NewsIt's Not Just the UK: List of Countries Where...

It's Not Just the UK: List of Countries Where Royalty Still Rule

When we look at history, there was a time when almost the entire world was ruled by a monarch, a king, or a queen. But there are many countries that still have some form of monarchy .

The power of monarchs varies, defined by the traditions and language of the country. Most monarchies are constitutional and have mainly ceremonial functions. Some, however, have absolute power.

What is a Monarchy?

A monarchy is a form of government in which total sovereignty is vested in one person, a head of state called a monarch, who holds office until his or her death or abdication. Monarchs typically hold and attain office through the right of hereditary succession, although there have been elective monarchies, in which the monarch holds office after being elected: the papacy is sometimes referred to as an elective monarchy.

When thinking of modern kings and queens, the British monarchy is the first reference. But there are many modern monarchies that reign in different countries.

1. Bahrain

Bahrain is a constitutional hereditary monarchy, ruled by the House of Khalifa since the 18th century . The Sunni Khalifa family rules over a majority Shia population. The head of state is the king, and the head of government is the prime minister.

Bahrain’s politics have been developed since 2002 within the framework of a constitutional monarchy in which the government is appointed by the King of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

2. Belgium

Before Belgium became an independent country in 1830, it was part of the Netherlands for 15 years. Since then, there have been seven Belgian monarchs who have ruled as ‘King of the Belgians’. Based on a constitutional monarchy, the kings who represented Belgium were granted office through a strict lineage system dating back to Leopold I.

In July 2013, King Albert II announced his abdication. In that same year Prince Philip took the oath and became the seventh King of the Belgians.

4. Brunei

Brunei is one of the few remaining absolute monarchies in the world and the only one in Asia. As an absolute monarch, the Sultan of Brunei is the head of state and head of government.

The name of the Sultan of Brunei is Hassanal Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III. He has also served as the country’s Prime Minister since they achieved independence from British rule in 1984.



The King of Cambodia is the head of state of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The King’s power is limited to that of a symbolic figurehead to whom the people must give love and respect. The monarch also represents peace, stability and prosperity for the Khmer people. Since 1993, the King of Cambodia is an elected monarch, making Cambodia one of the few elective monarchies in the world .

The king is chosen for life from members of the Norodom and Sisowath bloodlines who are at least 30 years of age by the Royal Throne Council, which consists of several high-level political and religious figures.

Norodom Sihamoni is the King of Cambodia. He became king on October 14, 2004, a week after the abdication of his father, Norodom Sihanouk.

6. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a monarchy based on Islam. The government is headed by the King, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The King appoints a Crown Prince to help him with his duties.

Saudi Arabia owes its current form to King Abdulaziz Al-Saud (1882-1953), who established the modern Kingdom in 1932. Since 1953, Saudi Arabia has been ruled by the sons of King Abdulaziz. The current ruler, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, ascended the throne in January 2015.

7. Spain

The monarchy in its different conceptions and modalities has been the predominant form of government or the institution that holds the highest political power in Spain and its adjacent territories throughout history. Hence, the political and institutional history of Spain, like that of other European countries, is, in part, the history of its monarchy and its kings and queens.

8. Thailand

The monarchy of Thailand refers to the constitutional monarchy and monarch of the Kingdom. The king is the head of state and head of the ruling Royal House of Chakri.

Vajiralongkorn is the king of Thailand. He is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. In 1972, at the age of 20, his father made him crown prince.

9. Vatican City

Vatican City is the last absolute monarchy in the world today. The Pope, when elected, does not respond to any human power. He has absolute authority over the entire Roman Catholic Church, direct authority reaching down to individual members.

10. Denmark

The Danish monarchy is a popular institution in Denmark and is one of the oldest in the world. The current monarch, Queen Margrethe II, has a lineage that dates back to the first Viking kings of Denmark more than 1,000 years ago.

11. Malaysia

The Malaysian monarchy consists of nine hereditary members of ethnic Malay royalty who form the Conference of Rulers, each of whom governs a separate state in Malaysia (Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu). Seven of these kings use the title ‘Sultan’, except Negeri Sembilan and Perlis who use the titles ‘Yang di-Pertuan Besar’ and ‘Raja’ respectively.

In the current election system, which has been in place since the end of colonial rule in 1957, the king is elected by these nine rulers and reigns for a five-year term. Every five years, the nine royals choose to confirm or reject the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong from among their number, in a rotating system in which the order of succession between states is premeditated.

The current Sultan Abdullah of Pahang was the next to ascend the throne and became king upon being confirmed by the Council after his predecessor Muhammad V of Kelantan abdicated.

12. Netherlands

Since 1814, the Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy. This means that the position of the monarch is established in the Constitution. The King is the head of state and together with the ministers forms the government. In a constitutional monarchy, the head of state falls under ministerial responsibility.

In April 2013, King Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother as monarch. The King is married to Queen Máxima.

Scotland bids a long and final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II

The coffin will rest in the throne room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, before being transferred on Monday to Saint Giles Cathedral, where a service will be held in the presence of King Charles III.

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral will be held on September 19

The queen's body currently rests in an oak coffin draped with the royal banner of Scotland and with a wreath placed on top in the ballroom of Balmoral Castle.

Prince William vows to support King Charles in any way he can

William, 40, who is now heir to the throne, said the queen "was by my side in my happiest moments. And she was by my side in the saddest days of my life."

Charles III proclaimed the new King of the United Kingdom

Following a carefully crafted protocol long overdue, the late queen's 73-year-old son slowly settles into the head of state and into the hearts of the British people.