The first whispers were as early as 1919. If anything, the "Anastasia lives" trope was far stronger and far more widely believed in the West before the tomb was found than afterwards. (If it matters, it's now thought that Anastasia actually was one of those recovered from the grave; the remains found later on were probably her sister Marie's.)
Maria Vladimirovna is the most widely acknowledged pretender to the throne of Russia. This great-great-granddaughter of Alexander II, who was Emperor of Russia until his assassination in 1881, now lives in Spain. Her father, Vladimir Kirillovich, was born in exile in Finland in 1917, and from 1938 claimed to be head of the Russian imperial family. By the time of his death in 1992 he was the last Dynast of the Romanov family; the succession to the claim to the throne has been disputed ever since.
Liliʻuokalani, Queen of the Hawaiian Islands
- Dynasty: House of KalākauaLived: 1838-1917Reigned: 1891-1893Consort: John Owen DominisClaimant: (1) Abigail Kawānanakoanote , (2) Quentin Kawānanakoanote , (3) Owana Salazarnote
The last Queen of Hawai'i. Succeeding her childless brother King Kalākaua in 1891, her brief reign was filled with turmoil. She attempted to write a new constitution to bolster the economy and strengthen the monarchy, but pro-American forces overthrew the monarchy in 1893. Liliʻuokalani was placed under house arrest in the ʻIolani Palace and forced to abdicate fully in 1895. While the Republic of Hawai'i restored her civil rights and offered her a pardon the following year, the deposed queen instead fled to Massachusetts to be with her husband. Hawai'i was annexed by the United States in 1898, and many Hawaiian royals boycotted the event in protest.
Liliʻuokalani lived the rest of her life as a private citizen. An accomplished songwriter and author, she penned many great works about the history of her homeland. During her imprisonment, she wrote "Aloha ʻOe", which has come to be known as the most iconic Hawaiian songs, and a symbol of her lost country. Liliʻuokalani passed away at her home at Washington Place, Honolulu at the age of 79. She was later interred along with her family members at Kalākaua Crypt at the Royal Mausoleum of Mauna ʻAla.
There are at least three distinct claimants to the Hawaiian throne; Abigail Kawānanakoa's claim is the most direct, as the great grand niece of Queen Liliʻuokalani. Quentin Kawānanakoa is the senior male descendant of Prince David Kawānanakoa, who had been third in line to the throne at the time of the monarchy's overthrownote . Quentin himself however doesn't really acknowledge the claim, claiming his title as a prince is merely honorific. Finally, Owana Salazar is the current claimant of the House of Laʻanui, a branch of the Hawaiian royal family with ties to the original House of Kamehameha.