The term "royal family" refers to a king or queen's immediate family that leads a nation in a monarchy form of government. Sometimes, this term may also be used to describe immediate and extended family. Monarchy countries have royal families.
Traditionally, the royal family includes the spouse of the reigning monarch, surviving spouses of deceased monarchs, children, grandchildren, siblings, and paternal cousins. Spouses of all immediate family members are also included in the royal family. Great-grandchildren and other descendants may also be considered part of the royal family.
Of the 26 monarchies around the world, 12 are in Europe. Therefore, there are currently 12 royal families in Europe. Two of the monarchies are elective, and ten are hereditary. Most monarchies in Europe are constitutional monarchies, meaning that the monarchs must exercise their power within limits prescribed in an established legal framework. Liechtenstein and Monaco are semi-constitutional, and Vatican City is a theocratic absolute elective monarchy.
The current monarchs in Europe are:
- Prince Macron of Andorra
- King Philippe of Belgium
- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
- Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein
- Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
- Prince Albert II of Monaco
- King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
- King Harald V of Norway
- King Felipe VI of Spain
- King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
- Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
- Pope Francis of Vatican City
One important thing to note is that Queen Elizabeth II, perhaps the most well-known monarch in the world, is commonly known as the queen of the United Kingdom. However, she is a monarch over the 16 commonwealth realms, which include: