The term "royal family" refers to the immediate family of a monarch (usually a king or queen) who leads a nation in a monarchy government. Monarchy countries have royal families. Traditionally, the royal family includes the ruling monarch, their spouse, their children and grandchildren, any still-living parents, their siblings, and their paternal cousins. Spouses of all immediate family members are also included in the royal family. In addition, aunts, uncles, great-grandchildren (as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II now has), and other descendants may also be considered part of the royal family.
Royal families of the world
Of the 26 monarchies around the world, 12 are in Europe and 10 of those 12 are led by a royal family. This includes well-known royal families such as the Windsors in the United Kingdom and the Grimaldi's in Monaco. However, monarchies in Africa and Asia also have notable royal families, many of whom have captivating stories. For example, Japan's current Emperor Emeritus Akihito broke 2,600 years of tradition in 1959 by marrying his beloved, a commoner named Michiko Shōda, instead of choosing an aristocratic bride from the approved social group. More recently, his granddaughter Princess Mako followed his example and gave up her royal status completely so she could marry the man she loved. Another royal family worthy of mention is Bhutan's photogenic Wangchuck family: King Jihme Singye, Queen Jetsun Pema, and the young princes Jigme Namgyel and Jigme Ugyen, who frequently charm the internet at large via annual calendar appearances and the queen's Instagram account.
List of current royal families in Europe:
- The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gothas - Belgium (King Philippe)
- The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg - Denmark (Queen Margrethe II)
- The House of Liechtenstein - Liechtenstein (Prince Hans-Adam II)
- The House of Luxembourg-Nassau - Luxembourg - Grand Duke Henri
- The House of Grimaldi - Monaco (Prince Albert II)
- The House of Orange-Nassau - Netherlands (King Willem-Alexander)
- The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg - Norway - (King Harald V)
- The House of Borbón-Anjou - Spain (King Felipe VI)
- The House of Bernadotte - Sweden (King Carl XVI Gustaf)
- The House of Windsor - United Kingdom (Queen Elizabeth II)
Which royal family rules over the largest kingdom?
It's a little-known fact in many countries that Queen Elizabeth II, arguably the most well-known monarch globally, is the queen of far more than just the United Kingdom. In fact, the British monarch technically also presides over 15 other countries spread all over the world, including Canada, the Bahamas, and Australia. These countries were all subjected to British rule at one point or another in their history, and although all are now independent sovereign nations, they still maintain at least a ceremonial connection to the British monarchy.