When you hear the words “royal family,” Buckingham Palace probably shoots to mind. After all, they’re something of a beloved institution. From Kate Middleton and Megan Markle’s killer fashion to sweet family moments and all the drama, we just can’t get enough. However, if you’ve ever wondered which countries have a royal family beyond the United Kingdom, it turns out, there are many. Here’s a roundup of 28 countries and principalities with royal families and rulers—including a few you‘ve probably never heard of.
Which Countries Have a Royal Family? Here Are 28 That Go Way Beyond the British Monarchy
Andorra is a principality sandwiched between France and Spain in the Pyrenees, ruled by co-princes in a rare example of a diarchy. The region of 77,000 people has a prime minister, but the heads of state are the papal-appointed Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain, as well as the French president, currently Emmanuel Macron.
The Middle Eastern country of Bahrain is ruled by the House of Khalifa, and the current king is His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who is married to Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa. Their heir apparent is His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and prime minister.
King Philippe is the current monarch of Belgium, having succeeded his father, King Albert II, in 2013 following the latter’s abdication. With his wife, Queen Mathilde, they share four children: Princess Eleonore, Prince Gabriel, Princess Elisabeth and Prince Emmanuel. The eldest, Princess Elisabeth, is the Duchess of Brabant and heir to the throne.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan married Queen Jetsun Pema in 2011. The couple have two sons: Dragon Prince and heir Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck and Prince Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck.
5. Brunei Darussalam
Brunei is ruled by the House of Bolkiah, a 600-year-old dynasty. This country borders Malaysia and the South China Sea. Currently, Hassanal Bolkiah is the 29th sultan and will be succeeded by Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah. Bolkiah is one of world’s wealthiest men, and the citizens of Brunei enjoy multiple economic perks: There are no taxes and people have access to free education and healthcare.
Cambodia functions as an elective monarchy. The ruler is selected from either the House of Norodom or Sisowath, and rules for life. The reigning king is H. M. Norodom Sihamoni, elected in 2004.
Queen Margrethe II is the ruler of Denmark, and her heir is Crown Prince Frederik, who has four children: Christian, Isabella, Vincent and Josephine. Earlier this year, Queen Margrethe demoted the children of her son Prince Joachim, stripping them of their prince and princess titles. This was all in a bid to allow the children to create a life for themselves outside the monarchy—but not everyone was happy.
Formerly known as Swaziland, the Kingdom of Eswatini borders South Africa and Mozambique. It is ruled by Mswati III (also known as Ngwenyama Mswati III Dlamini), a member of the Swazi royal family.
The Imperial Family of Japan sits on the Chrysanthemum Throne, with the current emperor being Emperor Naruhito. He is married to Empress Masako, who is only the second commoner in the dynasty’s 1,500-year-old-history to marry into the royal family, following her mother-in-law. They have one daughter, Princess Aiko. Because women cannot inherit the throne, the crown will go to Naruhito’s brother, Crown Prince Akishino. His son, Prince Hisahito, follows him in the line of succession.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania are the head of Jordan and share four children: Crown Prince Hussein, Princess Iman, Princess Salma and Prince Hashem.
The Ṣabāḥ dynasty has held power in Kuwait since 1756. The current emir is His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Liechtenstein is a principality squeezed between Switzerland and Austria. Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie-Aglae have been on the throne since 1989. They have four children, Hereditary Prince Alois, Prince Maximilian, Prince Constantin and Princess Tatjana, as well as 15 grandchildren. Prince Alois is heir to the throne, sharing four children with his wife, Princess Sophia, a former Bavarian princess.
The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg consists of the present Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria, plus their five children: Prince Guillaume (married to Princess Stephanie, a Belgian Countess), Prince Felix (married to Princess Claire; they share two children), Prince Louis (he has two children with his estranged wife, Tessy Anthony), Princess Alexandra and Prince Sébastien.
In Malaysia, there are nine royal families that take turns ruling in five-year terms. The current sultan is Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who took power in 2019 following the abdication of Sultan Muhammad V. The system has been in place since decolonization in 1957.
The house of Grimaldi has consistently ruled Monaco since 1297. Prince Albert II, the current sovereign, is the son of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. He and his wife, Princess Charlene, have twins, Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques.
King Mohammed VI holds power in Morocco. His wife, Princess Lalla Salma, holds the distinction of being the country’s first publicly acknowledged, titled spouse. They have two children: Crown Prince Moulay Hassan and Princess Lalla Khadija.
17. The Netherlands
In 2013, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima took the throne, succeeding the king’s mother, Queen Beatrix. The couple have three children, Princess Catharina Amalia, Princess Ariane, and Princess Alexia. As the heir to the throne, Catharina holds the title of Princess of Orange.
King Harald V and Queen Sonja reign in Norway. Their heir is Crown Prince Haakon, who with wife Princess Mette-Marit has two children: Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus.
The House of Busaid, also known as the Al Said dynasty, hold power in Oman. The present sultan is Haitham bin Tarik, who succeeded his cousin.
Qatar is ruled by Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani of the House of Al Thani. He studied in the United Kingdom and became the heir apparent after his older brother renounced his title.
21. Saudi Arabia
The history of the House of Saud stretches back ages, but the kingdom was officially established in 1932. The current king is Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. You may have heard of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been known for his drastic reforms and policies in the country and abroad.
In 2014, King Felipe VI succeeded his father, King Carlos I. He married Queen Letizia, a former journalist, and together they have two daughters, Princess Leonor and Princess Sofia. As the heir, Leonor is also known as Princess of Asturias.
In Sweden, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia sit on the throne. They have three children, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. Victoria, who is first in line to the throne, has two children with her husband Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar.
Maha Vajiralongkorn of the royal house of Chakri, also styled as King Rama X, took the Thai throne in 2019 as the only son and second child of King Bhumibol and his wife, Queen Sirikit. King Rama X was educated in England and Australia before spending most of his life in the army. He is married to former general Suthida Vajiralongkorn.
According to its website, the Polynesian country “is the only sovereign indigenous monarchy in Oceania.” It is currently ruled by King Tupou VI and his consort Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho.
26. United Arab Emirates
The UAE is composed of seven emirates (territories). There are six ruling families, with the high profile ones being Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The former is controlled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, while the latter is ruled by Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
27. United Kingdom
The House of Windsor is well known. King Charles III ascended the throne upon the death of his mother, Elizabeth II, in September 2022. In addition to the UK, he is also head of state for a panoply of counties, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, The Bahamas, Tuvalu. Belize, Grenada, Jamaica and Papua New Guinea.
28. Vatican City
Though not technically a monarchy, (a papal conclave elects the pope), once in power, the pope has absolute jurisdiction in Vatican City. The current pope is Francis.