Kingdoms and Monarchs of the World
The World's Kings and Queens
Ever since the French Revolution, the future of monarchy in the world has been a bit shaky. As recently as 2008, communist revolutionaries in Nepal overthrew their monarchy to establish a republic. Still, despite a couple of centuries of toppling kings and royal family opposition, there are 44 monarchies in the world today. 13 are in Asia, 12 are in Europe, 10 are in North America, 6 are in Oceania, and 3 are in Africa. There are no monarchies in South America.
It's maybe important to note that there are 44 monarchies, but there are only 29 monarchs. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was queen of 15 other Commonwealth Realms that formerly composed the British Empire, a position that has now been taken over by her son and current monarch, King Charles III.
What Countries Are Monarchies?
Here is a list of all the monarchies in the world, listed by country with type of monarchy. See also: Current World Leaders
|Country||Monarch||Type of monarchy|
|Bahrain||King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa||Constitutional|
|Belgium||King Philippe (2013)||Constitutional|
|Bhutan||Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchukin||Constitutional|
|Brunei||Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah||Constitutional|
|Cambodia||King Norodom Sihamoni||Constitutional|
|Denmark||Queen Margrethe II||Constitutional|
|Jordan||King Abdullah II||Constitutional|
|Kuwait||Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (2006)||Constitutional|
|Lesotho||King Letsie III||Constitutional|
|Liechtenstein||Prince Hans Adam II||Constitutional|
|Luxembourg||Grand Duke Henri||Constitutional|
|Malaysia||Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah||Constitutional|
|Monaco||Prince Albert II||Constitutional|
|Morocco||King Muhammad VI||Constitutional|
|Norway||King Harald V||Constitutional|
|Oman||Sultan Qabus ibn Sa'id||Absolute|
|Qatar||Emir Sheik Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani||Constitutional|
|Samoa||Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi||Constitutional|
|Saudi Arabia||King Salman||Absolute|
|Swaziland||King Mswati III||Absolute|
|Sweden||King Carl XVI Gustaf||Constitutional|
|Thailand||Prem Tinsulanonda, regent||Constitutional|
|Tonga||King Tupou VI||Constitutional|
|United Kingdom||King Charles III1||Constitutional2|
|Vatican City||Pope Francis||Absolute|
What Is a Monarchy?
A monarchy (from the Greek monarkhia; "monos", only, and "arkhe" authority) is a country lead by a single ruler, usually a king or queen. Monarchs are usually not elected in any way, although there are elective monarchies. Malaysia is an elective monarchy, as was the Holy Roman Empire. You can also have an abolute monarch, such as Pope Francis in Vatican City.
The monarch, as the leader is known, can be head of state, head of government, or both— particularly in a constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the representative of the country and its people, especially in diplomatic affairs. The head of government, by contrast, is the person who actually leads the government in creating and enforcing policies, such as a prime minister or president.
A monarchy is typically called a kingdom. Other terms might include grand duchy (as in the case of Luxembourg), principality (as in the case of Monaco), or city-state (as in the case of the Vatican).
How Do Monarchies Differ?
There are different types of monarchies based on how much political power the monarch has, and how their office is inherited.
Absolute monarchies are ones in which the monarch exercises total power as the head of state and head of government. They may have assemblies or other government bodies, but the monarch exercises final authority. The most famous example of an absolute monarchy today is Saudi Arabia, where the ruling House of Saud holds immense power and influence.
Constitutional monarchies are ones in which the powers of the monarch are explicitly restrained by law. They are usually just the head of state, while the head of government will be an elected prime minister. As in the case of the United Kingdom, the monarch might technically have great authority, but they aren't empowered to flex that power. Contrary to the common perception in the U.S., Queen Elizabeth II can declare war, veto laws, and dismiss the government. She wouldn't do so without consulting her government, however, due to a variety of legal and political factors.
A mixed monarchy is one in which there is a legislature with powers, but the monarch maintains more authority than in a constitutional monarchy. The most famous example is Jordan, where the king exercises a great deal of power but the country is fairly democratic.
See also World Rulers.