List of current monarchies
Types of monarchy
These are roughly the categories which modern monarchies fall into:
- Commonwealth realms. Queen Elizabeth II is the monarch of sixteen Commonwealth realms (Antigua and Barbuda; the Commonwealth of Australia; the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; Barbados; Canada; Grenada; Jamaica; New Zealand; the Independent State of Papua New Guinea; the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Solomon Islands; Tuvalu; and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). They evolved out of the British Empire into fully independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations that retain the Queen as head of state, unlike other Commonwealth countries that are either dependencies, republics or have a different royal house. All sixteen realms are constitutional monarchies and full democracies, where the Queen has limited powers or a largely ceremonial role.
- Other European constitutional monarchies.
- The Principality of Andorra; the Kingdom of Belgium; the Kingdom of Denmark; the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the Kingdom of Norway; the Kingdom of Spain; and the Kingdom of Sweden are fully democratic states in which the monarch has a limited or largely ceremonial role.
- Andorra is unique among all existing monarchies, as it is a diarchy, with the Co-Princeship being shared by the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell. This arrangement creates a unique situation among monarchies, as a) neither Co-Prince is of Andorran descent, b) one is elected by common citizens of a foreign country (France), but not by Andorrans as they cannot vote in the French Presidential Elections, c) the other, the bishop of Urgel, is appointed by a foreign head of state, the Pope.
- European mixed monarchies. Liechtenstein and Monaco are constitutional monarchies in which the Prince retains many powers of an absolute monarch. For example, the 2003 Constitution referendum gives the Prince of Liechtenstein the power to veto any law that the Landtag (parliament) proposes and vice versa. The Prince can hire or dismiss any elective member or government employee from his or her post. However, unlike an absolute monarch, the people can call for a referendum to end the Prince's reign. The Prince of Monaco has simpler powers: he cannot hire or dismiss any elective member or government employee from his or her post, but he can select the minister of state, government council and judges.
- Muslim monarchies. These Muslim monarchs of the Kingdom of Bahrain; the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace; the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; the State of Kuwait; the Kingdom of Morocco; the Sultanate of Oman; the State of Qatar; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and the United Arab Emirates generally retain far more powers than their European or Commonwealth counterparts. The same goes for Malaysia, where Islam is the official religion. Absolute monarchs remain in the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace; the Sultanate of Oman; the State of Qatar; and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates are classified as mixed, meaning there are representative bodies of some kind, but the monarch retains most of his powers. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Malaysia, and the Kingdom of Morocco are constitutional monarchies, but their monarchs still retain more substantial powers than in European equivalents.
- East and Southeast Asian constitutional monarchies. The Kingdom of Bhutan; the Kingdom of Cambodia; Empire of Japan; and the Kingdom of Thailand have constitutional monarchies where the monarch has a limited or ceremonial role. Japan and Thailand changed from traditional absolute monarchies into constitutional ones during the twentieth century, while the Kingdom of Bhutan changed in 2008. The Kingdom of Cambodia had its own monarchy after independence from the French Colonial Empire, which was deposed after the Khmer Rouge came into power. The monarchy was subsequently restored in the peace agreement of 1993.
- Other monarchies. Five monarchies do not fit into one of the above groups by virtue of geography or class of monarchy: the Kingdom of Tonga in Polynesia; Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) and the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa; and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Vatican City State in Europe. Of these, the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Kingdom of Tonga are constitutional monarchies, while the Kingdom of Eswatini and the Vatican City State are absolute monarchies. The Kingdom of Eswatini is increasingly being considered a diarchy. The King, or Ngwenyama, rules alongside his mother, the Ndlovukati, as dual heads of state originally designed to be checks on political power. The Ngwenyama, however, is considered the administrative head of state, while the Ndlovukati is considered the spiritual and national head of state, a position which has become largely symbolic in recent years. The Pope is the absolute monarch of the Vatican by virtue of his position as head of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome; he is an elected rather than hereditary ruler. The Pope need not be a citizen of the territory prior to his election by the cardinals. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is not officially a monarchy, but as of 2013 its constitution requires a member of the Kim family to rule the country, and so some consider it to be a de facto absolute monarchy.
Lines of succession
Some of the extant sovereign monarchies have lines of succession that go back to the medieval period or antiquity:
- Japan, considered a constitutional monarchy under the Imperial House of Japan, has a claim to being the world's oldest extant continuous hereditary monarchy, with a traditional origin in 660 BC, commonly accepted archaeological and cultural evidence from the 3rd century and reliable historiographical evidence from at least the 6th century.
- The kings of Cambodia claim descent from Queen Soma (1st century), although the historiographical record is interrupted in the "Dark ages of Cambodia" (15th/16th centuries).
- The monarchs of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms inherit the throne by virtue of the line of descent from the House of Stuart (Union of the Crowns 1603), combining the lines of succession of the kingdoms of England and Scotland going back to the 9th century. The succession to the English throne can be argued to originate with the House of Wessex, established in the 6th century; that to the Scottish throne with descent from Pictish kings which likewise enter the historical record around the 6th century. The line of succession and descent of the Scottish throne are unbroken, whereas the English throne shifted between several unrelated dynasties/families between 1013 and 1066.
- The monarchs of the kingdom of Norway by virtue of descent from Harald I Fairhair, who united the realm in 872. Harald as a member of the House of Yngling is given a partly legendary line of succession from earlier petty kings in historiographical tradition.
- The kings of Spain via descent from the Catholic Monarchs (via the House of Habsburg), ultimately combining the lines of succession of Castile and León and Aragon, realms established in the 10th to 11th centuries in the course of the Reconquista, via the Kingdom of Asturias claiming descent from the Visigothic Kingdom (which, originally ruled by the Thervingi kings, had become elective in the 6th century).
|Monarchy||Official local name||Title of Head of State||Title of Head of Government||Type of Monarchy||Succession|
|Principality of Andorra ||In Catalan; Principat d'Andorra||Co-Princes||Prime Minister||Constitutional||Ex officio||1993|
|Antigua and Barbuda||In English; Antigua and Barbuda||Queen||Hereditary||1981|
|Commonwealth of Australia||In English; Commonwealth of Australia||Queen||Hereditary||1901|
|Commonwealth of the Bahamas||In English; Commonwealth of the Bahamas||Queen||Hereditary||1973|
|Barbados||In English; Barbados||Queen||Hereditary||1966|
|Kingdom of Bahrain||In Arabic; Mamlakat al- Baḥrayn||King||Mixed||Hereditary||2002|
|Kingdom of Belgium||In Dutch; Koninkrijk België||King||Constitutional||Hereditary 1||1831|
|Belize||In English; Belize||Queen||1981|
|Kingdom of Bhutan||In Dzongkha; Druk Gyal Khap||King||2007|
|Kingdom of Cambodia||In Khmer; Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa||King||Hereditary and elective||1993|
|Brunei Darussalam||In Malay; Negara Brunei Darussalam||Absolute||Hereditary||1959|
|Canada||In English and French; Canada||Queen||Prime Minister||Constitutional||1867|
|Kingdom of Denmark||In Danish; Kongeriget Danmark||1849|
|Kingdom of Eswatini||In Swazi; Umbuso weSwatini
In English; Kingdom of Eswatini
|King||Absolute||Hereditary and elective||1968|
|Grenada||In English; Grenada||Queen||Constitutional||Hereditary||1974|
|Jamaica||In English; Jamaica||1962|
|Japan||In Japanese; 日本国 (Nippon-koku/Nihon-koku)||Emperor||1947|
|State of Kuwait||In Arabic; Dawlat al-Kuwait||Emir||Hereditary and elective||1962|
|Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan||In Arabic; al-Mamlakah al-Urdunīyah al-Hāshimīyah||King||1952|
|Kingdom of Lesotho||In Sotho; Muso oa Lesotho
In English; Kingdom of Lesotho
|Principality of Liechtenstein||In German; Fürstentum Liechtenstein||Sovereign Prince||Hereditary||1862|
|Grand Duchy of Luxembourg||In French; Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
In German; Großherzogtum Luxemburg
In Luxembourgish; Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg
|Malaysia||In Malay; Malaysia||Yang di-Pertuan Agong||Elective||1957|
|Principality of Monaco||In French; Principauté de Monaco
In Monégasque; Principatu de Múnegu
|Sovereign Prince||Minister of State||Hereditary||1911|
|Kingdom of Morocco||In Arabic; al-Mamlaka al-Maghribiyya
In Berber; Tageldit n Lmaɣrib
|Kingdom of the Netherlands||In Dutch; Koninkrijk der Nederlanden||1815|
|New Zealand ||In English; New Zealand
In Maori; Aotearoa
|Kingdom of Norway||In Bokmål; Kongeriket Norge
In Nynorsk; Kongeriket Noreg
|Sultanate of Oman||In Arabic; Salṭanat ‘Umān||Absolute||1996|
|Independent State of Papua New Guinea||In English; Independent State of Papua New Guinea
In Tok Pisin; Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini
In Hiri Motu Papua Niu Gini
|Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis||In English; Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis||1983|
|Saint Lucia||In English; Saint Lucia||1979|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||In English; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||1979|
|Solomon Islands||In English; Solomon Islands||1978|
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||In Arabic; Al-Mamlakah al-Arabiyah as-Sa'ūdiyah||Absolute||Hereditary and elective||19922|
|Kingdom of Spain||In Spanish; Reino de España||King||Prime Minister||Constitutional||Hereditary||1978|
|Kingdom of Sweden||In Swedish; Konungariket Sverige||1974|
|State of Qatar||In Arabic; Dawlat Qaṭar||Emir||Mixed||2004|
|Kingdom of Thailand||In Thai; Ratcha Anachak Thai||King||Constitutional||2017|
|Kingdom of Tonga||In Tonga; Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga
In English; Kingdom of Tonga
|Tuvalu||In English; Tuvalu||Queen||1978|
|United Arab Emirates||In Arabic; Dawlat al-ʾImārāt al-ʿArabiyyah al-Muttaḥidah||President||Absolute||Hereditary and elective||1971|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||In English: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In Welsh: Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon
In Irish: Ríocht Aontaithe na Breataine Móire agus Thuaisceart Éireann
In Scots Gaelic: Rìoghachd Aonaichte Bhreatainn agus Èirinn a Tuath
|Vatican City State||In Latin; Status Civitatis Vaticanae
In Italian; Stato della Città del Vaticano
|Pope||President of the Pontifical Commission||Absolute||Elective||1920|
^1 Belgium is the only existing popular monarchy – a system in which the monarch's title is linked to the people rather than a state. The title of Belgian kings is not King of Belgium, but instead King of the Belgians. Another unique feature of the Belgian system is that the new monarch does not automatically assume the throne at the death or abdication of his predecessor; he only becomes monarch upon taking a constitutional oath.
- D.M. (2 June 2017). "Why is the Japanese monarchy under threat?". The Economist. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
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- "Europe:: Luxembourg". CIA The World Factbook.
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- "Europe:: Monaco". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Africa:: Morocco". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Europe:: Netherlands". CIA The World Factbook.
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- "Asia:: Oman". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Asia :: Papua New Guinea". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Central America and Caribbean :: Saint Kitts and Nevis". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Central America and Caribbean :: Saint Lucia". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Central America and Caribbean :: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines". CIA The World Factbook.
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- "Europe:: Sweden". CIA The World Factbook.
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- "Europe:: Thailand". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Australia-Oceania :: Tonga". CIA The World Factbook.
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- "Europe:: United Kingdom". CIA The World Factbook.
- "Europe :: Holy See". CIA The World Factbook.
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