For thousands of years, mankind has had kings and queens to rule over the lands. In the last few centuries, royalty has fallen out of favour with most people. Many countries around the world have done away with the royal family, but there are still plenty left. Here are the top 17 royal families from across the world.
The British Royal Family
Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the Winsor family are the most famous royals in the world. They have made headlines repeatedly over the years with talk of scandals, marriages and faux pas in front of the cameras. The Winsor family story has been transformed into various movies over the years. The latest movie, “A Royal Night Out” shares the story of how Elizabeth celebrated VE day with the rest of the nation. These days it’s the rest of the family that is making new stories. Prince William got married to Kate Middleton and announced the three pregnancies that followed. The world media went into meltdown with this information. But now we have Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louie to add to the British Royals.
The Royal Family of Brunei
The head of this royal family is Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, or Hassanal Bolkiah the 29th Sultan of Brunei. He is more than just the Sultan (and a long name). The sultan is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world with a personal value of $20 billion. The next in line to the throne is his son Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Ibni Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah. The Sultan was given an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992. He currently lives with his third wife and some of the family in Istana Nurul Iman Palace. The palace is considered the biggest private residence in the world with over 1,500 rooms and over 250 bathrooms.
The Royal family of Saudi Arabia
The ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia has thousands of members, all descendants of Muhammad bin Saud. The current head of the family is King Salman who holds complete political power in Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, is next in line for the throne. King Salman is estimated to be worth approximately $18 billion. Despite the family having around 15,000 members, only 2,000 members have control over the power and the wealth. Most of the families wealth comes from the country’s oil reserves. Since the Royal family is large, future kings will be chosen by a committee of Saudi princes instead of being hereditary.
Jordan’s Royal Family
King Abdullah II of Jordan came to the throne after the death of his father in 1999. He ranked as one of the top five most influential Muslims in the world. The Crown Prince is his son, Prince Hussein, is the next in line to the throne. Jordan has its own Prime Minister, but the King still has plenty of political power in the country. King Abdullah has been working on bringing nuclear power to the country in recent years. Jordan has no oil supply and has to rely on Iraq for its supply. Since the King came into power, he has worked on bringing Jordan into the modern age.
The Royal Family of Bahrain
The King of Bahrain’s current is Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. In 2002, he changed his title from Emir to King. When Prince William married Kate Middleton, King Hamad was invited to the wedding. He had to decline the invite after human rights activists threatened to disrupt his stay in Britain. He did attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. His most recent visit to Britain was for Queens Elizabeths II Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. The king has come under question in recent times after his treatment of protesters in Bahrain. The King can overturn any decision and no one has the power to change it.
Thailands Royal Family
The current head of Thailand’s Royal family is His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. King Bhumibol has been the monarch for 67 years after the mysterious death of his older brother. The King met his wife, Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, while he was studying in Paris. He had a car accident and lost the vision in one eye. While in the hospital, Sirikit visited Bhumibol, and they got married a week before he his coronation. He has a personal wealth of $30 billion and is seen as the person responsible for the country’s growing wealth. Since 2003, he has headed a campaign to get rid of all drugs in Thailand. The king also has many different powers. These include being able to pardon criminals and overturn legislation. The official palace is the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
The Royal family of Morocco
The King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, has been called “the king of the poor” or the “king of cool” since his reign began in 1999. In 2011, the King announced that he was changing the constitution and gave away some of his powers. The king studied law and has a Ph.D. with distinction. He is married to Lalla Salma, and they have two children. Next in line for the throne is their son, The Crown Prince Moulay Hassan. The King one of Morocco’s top businessmen and banker. His wealth is believed to be around $2.5 billion and he owns large portions of land which are used for farming.
The Royal Family of Liechtenstein
The current head of the house of the royal family of Liechtenstein is Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein. The house of Liechtenstein was founded 1608 by Karl I in Liechtenstein castle in Lower Austria. In 2003, the Prince proposed to change parts of the country’s constitution, giving the Prince more power. The public voted in favour of the changes and now the Prince has the power dissolve parliament at will. He did give the public the right to abolish the monarchy by vote at any time. Many of the Prince’s official duties have been transferred to his son, Prince Alois. On the 15th of August every year, Prince Alois throws open the castle doors and has an open day so that the Royal family can meet people. At the end of the open day, there is a massive fireworks display for the guests.
The Royal Family of Belgium
Philippe, The King of Belgians, came to the throne after his father abdicated in 2013 due to health problems. His married Mathilde Marie Christiane Ghislaine d’Udekem d’Acoz in 1999. They have four children, including Princess Elisabeth who is next in line to the throne. An act passed in 1991 changed how the throne was passed on. Belgium has had a gender-neutral act of succession, and now the throne passes to the eldest child, not eldest son. King Philippe has held several high ranking positions within the Belgian military since the 1980’s. Both the King and Queen of the Belgians have continued to unite the opposing sides of the country
The Royal Family of the Netherlands
The current head of the Royal; family is His Majesty Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Before his accession to the throne in 2013, Willem-Alexander was a member of the International Olympic committee from 1998. He married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in 2002 and the couple have three daughters. He is currently one of the youngest male monarchs in Europe. He is also the first male monarch of the Netherlands in 130 years. The last being his great-great-grandfather, William III. Willem-Alexander loves to fly and makes sure that he keeps flying license every year by flying the Dutch Royal plane. A keen sportsman, he ran the New York City Marathon in 1992 under his lesser-known name, W.A van Buren.
The Royal Family of Japan
Japan has the oldest known line of monarchs in the world. The Royal family can trace its roots back to 660 BC. The Imperial House of Japan’s first Emperor was Emperor Jimmu. Since then the family has seen 125 different monarchs. The current head of house is Emperor Akihito who has reigned since 1989. In the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, the Emperor has his seat called the Chrysanthemum Throne. The palace is surrounded by many beautiful gardens. Some estimates have put the value of the palace and its grounds to be worth more than all the real estate in California. The next in line for the throne is Emperor Akihito’s eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.
The Royal Family of Sweden
Like the Netherlands, Sweden is a country which allows women to be next in line for the throne. The current head of the Royal Household is Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Next in line for the throne is his daughter, Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree. The Swedish royal family has only family members who are closely related to the king. Extended family members are not considered royalty and they have no royal or political powers. The family tree can be traced back to the 10th century. The monarch has only ceremonial duties and bills passed through parliament do not need his signature. The King is a car collector and has a collection of Porsches.
The Royal Family of Swaziland
The House of Dlamini is the current Royal house in the small kingdom of Swaziland. King Mswati III has ruled since 1986 after his father died. He rules the country with the help of his mother, The Queen Mother. In Swaziland, men continue to practice Polygyny, and it is believed that Mswati has 15 wives and 25 children. This number is small compared to the previous king, his father, Sobhuza II. Sobhuza had 70 wives, had fathered 210 children, and at the time of his death in 1982 he had over 1,000 grandchildren. Mswati is an absolute monarch and can dissolve parliament if he chooses to.
The Royal Family of Cambodia
The King of Cambodia is an elected monarch and head of state. The current head of state is Norodom Sihamoni who was elected in 2004 by a council. The Kingdom of Cambodia is one of only a few countries which elects a monarch to the throne. The elected King stays in the position until his death. Before becoming King, Norodom was best known as a cultural ambassador in Europe. The King of Cambodia is a symbolic figurehead with no power in the government. Instead, he is a figure of peace and love which gives stability to his people. The King has remained a bachelor throughout his life and has no children.
The Royal Family of Kuwait
Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is the 15th ruler of Kuwait. He was sworn in as the new Emir in 2006 after the previous Emir died suddenly. The person who was next in line could not be sworn in as he was unable to recite the oath in front of Parliament. It was believed that he was suffering from a mental illness, preventing him from speaking at great lengths. Sabah was sworn into office within a month of the previous Emit dying. This ended a crisis which threatened to tear the Royal Family apart. The Emir has two sons and enjoys fishing on his private island.
The Royal Family of Monaco
Albert II, Prince of Monaco, is the son of actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III. The Royal Family of Monaco is one of the richest royal families in the world. It is estimated the family’s worth is around $1.2 billion. The family fortune includes art, cars and holdings in the Monte Carlo Casino. Albert became the Prince of Monaco on his father’s death in 2005. Albert spent most of his adult life as a bachelor and rumours that he was a homosexual surrounded him. He had two children out of wedlock before marrying Charlene Wittstock in 2011. The couple went on to have twins in 2014.
It might be hard to get your head around this, but the Vatican is an independent country from Italy. It has it’s own laws, taxes and is the smallest internationally recognised state. The head of state is the Pope who chosen by a council on the death or abdication of the previous Pope. The Vatican is walled and has many gardens which make up most of the state. The Vatican pre-dates Christianity but has been used by the Catholic Church since its formation. The current head of state is Pope Francis who oversees the ruling of the Catholic Church. The Pope has only religious powers but is seen as a great influence in international politics. The Vatican might not have a royal family in the traditional sense. But according to the Catholic Church, we are all the children of God. Therefore we are all members of this Royal family.