Monarchy Countries: Which Nations Still Have Kings & Queens Today

by | Feb 24, 2024 | Aristocracy, Kingdoms, Kings, Nobility, Noble Titles, Queens, Royal Titles

The British Royal Family is a world-famous monarchy that regularly makes headlines around the globe. It seems the entire world is fascinated with the lives and dramas of the famous Windsor Family and the ancient royal history of Britain. 

Whether it’s the record-breaking reign of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Coronation of the new King, Charles III, and his controversial Queen Consort Camilla, or the latest happenings in the lives of the young royals, the English monarchy is one of the most famous royal institutions. 

It might be easy to think that it’s the only royal institution left in the world, but this is far from the truth. Even though many countries abolished their monarchies in recent centuries, there are still a fair number of countries that still have kings, queens, royal families, and regal dramas to rival those of the House of Windsor. 

Monarchy Countries Around The World

The range of modern monarchies is a complex list. Many are constitutional monarchies, in that the royal family are more like figureheads and statesmen and women, rather than absolute rulers. 

There are also mixed monarchies, which are like a hybrid of absolute monarchies and constitutional monarchies, where the king or queen still retains some of the old style sovereign rule of absolute power, yet there are some areas where they are subject to democratic power and rule. 

Other types of monarchies also exist, and they fall into different categories based on whether they are sovereign nations without a king or queen, or they are rare anomalies, such as the example of Vatican City, which is a type of monarchy yet it’s headed not by a royal ruler but by the Pope.

While the definition of monarchies can be confusing, there’s one list that keeps it simple and yet still satisfies the curiosity of many royal watchers, and that’s the collection of countries that still have a king or queen. 

What Countries Still Have Kings And Queens?

Here are some of the nations around the world that still have a royal family and is headed by a king or a queen:

  • Malaysia
  • Uganda
  • Eswatini (Formerly Swaziland)
  • Tonga
  • Lesotho
  • Bhutan
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Jordan

Monarchies With Reigning Princes & Grand Dukes

Not all monarchies are headed by kings and queens. There are some cases, for example, those known as a Principality where the highest-ranking royal ruler is a prince, rather than a king. 

Here are some examples of monarchies that don’t have kings or queens. 

Monaco. 

Monaco has its own monarchy yet the highest-ranking royal is a prince, not a king or queen.

Princes Palace of Monaco

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is regarded as a sovereign principality, in that it is a self-governing nation with a monarchy, yet it is headed by a prince rather than a king. 

Vatican City

Vatican City may be famous as the smallest country in the world but it is still classed as a monarchy. There are no kings, queens, princes or princesses, however, as the royalty of this kingdom is made of high-ranking clergy and headed by the Pope. 

Andorra

Andorra is a kind of joint monarchy made up of the French president and an elected monarch, a partnership known as co-princes. 

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy and is ruled not by a king or even a prince but by a rare legacy title from the days of medieval times known as a Grand Duke. 

Royal Vs Imperial

One of the most significant regal families not on the list is that of Japan. Yet this ancient nation’s monarchy is not made up of kings and queens, and it’s not even classed as royalty, because the Japanese nation is officially termed the Empire of Japan. 

As such, the sovereign rulers of this constitutional monarchy are the Emperor and Japan and his wife, the Empress of Japan. 

In terms of kings and queens, emperors and empresses, there’s usually a distinction between royal and imperial. 

Historically, an empire, i.e. a nation that rules several nations, is headed by an imperial ruler, such as an Emperor or Empress. 

Examples of this from history include Napoleon I, Emperor of France, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, and Elizabeth, Empress of Austria.

These nations don’t use terms such as king or queen, as the title of an emperor or empress is regarded as a higher-ranking title. 

In terms of hierarchies within monarchies and empires, imperial rulers were historically more powerful and influential than royal rulers such as kings and queens. This was usually because they governed several nations (ie an empire) rather than just one country (ie a kingdom). 

Monarchy Vs Sovereign State

A Sovereign State is a self-governing nation, yet it may belong to the monarch of another country. 

These hybrid monarchies are another fascinating example of how the role of royalty has changed over the ages. It also reveals the connections between two or more nations and how the governance and division of power relate to the existence of a royal family. 

The realms, empires, kingdoms and monarchies of the world tell a fascinating story of how royal and imperial rule has evolved over the centuries. 

Some nations have moved towards more constitutional monarchies, whereas others have retained a degree of absolute power. There’s also a wonderful range of monarchy countries who still use terms and titles that reflect the long-gone days of the ancient regimes that governed vast empires and multiple nations. 

Then there are the smaller countries that also bring a fascinating diversity to the collection, such as the micronations, principalities, and grand dukedoms that call to mind the feudal kingdoms of old, as the modern world and its geography was only just taking the shape that we have come to know today. 

While the specifics of modern monarchies may be a little confusing in their detail – with their modern adaptations to contemporary politics and democratic preferences – the countries of the world that still have royal and imperial families provide an endless source of inspiration for royal watchers around the world.

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