A monarch is a sovereign head of state in a monarchy. A monarch
may exercise the highest authority and power in the state, or others
may wield that power on behalf of the monarch. Typically a monarch
either personally inherits the lawful right to exercise the state's
sovereign rights (often referred to as the throne or the crown) or is
selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to
provide the nation's monarch. Alternatively, an individual may become
monarch by conquest, acclamation or a combination of means. A monarch
usually reigns for life or until abdication.
If a young child is crowned the monarch, a regent is often appointed
to govern until the monarch reaches the requisite adult age to rule.
Monarchs' actual powers vary from one monarchy to another and in
different eras; on one extreme, they may be autocrats (absolute
monarchy) wielding genuine sovereignty; on the other they may be
ceremonial heads of state who exercise little or no direct power or
only reserve powers, with actual authority vested in a parliament or
other body (constitutional monarchy).
A monarch can reign in multiple monarchies simultaneously. For
example, the monarchy of
Canada and the monarchy of the United Kingdom
are separate states, but they share the same monarch through personal
4.1 Monarchs in Africa
4.2 Monarchs in Europe
4.3 Monarchs in Asia
4.4 Monarchs in the Americas
4.5 Monarchs in Oceania
5 Titles and precedence in Europe
6 Titles outside modern Europe
6.1 Titles by region
7 Use of titles by non-sovereigns
8 See also
10 External links
Monarchs, as such, bear a variety of titles – king or queen, prince
or princess (e.g.,
Prince of Monaco), emperor or empress
Emperor of China,
Emperor of Ethiopia,
Emperor of Japan,
Emperor of India), archduke, duke or grand duke (e.g., Grand
Luxembourg), emir (e.g.,
Emir of Qatar) or sultan (e.g.,
Prince is sometimes used as a generic term to refer to any
monarch regardless of title, especially in older texts.
A king can also be a queen's husband and a queen can be a king's wife.
If both people in a couple reign, neither person is generally
considered to be a consort.
Monarchy is political or sociocultural in nature, and is generally
(but not always) associated with hereditary rule. Most monarchs, both
historically and in the present day, have been born and brought up
within a royal family (whose rule over a period of time is referred to
as a dynasty) and trained for future duties. Different systems of
succession have been used, such as proximity of blood (male preference
or absolute), primogeniture, agnatic seniority, Salic law, etc. While
traditionally most monarchs have been male, female monarchs have also
ruled, and the term queen regnant refers to a ruling monarch, as
distinct from a queen consort, the wife of a reigning king.
Some monarchies are non-hereditary. In an elective monarchy, the
monarch is elected but otherwise serves as any other monarch.
Historical examples of elective monarchy include the Holy Roman
Emperors (chosen by prince-electors, but often coming from the same
dynasty) and the free election of kings of the Polish–Lithuanian
Commonwealth. Modern examples include the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong of
Malaysia, a position rotated among the nation's historically ruling
dynasties, and the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, who serves as
sovereign of the
Vatican City State and is elected to a life term by
the College of Cardinals.
In recent centuries, many states have abolished the monarchy and
become republics (however see, e.g., United Arab Emirates). Advocacy
of government by a republic is called republicanism, while advocacy of
monarchy is called monarchism. A principal advantage of hereditary
monarchy is the immediate continuity of national leadership, as
illustrated in the classic phrase "The [old]
King is dead. Long live
the [new] King!". In cases where the monarch serves mostly as a
ceremonial figure (e.g. most modern constitutional monarchies) real
leadership does not depend on the monarch.
A form of government may in fact be hereditary without being
considered monarchy, such as a family dictatorship.
Monarchies take a wide variety of forms, such as the two co-princes of
Andorra, positions held simultaneously by the Roman Catholic Bishop of
Urgel (Spain) and the elected
President of France
President of France (although strictly
Andorra is a diarchy). Similarly, the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong of
Malaysia is considered a monarch despite only holding the position for
five years at a time.
Contemporary European monarchies by type of succession
Male-preference cognatic primogeniture
The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of
King Edward VII,
photographed on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right:
VII of Norway,
Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians,
King Manuel II of
Portugal and the Algarve,
Kaiser Wilhelm II of
Germany and Prussia,
King George I of the Hellenes and
King Albert I of the Belgians.
Seated, from left to right:
King Alfonso XIII of Spain,
King George V
United Kingdom and
King Frederick VIII of Denmark.
Postcard from 1908 showing nineteen of the world's reigning monarchs:
(left to right)
King Rama V/
Chulalongkorn of Siam,
King George I of
King Peter I of Serbia,
King Carol I of Romania,
Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Tzar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria,
Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire,
King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy,
Emperor Nicholas II of the Russia,
Edward VII of Britain, Emperor
Wilhelm II of Germany,
Gustav V of Sweden,
King Haakon VII of
King Frederick VIII of Denmark, Queen Wilhelmina of the
Emperor of China, Meiji
Emperor of Japan, King
Manuel II of Portugal
Manuel II of Portugal and
King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
Hereditary succession within one patrilineal family has been most
common (although, see the Rain Queen), with preference for children
over siblings, sons over daughters. In Europe, some peoples practiced
equal division of land and regalian rights among sons or brothers, as
in the Germanic states of the Holy Roman Empire, until after the
medieval era and sometimes (e.g., Ernestine duchies) into the 19th
century. Other European realms practice one form or another of
primogeniture, whereunder a lord was succeeded by his eldest son or,
if he had none, by his brother, his daughters or sons of daughters.
The system of tanistry was semi-elective and gave weight also to
ability and merit.
The Salic law, practiced in
France and in the Italian territories of
the House of Savoy, stipulated that only men could inherit the crown.
In most fiefs, in the event of the demise of all legitimate male
members of the patrilineage, a female of the family could succeed
(semi-Salic law). In most realms, daughters and sisters were eligible
to succeed a ruling kinsman before more distant male relatives
(male-preference primogeniture), but sometimes the husband of the
heiress became the ruler, and most often also received the title, jure
Spain today continues this model of succession law, in the
form of cognatic primogeniture. In more complex medieval cases, the
sometimes conflicting principles of proximity and primogeniture
battled, and outcomes were often idiosyncratic.
As the average life span increased, an eldest son was more likely to
reach majority age before the death of his father, and primogeniture
became increasingly favoured over proximity, tanistry, seniority and
Sweden became the first monarchy to declare equal
primogeniture, absolute primogeniture or full cognatic primogeniture,
meaning that the eldest child of the monarch, whether female or male,
ascends to the throne. Other nations have since adopted this
Netherlands in 1983,
Norway in 1990,
Belgium in 1991,
Denmark in 2009, and
Luxembourg in 2011. The United Kingdom
adopted absolute (equal) primogeniture on April 25, 2013, following
agreement by the prime ministers of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms at
the 22nd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
In some monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia, succession to the throne
usually first passes to the monarch's next eldest brother and so on
through his other brothers, and only after them to the monarch's
children (agnatic seniority). In some other monarchies (e.g. Jordan),
the monarch chooses who will be his successor within the royal family,
who need not necessarily be his eldest son.
Whatever the rules of succession, there have been many cases of a
monarch being overthrown and replaced by a usurper who would often
install his own family on the throne.
Monarchs in Africa
Further information: Monarchies in Africa
Ramesses II, the third
Pharaoh of the Nineteenth
Dynasty of Egypt
A series of Pharaohs ruled
Ancient Egypt over the course of three
millennia (circa 3150 BC to 31 BC), until it was conquered by the
Roman Empire. In the same time period several kingdoms flourished in
Nubia region, with at least one of them, that of the
A-Group culture, apparently influencing the customs of Egypt
itself. From the 6th to 19th centuries, Egypt was variously part of
the Byzantine Empire,
Mamluk Sultanate, Ottoman Empire
British Empire with a distant monarch. The
Sultanate of Egypt
Sultanate of Egypt was
a short lived protectorate of the
United Kingdom from 1914 until 1922,
when it became the
Kingdom of Egypt
Kingdom of Egypt and
Sultan Fuad I changed his
title to King. After the
Egyptian Revolution of 1952
Egyptian Revolution of 1952 the monarchy was
dissolved and Egypt became a republic.
West Africa hosted the
Kanem Empire (700–1376) and its successor,
the Bornu principality which survives to the present day as one of the
traditional states of Nigeria.
Mohamoud Ali Shire, the 26th
Sultan of the Somali Warsangali Sultanate
In the Horn of Africa, the
Kingdom of Aksum
Kingdom of Aksum and later the Zagwe
Ethiopian Empire (1270–1974), and
Aussa Sultanate were
ruled by a series of monarchs. Haile Selassie, the last
Ethiopia, was deposed in a communist coup. Various Somali Sultanates
also existed, including the
Adal Sultanate (led by the Walashma
dynasty of the Ifat Sultanate),
Sultanate of Mogadishu, Ajuran
Sultanate, Warsangali Sultanate, Geledi Sultanate, Majeerteen
Sultanate of Hobyo.
Southern Africa were largely isolated from other regions
until the modern era, but they did later feature kingdoms like the
Kingdom of Kongo
Kingdom of Kongo (1400–1914).
Zulu people formed a powerful
Zulu Kingdom in 1816, one that was
subsequently absorbed into the
Colony of Natal
Colony of Natal in 1897. The Zulu king
continues to hold a hereditary title and an influential cultural
position in contemporary South Africa, although he has no direct
political power. Other tribes in the country, such as the Xhosa and
the Tswana, have also had and continue to have a series of kings and
chiefs whose local precedence is recognised, but who exercise no legal
As part of the Scramble for Africa, Europeans conquered, bought, or
established African kingdoms and styled themselves as monarchs due to
Currently the African nations of Morocco,
sovereign monarchies under dynasties that are native to the continent.
Places like St. Helena, Ceuta,
Melilla and the
Canary Islands are
ruled by the Queen of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland or the
King of Spain. So-called "sub-national monarchies" of
varying sizes can be found all over the rest of the continent, e.g.
the Yoruba city-state of Akure in south-western
Nigeria is something
of an elective monarchy: its reigning Oba having to be chosen by an
electoral college of nobles, from amongst a finite collection of royal
princes of the realm.
Monarchs in Europe
Further information: Monarchies in Europe
A map of Europe exhibiting the continent's monarchies (red) and
Elizabeth II has been monarch of independent countries in Europe,
Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
Within the Holy
Roman Empire different titles were used by nobles
exercising various degrees of sovereignty within their borders (see
below). Such titles were granted or recognised by the
Emperor or Pope.
Adoption of a new title to indicate sovereign or semi-sovereign status
was not always recognized by other governments or nations, sometimes
causing diplomatic problems.
During the nineteenth century many small monarchies in Europe merged
with other territories to form larger entities, and following World
War I and World War II, many monarchies were abolished, but of those
remaining all except Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Vatican City
Monaco were headed by a king or queen.
As of 2015[update] in Europe there are twelve monarchies: seven
kingdoms (Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Spain,
Sweden and the
United Kingdom), one grand duchy (Luxembourg), one papacy (Vatican
City), and two principalities (
Liechtenstein and Monaco), as well as
one diarchy principality (Andorra).
Monarchs in Asia
Further information: Monarchies in Asia
From left to right, Japanese
Emperor Hirohito, Crown
Princess Michiko and
Empress Nagako, 1959
In China, before the abolition of the monarchy in 1912, the
China was traditionally regarded as the ruler of "All under heaven".
"King" is the usual translation for the term wang 王, the sovereign
Qin dynasty and during the
Ten Kingdoms period. During the
early Han dynasty, China had a number of kingdoms, each about the size
of a province and subordinate to the Emperor. In Korea, Daewang (great
king), or Wang (king), was a Chinese royal style used in many states
rising from the dissolution of Gojoseon, Buyeo, Goguryeo, Baekje,
Silla and Balhae, Goryeo, Joseon. The legendary
founded the first kingdom, Gojoseon. Some scholars maintain that the
Dangun also refers to a title used by all rulers of Gojoseon, and
that Wanggeom is the proper name of the founder. Gyuwon Sahwa (1675)
describes The Annals of the Danguns as a collection of nationalistic
legends. The monarchs of
Goguryeo and some monarchs of
Silla used the
title "Taewang", meaning the "Great king". The early monarchs of Silla
have used the title of "Geoseogan", "Chachaung", "Isageum", and
finally "Maripgan" until 503. The title "Gun" (prince) can refer to
the dethroned rulers of
Joseon dynasty as well. Under the Korean
Empire (1897–1910), the rulers of Korea were given the title of
"Hwangje", meaning the "Emperor". Today, Members of the Korean
Imperial Family continue to participate in numerous traditional
ceremonies, and groups exist to preserve Korea's lmperial
The Japanese monarchy is now the only monarchy to still use the title
In modern history, between 1925 and 1979,
Iran was ruled by two
Emperors from the
Pahlavi dynasty that used the title of "Shahanshah"
King of Kings"). The last Iranian Shahanshah was
Reza Pahlavi, who was forced to abdicate the throne as a result of a
revolution in Iran. In fact Persian (Iranian) kingdom goes back to
about 2,700 BC (see List of Kings of Persia), but reached its ultimate
height and glory when
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great (Known as "The Great
Kourosh" in Iran) started the Achaemenid dynasty, and under his rule,
the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient
Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest
Asia and much of
Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean
Hellespont in the west to the
Indus River in the east, Cyrus
the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.
Bhutan are like the
United Kingdom in that they are
constitutional monarchies ruled by a King.
Jordan and many other
Middle Eastern monarchies are ruled by a
Malik and parts of the United
Arab Emirates, such as Dubai, are still ruled by monarchs.
Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area
and the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria). It was
founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud in 1932, although the conquests which
eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he
captured Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud;
succession to the throne was limited to sons of
Ibn Saud until 2015,
when a grandson was elevated to Crown Prince. The Saudi Arabian
government has been an absolute monarchy since its inception, and
designates itself as Islamic. The
King bears the title "Custodian of
the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to the two holiest places in Islam:
Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, and
Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
Mehmed III from Ottoman Dynasty
Oman is led by
Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The Kingdom of
Jordan is one of the Middle East's more modern monarchies is also
ruled by a Malik. In Arab and arabized countries,
King) is absolute word to render a monarch and is superior to all
Nepal abolished their monarchy in 2008.
Sri Lanka had a
complex system of monarchies from 543BC to 1815. Between 47BC-42BC
Sri Lanka became the country's first female head of state as
well as Asia's first head of state.[dubious – discuss]
In Malaysia's constitutional monarchy, the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong (The
Lord of the Federation) is de facto rotated every five years
among the nine Rulers of the Malay states of
Malaysia (those nine of
the thirteen states of
Malaysia that have hereditary royal rulers),
elected by Majlis Raja-
Raja (Conference of Rulers).
Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, the
Brunei is the head of
state with full executive authority, including emergency powers, since
1962. The Prime Minister of
Brunei is a title held by the Sultan. As
the prime minister, the
Sultan presides over the cabinet.
Cambodia has been a kingdom since the 1st century. The power of the
absolute monarchy was reduced when it became the French Protectorate
Cambodia from 1863 to 1953. It returned to an absolute monarchy
from 1953 until the establishment of a republic following the 1970
coup. The monarchy was restored as a constitutional monarchy in 1993
with the king as a largely symbolic figurehead.
King Devanampiya Tissa,
Queen consort Anula, and Prince
Uththiya, c. 307 BC
In the Philippines, the pre-Colonial Filipino nobility, variously
titled the harì (today meaning "king"), Lakan,
to the caste called Uring
Maharlika (Noble Class). When the islands
were annexed to the Spanish
Empire in the late 16th century, the
Spanish monarch became the sovereign while local rulers often retained
their prestige as part of the Christianised nobility called the
Principalía. After the Spanish–American War, the country was ceded
to the United States of America and made into a territory and
eventually a Commonwealth, thus ending monarchism. While the
Philippines is currently a republic, the
Sultan of Sulu and
Maguindanao retain their titles only for ceremonial purposes, but are
considered ordinary citizens by the 1987 Constitution.
Bhutan has been an independent kingdom since 1907. The first Druk
Gyalpo (Dragon King) was elected and thereafter became a hereditary
absolute monarchy. It became a constitutional monarchy in 2008.
Tibet was a monarchy since the Tibetan
Empire in the 6th century. It
was ruled by the Yuan
Dynasty following the Mongol invasion in the
13th century and became an effective diarchy with the
Dalai Lama as
co-ruler. It came under the rule of the Chinese Qing
Dynasty from 1724
until 1912 when it gained de facto independence. The
Dalai Lama became
absolute temporal monarch until incorporation of
Tibet into the
Republic of China in 1951.
Nepal was a monarchy for most of its history until becoming a federal
republic in 2008.
Monarchs in the Americas
Further information: Monarchies in the Americas
Emperor of Haiti, 1804
Emperor of Brazil
Francisco Pizarro meets with the Inca emperor Atahualpa, 1532
The concept of monarchy existed in the Americas long before the
arrival of European colonialists. When the Europeans arrived
they referred to these tracts of land within territories of different
aboriginal groups to be kingdoms, and the leaders of these groups were
often referred to by the Europeans as Kings, particularly hereditary
Pre-colonial titles that were used included:
Cacique – Aboriginal
Hispaniola and Borinquen
Tlatoani – Nahuas
Ajaw – Maya
Qhapaq Inka – Tawuantin Suyu (Inca Empire)
Morubixaba – Tupi tribes
King of the world used in some Native American tribes
The first local monarch to emerge in North America after colonization
was Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared himself
Emperor of Haiti on
September 22, 1804. Haiti again had an emperor, Faustin I from 1849 to
1859. In South America, Brazil had a royal house ruling as emperor
between 1822 and 1889, under Emperors Pedro I and Pedro II.
Between 1931 and 1983 nine other previous British colonies attained
independence as kingdoms. All, including Canada, are in a personal
union relationship under a shared monarch. Therefore, though today
there are legally ten American monarchs, one person occupies each
In addition to these sovereign states, there are also a number of
sub-national ones. In Bolivia, for example, the Afro-Bolivian king
claims descent from an African dynasty that was taken from its
homeland and sold into slavery. Though largely a ceremonial title
today, the position of king of the Afro-Bolivians is officially
recognized by the government of Bolivia.
Haiti (1804–1806) & (1849–1859), Brazil (1822–1889), Mexico
(1821–1823) & (1864–1867), Sapa Inca
Haiti (1811–1820), Brazil (1815-1822), Canada, Jamaica, Barbados,
the Bahamas, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,
Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Monarchs in Oceania
Further information: Monarchies in Oceania
King of Hawaii
Polynesian societies were ruled by an ariki from ancient times. The
title is variously translated as "supreme chief", "paramount chief" or
Kingdom of Tahiti
Kingdom of Tahiti was founded in 1788.
Sovereignty was ceded to
France in 1880 although descendants of the Pōmare
Dynasty claim the
King of Tahiti.
Kingdom of Hawaii
Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1795 and overthrown in 1893.
Kingdom of Rarotonga
Kingdom of Rarotonga was established in 1858. It became
a protectorate of the
United Kingdom at its own request in 1893.
Seru Epenisa Cakobau
Seru Epenisa Cakobau ruled the short lived Kingdom of Fiji, a
constitutional monarchy, from 1871 to 1874 when he voluntarily ceded
sovereignty of the islands to the United Kingdom. After independence
in 1970, the
Dominion of Fiji
Dominion of Fiji retained the British monarch as head of
state until it became a republic following a military coup in 1987.
New Zealand (including the
Cook Islands and Niue), Papua
Solomon Islands and
Tuvalu are sovereign states within the
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations that currently have
Elizabeth II as their
reigning constitutional monarch.
Pitcairn Islands are part of the
British Overseas Territories
British Overseas Territories with
Elizabeth II as the reigning constitutional monarch.
Tonga is the only remaining sovereign kingdom in Oceania. It has had a
monarch since the 10th century and became a constitutional monarchy in
1875. In 2008,
George Tupou V
George Tupou V relinquished most of the powers of
the monarchy and the position is now largely ceremonial.
New Zealand the position of Māori
King was established in 1858.
The role is largely cultural and ceremonial, and has no legal power.
Uvea, Alo and
Sigave in the French territory of
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna have
non-sovereign elective monarchs.
Titles and precedence in Europe
For commonly used names for specific monarchs, see List of monarchs by
The usage and meaning of a monarch's specific title has historically
been defined by tradition, law and diplomatic considerations.
Note that some titles borne by monarchs have several meanings and may
not exclusively designate a monarch. A
Prince may be a person of royal
blood (some languages uphold this distinction, see Fürst). A
belong to a peerage and hold a dukedom (title) but no duchy
(territory). In Imperial Russia, a Grand
Duke was a son or patrilineal
grandson of the
Tsar or Tsarina. Holders of titles in these
alternative meanings did not enjoy the same status as monarchs of the
Within the Holy Roman Empire, there were numerous titles used by
noblemen whose authority within their territory sometimes approached
sovereignty, even though they acknowledged the Holy Roman
suzerain; Elector, Grand Duke, Margrave,
as well as secular princes like kings, dukes, princes and "princely
counts" (Gefürstete Grafen), and ecclesiastical princes like
Prince-Archbishops, Prince-Bishops and Prince-Abbots. A ruler with a
title below emperor or king might still be regarded as a monarch,
outranking a nobleman of the same ostensible title (e.g., Antoine,
Duke of Lorraine, a reigning sovereign, and his younger brother,
Duke of Guise, a nobleman in the peerage of France).
The table below lists titles in approximate order of precedence.
According to protocol any holder of a title indicating sovereignty
took precedence over any non-sovereign titleholder.
Notes and examples
Women cannot hold the office of Pope
Successor of St. Peter, Bishop of Rome, Head of the Roman Catholic
Monarch of the
Papal States and later
Sovereign of the State
of Vatican City. As senior ruler in Medieval Christendom, the Pope
held precedence over all other titles and offices. The
Papacy is a
celibate office always forbidden to women; in English however, reports
of female popes such as (
Pope Joan) refer to them as pope and Popess;
the term is used, among other things, for the second trump in the
Tarot deck; some European languages also have a feminine form of the
word pope, such as the Italian papessa, the French papesse, the
Portuguese papisa and the German Päpstin.
Japan (the only remaining enthroned emperor in the world).
Historical: Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, First and Second Bulgarian
Empire, Serbian Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Russian Empire, Korean
Empire, Mongol Empire, Imperial China, First and Second French Empire,
Austrian Empire, First Mexican Empire,
Empire of Brazil, German Empire
(none left in Europe after 1918),
India (ceased to be used
after 1947 when
India was granted independence from the British
The German title
Kaiser and the Bulgarian/Serbian title
Tsar were both
derived from the
Latin word Caesar, intended to mean Emperor. One of
the titles of the
Sultan of the
Ottoman Empire was Kaysar-i-Rûm
Emperor of Rome), Kaysar being a rough transliteration of Caesar
(Emperor) into Ottoman Turkish. Kaisar-i-Hind, derived from the German
word Kaiser, was the
Urdu translation of "
Emperor of India".
Common in larger sovereign states. Similar titles on other Germanic
languages, e.g. Konge/Dronning in Danish, Koning/Koningin in Dutch,
König/Königin in German.
Viceroy of Peru,
Viceroy of New Spain,
Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata,
Viceroyalty of New Granada),
Viceroy of India,
Viceroy of Brazil), British
Viceroy of India), Russian
Viceroyalty of the
Caucasus). The title Viceré was used in the Italian Colonial Empire.
An equivalent office called the "Exarch" was used in the Byzantine
Historical: Unique to the
House of Habsburg
House of Habsburg which ruled the Archduchy
of Austria; title used for all members of dynasty
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Historical examples include Grand
Duchy of Moscow,
Grand Duchy of Finland and
Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
There are no remaining independent duchies, although there are the
sub-national Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster in England. Historical
examples include the
Duchy of Normandy,
Duchy of Milan and
Principality, Princely state, Princedom
Today: Monaco, Liechtenstein,
Sovereign Military Order of Malta;
Andorra (Co-Princes). Historical:
Principality of Albania, Serbia.
Self-proclaimed micronations claiming to be principalities include the
Seborga and Hutt River.
A continental rank below that of a
Duke but above a Count. British
version is Marquess. Although
Margrave shares word-origin, in Germany
it referred to rulers (of Margraviates) rather than nobles. Historical
Marquess of Queensbury, Marquisate of Saluzzo, Marquisate of
Count is most common term for a continental, middle-ranked noble.
British equivalent is
Earl (whose female counterpart or wife is
"Countess"). There are no remaining independent counties and the word
county is used to denote an administrative district. Historical
County of Toulouse,
County of Castile,
Barcelona and Earldom of Orkney.
Etymological equivalent male/female/territory titles include
Comte/Comtesse/Comté in French, Conte/Contessa/Contea in Italian,
Conde/Condesa/Condado in Spanish, Conde/Condessa/Condado in
Portuguese, Graf/Gräfin/Grafschaft in German, Graaf/Gravin/Graafschap
in Dutch, Greve/Grevinna/Grevskap in Swedish.
Literally a vice or deputy count, from visconte in Old French. Vicomte
is the equivalent in modern French. Vizconde is the equivalent in
Spanish. The German Burggraf and Dutch Burggraaf are historical
equivalents although they are not translated as "Viscount"; a rank
Baron but below Count. There are no remaining viscountcies but
Viscount remains a title in Belgium, France,
Spain and the UK.
Historical examples: Viscountcy of Béarn, Burgraviate of Nuremberg
Today: Isle of Man; historical:
Lordship of Ireland,
Lord of the Isles
The equivalent title is still legally borne in Belgium, Denmark,
France, Netherlands, Spain,
Sweden and the United Kingdom. Surviving
examples include Kendal and Westmorland in England, the
Barony of Hailes in Scotland and
Barony Rosendal in Norway.
Equivalent titles include Barone in Italian, Barón in Spanish, Barão
Boyar in Bulgarian, Wallachian, and Moldavian, Freiherr
in German (sometimes used concurrently with Baron), Friherre is the
title in the nobility of
Sweden while the spoken address is Baron,
Vapaaherra in the nobility of Finland.
Titles outside modern Europe
Notes and examples
Used throughout the
Muslim world. Equivalent to King. Current
examples: Brunei, Oman, states of Malaysia. Historical examples:
Seljuk Sultanate, Delhi Sultanate,
Sultanate of Malacca, Warsangali
One of many ancient titles adopted by the
Maharlika caste in
pre-colonial Philippines. Harì survives today as a generic Filipino
word for "king", while reyna is a Spanish loanword. Dayang (loosely,
"princess") was another title for royal ladies, e.g. the queen regnant
Dayang Kalangitan of Tondo.
Used throughout the
Muslim world. Equivalent to King. Current
examples: Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco. Also used by tribal leaders among
the Pashtun people. Historical examples:
Malik al-'Iraq ("
Malik al-Mamlaka al-Mutawakkiliyya al-Yamaniyya ("
King of the
Mutawakkilite Yemeni Kingdom").
Used throughout the
Muslim world. Roughly equivalent to Prince.
Current examples: constituent emirates of the United Arab Emirates,
Kuwait, Qatar. Historical examples:
Emirate of Crete,
Emirate of Afghanistan.
Used throughout the
Muslim world. Equivalent to Emperor. There are no
current recognised caliphates. Historical examples: Rashidun
Caliphate, Umayyad Caliphate,
Caliphate of Córdoba, Abbasid
Ancient Indian title sometimes translated into modern English as
Indian royal title most equivalent to Emperor.
Used historically princely states in South Asia. A "high king" above a
Used historically in princely states in
South Asia and pre-colonial
chiefdoms in the Philippines. Equivalent to King.
Tamil titles used in ancient Tamilakam. The emperor title was called
"Perarasan" and his realm was a "Perarasu". The word "Arasangam" is
used today for the government.
Used historically for semi-autonomous
Muslim rulers of princely states
in South Asia.
A superlative title equivalent to "Great King" or "
King of Kings".
Used historically by several
West Asian empires such as the
King of Kings of Persia),
Mughal Emperors of the
Indian Subcontinent (who used the Arabic version of the title,
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Used historically in Persia, Greater
Iran and the Mughal Empire.
Variously translated into English as
King or Emperor.
Imperial rank in the Mongolian and
Turkic languages equal to the
status of Emperor. Historical example: Rus' Khaganate
Imperial rank in the Mongolian and
Turkic languages equal to the
status of King. Historical examples:
Khanate of Kazan, Crimean
Used historically in Ancient Egypt.
Used historically in Ancient
Persia to refer to local rulers of
provinces under the Persian King. Also used for provincial rulers of
Alexander the Great's Empire.
Largely equivalent to
Viceroy in the Ottoman Empire. Examples:
Khedivate of Egypt.
Titles by region
When a difference exists below, male titles are placed to the left and
female titles are placed to the right of the slash.
Description and use
Fulani people of west Africa
Title of the king of the
Ashanti people in Ghana
Tunisia until 1957; originally Turkish for governor
Regal style used by rulers of some of the Somali Sultanates
Leader of a people
Igbo people of Nigeria
Baganda people of Buganda in Uganda
Mangi for Chaggas in Northern Tanzania
King of Morocco
Emperor of Mali
Burundi during the
Tutsi domination of these
countries, now the acknowledged ruling sections of only their fellow
Emperor of Ethiopia; properly
Negus Negust, meaning "
Kings". Also used among the
Tigrinyas and in
Eritrea to refer to
Yoruba and Bini peoples of Nigeria
Bunyoro, title of some kings in Uganda
Emperor of Ancient Egypt
King of the Hausa people
Title of the ruler of the Swat in present-day Pakistan
India Sri Lanka
"Divine Ruler"; ruled Sikkim until 1975
title of leaders of small principalities in Ancient Philippines;
equivalent to "Prince".
Hereditary title given to the king of Bhutan
Emperor of China
Also known as Huángdì, rule the Imperial China with supreme power.
Engku or Ungku
Malaysia, to denote particular family lineage akin to royalty
The title of the ruler of Baroda (India). The word means "cowherd" in
Honorary title of the leaders in the Philippines
King of East
Ancient and modern Filipino equivalent of king
The title of the ruler of
皇帝 as in Chinese, the Imperial China Emperor
States that unified Korea
title used by the rulers of the
Kingdom of Tondo
Kingdom of Tondo (now part of the
Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka
India and Sri Lanka
Andhra Pradesh (India)
Title used in
Aceh before Islam
Used in Bhopal, Junagadh, Radhanpur, Jaora, Tonk and some other Indian
Used in Hyderabad (India)
Emperor or High
Hindustan (India); also the monarch
of Britain as
Emperor of India
Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdech Preah Bâromneath
Cambodia Khmer, the title literally means "The feet of the
Lord who is on the heads (of his subjects)" (This royal title
does not refer directly to the king himself but to his feet, according
to traditions).
Sub- king Sri Lanka
Phrabat Somdej Phrachaoyuhua
Thailand (Siam), the title literally means "The feet of the
Lord who is on the heads (of his subjects)" (This royal title
does not refer directly to the king himself but to his feet, according
to traditions.)
Central Asian Tribes
Thailand same meaning as Raja
Raja denotes royalty in Perak and certain Selangor royal
family lineages, is roughly equivalent to
Prince or Princess; also
King of Nepal, and many Indian states
pre-colonial title for monarchs in the Philippines; equivalent of
"king" (pronounced "RA-ha" due to Spanish influence).
Rao or Maharao
Used in Indian states of Cutch, Kotah and Sirohi
Rawal or Maharawal
Used in northern and western India, Yaduvanshis.
Susuhunan or Sunan
The Indonesian princely state of Surakarta.
Shan, king of Shan, today as a part of Myanmar
Honorific title given throughout the
Islamic regions. Title given to
males accepted as descendants of the
Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Syed/Sharifah in Perlis if suffixed by the royal clan name, is roughly
Prince or Princess.
Title of the ruler of
Japanese military dictator, always a Samurai
Brunei Darussalam, Java, Oman, Malaysia,
Sultan is the title of
seven (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, and
Terengganu) of the nine rulers of the Malay states.
Tengku (also spelled Tunku in Johor), Negeri Sembilan and
Kedah is roughly equivalent to
Prince or Princess
Tennō or Mikado
Title of the ruler of Gondal (India)
Tamil Nadu (India)
Title of the ruler of Kalat (Pakistan)
Pre-Imperial China/Russia. "King" is the usual translation for the
Chinese term wang 王.
The king of Korea that control over all of Korea. It is called
'Im-Geum-nym' or 'Im-Geum'
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Malaysia who is elected every five years by the reigning
kings of the Malaysian constituent states, all of whom also serve as
the only electoral candidates in each of the elections
Emperor of Brazil.
Nahuatl King. The word literally means "speaker", but may be
translated into English as "king"
also known as Apu ("divinity"), Inka Qhapaq ("mighty Inca"), or simply
Sapa ("the only one") was the ruler of the Kingdom of Cusco and later,
Emperor of the Inca
"King" during Mycenaean Greece
Tagavor/Tagouhi or Arqa
Greek term for the Roman and Byzantine Emperors
Romania (Wallachia, Oltenia), medieval
limited use in medieval Bulgaria
"King" in ancient Greece, Thrace, Macedonia, Crimea, Asia Minor.
"Emperor" in the Byzantine Empire. "King" in modern Greece
Welsh for king and queen; used in Wales by the petty kinglets during
the Early Middle Ages. During the High Middle Ages, the kinglets
mediatised into principalities and employed the title
'prince/princess' (tywysog/tywysoges). Brenhines is
the title used in Welsh for Queen
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
Byzantine Empire, Second Bulgarian Empire, Danubian Principalities,
Serbian Despotate (originating from Byzantium)
Romania (Moldova, Wallachia)
Crimean Tartars King
The Ruler of Imperial Russia
Medieval Romanian title "Io" derived from the name of the Bulgarian
Ioan Asen I and
Ioan Asen I
medieval: Hungaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Romania, limited in
Germany and Austria-Hungary
Slavic title in: Bulgaria,
Kievan Rus and Rusia, Great Moravia,
Bohemia, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Lithuania(
Grand Duchy of
Lithuania). Generally translated as "prince" or "duke".
Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia
duke as in
Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In official Old Belarusian
language documentation the title has been
Князь) or grand duke, Vialiki kniaz (Belarusian: Вялікі
King and Queen
Gaelic king. Also Ruiri (regional overking),
Rí ruirech (provincial
king of overkings), and Ard
Bulgaria, pre-imperial Russia, very short in medieval Serbia
Medieval: Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungaria, Romania, Poland
Persian/Iranian and Afghanistan King
Padishah(Ottoman Empire) Han Version of Central Asian Khan Used by
the Ottoman Turks
King of Kings" or Emperor
A title given to Kurdish rulers in
Kurdistan during medieval
King of Ancient Israel (e.g. Saul,
David and Solomon)
Arabic King, (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan)
Arabic Prince, (Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates)
Oman and Ottoman Empire)
Leader of a tribe or clan.
Houʻeiki, matai, aliʻi, tūlafale, tavana, ariki, Patu-iki
Usually translated as "chief" in various Polynesian countries.
Normally translated as King, a title used by Hawaiian monarchs since
unification in 1810. The last person to hold that title was Queen
Tuʻi or Tui
Kings in Oceania: Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, Nauru
Use of titles by non-sovereigns
It is not uncommon that people who are not generally seen as monarchs
nevertheless use monarchical titles. There are at least five cases of
Claiming an existing title, challenging the current holder. This has
been very common historically. For centuries, the British monarch
used, among his other titles, the title
King of France, despite the
fact that he had had no authority over mainland French territory since
the sixteenth century. Other cases include the numerous antipopes who
have claimed the Holy See.
Retaining the title of an extinct monarchy. This can be coupled with a
claim that the monarchy was in fact never, or should never have been,
extinct. An example of the first case is the
Prince of Seborga.
Examples of the second case are several deposed monarchs or otherwise
pretenders to thrones of abolished monarchies, e.g., Leka, Crown
Albania who is styled by some as the "
King of The
Albanians". Retaining the title of an extinct monarchy can, however,
be totally free of claims of sovereignty, for example it was customary
in numerous European monarchies to include "
King of Jerusalem" in
their full titles. When it comes to deposed monarchs, it is customary
to continue the usage of their monarchical title (e.g., Constantine
King of the Hellenes) as a courtesy title, not a constitutional
position, for the duration of their lifetime. However the title then
dies with them and is not used by subsequent heirs or claimants unless
the crown is restored constitutionally. Monarchs who have freely
abdicated are sometimes addressed by a lesser style (although, see
Juan Carlos I of
Spain and Jean, Grand
Duke of Luxembourg. However,
where a monarch abdicated under duress (e.g., Michael I of Romania),
it is usual (especially outside their former realm) to continue to use
their monarchical style for their lifetime as a traditional courtesy.
Inventing a new title. This is common among founders of micronations,
and also may or may not come with a claim of sovereignty, not usually
recognised abroad. A notable example is Paddy Roy Bates, styling
himself the "
Prince of Sealand", but not recognized as such by any
national government, thus failing at least the constitutive condition
for statehood (see Sealand for a fuller discussion of his claims).
Another known example is that of Norton I, who invented the title
Emperor of the United States of America" and later declared himself
"Protector of Mexico".
Usage of a monarchical title by a fictional character. This is common
in fairy tales and other works geared to children, as well as works of
fantasy. Examples include
Princess Leia and
Honorific nicknames in popular music
Honorific nicknames in popular music and other aspects of popular
culture, such as "
King of Rock and Roll",
Count Basie or Emperor
List of current constituent monarchs
List of current sovereign monarchs
List of living former sovereign monarchs
^ "monarch". Oxford Dictionaries. 2014.
^ Webster's II New College Dictionary. Monarch. Houghton Mifflin.
Boston. 2001. p. 707. ISBN 0-395-96214-5
^ Pine, L.G. (1992). Titles: How the
King became His Majesty. New
York: Barnes & Noble. p. 86.
^ SOU 1977:5 Kvinnlig tronföljd, p. 16.
^ Canada: History Archived 2007-02-19 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Ferguson, Will; The Lost Kingdom; Macleans, October 27, 2003[dead
^ The Four Indian Kings
^ L Gomes. 1889: como um imperador cansado, um marechal vaidoso e um
professor injustiçado contribuíram para a o fim da monarquia e
programação da republica no Brasil. Globo Livros. 2013.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
Wordsworth Reference. pp. 943–944.
Girard, Philippe R. (2011). The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon:
Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War of Independence 1801–1804.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press.
Schutt-Ainé, Patricia (1994). Haiti: A Basic Reference Book. Miami,
Florida: Librairie Au Service de la Culture. pp. 33–35, 60.
TiCam (27 September 2006). "17 October: Death of Dessalines".
haitiwebs.com. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
Retrieved 16 October 2006.
Look up monarch or kingship in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
A Glossary of European Noble, Princely, Royal and Imperial Titles
King lists worldwide
African Kingdoms Imperial Throne Leadership and Enthronements