• Greg Morgan

Royal Families Around the World

The British royal family have been getting lots of headlines lately, with Queen Elizabeth II and her brood the most visible face of modern monarchy. The House of Windsor is not the only reigning family, however, with 26 unique monarchies and 44 sovereign states (including Australia and New Zealand) existing in the world today. From the extravagance of the house of Al-Saud in Saudi Arabia to the relative modesty of the King of Norway, let's take a look at the current shape of monarchy across the globe.

The Kingdom of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the most famous royal household in the world. It's not the largest, however, with this title belonging to Saudi Arabia with over 4,000 royal princes and 30,000 royal relatives. Despite its size, the house of Al-Saud was established relatively recently, with King Abdul Aziz first sitting on the throne in 1932. Saudi royalty is not without its problems, however, with reigning King Salmon and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman both highly controversial figures.

The Queen of England is not the richest monarch, either, with this title belonging to Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn. While he spends most of his time living in Germany, the King of Thailand's assets are currently valued at up to US$43 billion. Along with owning significant shares in the country's largest bank and industrial conglomerate, the Thai king is also in charge of 16,000 acres of prime land and 40,000 rental leases.

Queen Elizabeth II isn't even in the top five when it comes to wealth, with the King of Thailand followed by the Sultan of Brunei, the King of Saudi Arabia, the President of the UAE, and the King of Morocco. Spain's Palacio Real de Madrid is the largest royal residence in the world at an impressive 3,418 rooms, which is much larger than the meager 722 rooms in Buckingham Palace. Sweden's royals are among the wealthiest in Europe, and some of the most glamorous along with Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene.

Not all royal families are blessed with endless wealth, however, with many of Europe's kings and queens leading a relatively restrained lifestyle. The King of Belgium and King of Norway are thought to be Europe's poorest monarchs, with the Norwegian royal family known to dress in simple clothes and earn their own income. On the other side of the coin, Albert the 12th Prince of Thurn und Taxis - an historical noble family in Germany - is worth roughly US$3 billion, and he doesn't even have a country to reign over.

A number of royal families have been laid to rest over the years, with the French revolution responsible for the most famous example. King Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette were imprisoned in 1789, with the French monarchy formally abolished in 1792. Many more have fallen by the wayside in recent times, including The Kingdom of Portugal in 1910, the Russian Romanov dynasty in 1917, the German Emperor and King of Prussia in 1918, the Ottoman Empire in 1922, and the Italian royal family in 1946. While hardly a death blow, recent controversies in Buckingham Palace highlight the fragile nature of even the strongest royal institutions.

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