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Were any Kings/Queens who were monarchs as children good rulers?

Were any Kings/Queens who were monarchs as children good rulers?

I am listening to a history of England podcast, and so far (only up to 1405) All the monarchs who started as children have been pitiful leaders.

Are there any (worldwide) that have turned out to be good rulers?

I understand why becoming King at such an early age would be terrible for you, I know if somebody had told 10 year old me "You are queen now" it would have gone straight to my head.

To answer questions: By child I mean those who legally required a regent at the start of their reign. (or were under 12 years old, in principalities that did not legally require regencies)

For the purposes of this question, a "good" monarch is one whose reign was perceived as legitimate. Civil wars, pretenders and other crisis' of legitimacy are indicators that he monarch was not good. Please note in the answer if the monarch was perceived as good by his contemporaries, but would be perceived as especially bad by modern lights (excessive brutality, war, human rights violations, etc.),

I am just reading about Henry III and found this quote from his wiki page

By 1258, Henry's rule was increasingly unpopular, the result of the failure of his expensive foreign policies and the notoriety of his Poitevin half-brothers, the Lusignans, as well as the role of his local officials in collecting taxes and debts. A coalition of his barons, initially probably backed by Eleanor, seized power in a coup d'état and expelled the Poitevins from England, reforming the royal government through a process called the Provisions of Oxford. Henry and the baronial government enacted a peace with France in 1259, under which Henry gave up his rights to his other lands in France in return for King Louis IX recognising him as the rightful ruler of Gascony. The baronial regime collapsed but Henry was unable to reform a stable government and instability across England continued.

EDIT Thank you everyone they were all fascinating reads, but as i am suffering from Brexit, I have to vote for a home grown king James the VI, and I look forward to hearing how my podcaster covers him.

King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England)

The existing answers have not given examples of Kings from British History. James VI became King in Scotland as a baby of 13 months, following the enforced abdication of his Mother, Mary Queen of Scots.

He played a difficult hand well, and avoided the civil wars and discontent that would affect the later Stuart Kings. If we judge him only on his rule of Scotland there would be no doubt of his success as a "good king". He established an effective government in Scotland, by the appointment of talented minister. He took control of the Highland Clans, in a way that would now be seen as despotic, but was effective in its day. He similarly gained control of the Kirk.

In England he managed to prevent civil war between Catholic and Protestant, and between parliamentarian and royalist. Unlike his son, Charles, he negotiated with parliament effectively, and while he faced multiple attempts on his life. The threat of war went down as he managed to control the Hawks in Parliament who were pressing for war with Spain.

His policies maintained the treasury, and supported the cultural development of Britain, and the start of the British Empire in America. It can be argued that he made errors that created problems for his sons and grandsons, but at the end of his reign he was genuinely mourned by people both North and South of the Border.

By comparison with those who came after him (Charles I, II and James II)) and before him (Mary, Edward VI) and in consideration of the tensions that were simmering at the time, he should be considered a "good" king by the criteria in the question.

Sources: Wikipedia, which is based on

  • Croft, Pauline (2003), King James, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-61395-3.

  • Lockyer, Roger (1998), James VI and I, Longman, ISBN 0-582-27961-5

  • Smith, David L. (2003), "Politics in Early Stuart Britain", in Coward, Barry, A Companion to Stuart Britain, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-21874-2

and other sources.

As Mark C. Wallace's comment points, the answer depends on what you see as a good king. However, there are kings who became kings while children and are still regarded as great kings - at least, among the most famous in their countries.

Two examples:

Louis XIV of France: king at 4 years old, declared to have reached the age of majority (and regency ended) at 13 years old.

James I of Aragon: king at 5 years old. Still the most important king of Aragon - at least from a Catalan perspective.

Edit to address the comment that Louis XIV was not so good:

If Louis XIV wasn't good at his job because he inherited the most powerful richest and most populous kingdom in Europe and left it in way poorer state (which is a good point), then credit should go to the previous king, his father Louis XIII who would then make a better answer to the question, since he also became king as a child (at 9 years old).

Peter the Great of Russia took the throne at age 10, and Ivan the Terrible (who was terrifying, not incompetent) became Prince of Moscow at age 3. Both of them were successful at centralizing power, modernizing the country and conquering its neighbors. Ivan did a lot of other things that we'd consider bad today, and Peter survived several power struggles in his childhood.

In contrast, the worst thing you could say about Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who became Queen at age 10, is that she was forced into exile by the Nazi occupation, which I suppose is a “crisis of legitimacy.” Of course, a modern constitutional monarch before the era of tabloids, much less social media, had a much easier job than an absolute monarch.

There were a couple of notable pharaohs:

  • Thutmose III, born 1481 BC, reigned 1479-1425 BC, was only about 2 year old when he became pharaoh. His co-regent was his stepmother Hatshepsut, but she continued as co-ruler / pharaoh until her death when Thutmose was 22 years old. According to Wikipedia, Thutmose is "Widely considered a military genius by historians".
  • Amenhotep III, born about 1388 BC, regnal dates are disputed but he was probably around 6 to 12 years old when he became pharaoh. His reign "was a period of unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendour, when Egypt reached the peak of its artistic and international power."

In Iran,

  • Shapur II, born 309 AD, reigned 309-379 AD, was an infant who became Iran's longest reigning monarch. "His reign saw the military resurgence of the country, and the expansion of its territory, which marked the start of the first Sassanian golden era."

For Pontus,

  • Mithridates VI, born 134 BC, reigned 120-63 BC, was 14 years old. "Mithridates is remembered as one of the Roman Republic's most formidable and successful enemies,"

In Europe,

  • David II, born 1324, King of Scotland from 1329 to 1371, was 5 years old. His reign had its ups and downs but "By the time of his death, the Scottish monarchy was stronger, and the kingdom and royal finances more prosperous than might have seemed possible."
  • Edward III, born 1312, reigned 1327-77, was 14 years old when he became king with Roger Mortimer as the effective ruler. In 1330, the young king seized power and had Mortimer executed. "Edward III transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His long reign of 50 years was the second longest in medieval England and saw vital developments in legislation and government"

A child monarch generally has to have a Regency period, where someone else actually wields all the powers of state in their behalf, until they reach adulthood and can reasonably be expected to do it themselves. The thing about regencies is that, historically, they tend to have a pretty bad track record keeping their charge alive.

A regent (essentially acting King, and thus above the law) already has little incentive to hand over all that sweet, sweet power. Adding to the equation an heir with a strong personality (and thus likely to completely take over from their regents immediately upon majority), and the incentive drops to near zero. So natural selection would favor weak rulers surviving their regencies.

I can't find a good source for child monarchs/regencies, but a quick proxy would be to begin with the list of longest serving monarchs (on the grounds that (a) it is much more likely that a long serving monarch will have started earlier in life, and (b) permitting the ruler to endure on the throne indicates that his contemporaries felt his rule was "good".)

  • Sobhuza of Swaziland has a notable absence of derogatory comments, but is modern. OP didn't limit the question to pre-modern, but I think it should be; the challenges of a modern monarch are distinctly different from the pre-modern monarch.

  • Bernard of Lieppe, known as "the Bellicose". That nickname would probably qualify him as "good" to his contemporaries, but "bad" to our contemporaries.

  • William IV Princely count of Henneberg-Schleusingen qualifies on the second ground above - he inherited at 5 years old and reigned for 80 years. For 80 years his subjects couldn't find a better alternative, so he must have been a good ruler.

  • K'inich Janaab Pakal of Mexico

    During a reign of 68 years, the longest known regnal period in the history of the Americas, the 30th longest worldwide and longest until Frederick III in the 15th century, Pakal was responsible for the construction or extension of some of Palenque's most notable surviving inscriptions and monumental architecture.

It might also be useful to consider the full list of regencies.

Well, this is somewhat of a technicality, but Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was under a regency for a few months after his father had died, before being declared of age at 17 years old. Even if there are those who have questioned his decision to enter the Thirty Year's War, there is no doubt that he brought Sweden from being on the brink of military catastrophe to one of the most powerful nations in Europe, that he modernized government and helped revolutionize military tactics, or that the entry in the War was a permanent turning point for the protestant cause.

As far as I know, there were no rebellions during his reign; he even managed to have good working relationships with the sons of nobles that had been executed by his father. After his death in battle, he was granted the epithet "the Great" by the Swedish estates (though it is almost never used). For a long time, he was perhaps the main figure in Swedish nationalism, and almost a sort of protestant saint.

Less of a technicality, Charles XI of Sweden later inherited the Empire that Gustavus Adolphus had helped create. After being embroiled in the Franco-Dutch war, which nearly lost him large parts of the German and former Danish possessions, he set out to reform the realm, centralizing power to himself, reducing the lands of the nobles, strengthening the military, and attempting to unify the laws. Despite harsh treatment of the population of the former Danish and Norwegian provinces, he did succeed in incorporating them in Sweden, politically and culturally.

While less admired than some other Swedish kings, Charles XI:s reign saw the longest peace for over 150 years, and while his reforms ultimately proved to have been less than what was needed, they did give Sweden a fighting chance in the Great Northern War, which broke out after his death. Charles also enjoyed a place in legend as an unusually just king, who would travel the land in disguise to right wrongs.


For a general work on Sweden's 17th century, I'd recommend the fourth volume of Sveriges Historia. For the life of Gustavus Adolphus, Sverker Oredsson's Gustav II Adolf is useful. For Charles XI, Göran Rystads Karl XI is good.

A hands-down yes for the Kangxi Emperor of Qing-dynasty China. He became nominal Emperor at age 7 and had a 6-year regency; then ruled directly from age 13 to his death in his late 60s.

His reign was considered one of the most prosperous and productive periods in Chinese history, and (unlike the Louis XIV example) it unquestionably extended to future generations, with his grandson the Qianlong Emperor having an equally long and prosperous rule.

Kangxi himself was enthroned on only the 17th year of the Qing dynasty (a tumultuous 17 years, since he was the 4th Qing emperor). His early achievements include consolidating that dynasty and suppressing the remaining Ming loyalists.

In addition to military success, over the span of his rule he doubled the contents of the national treasury while also managing to lower taxation, sponsored creation of a tremendously important comprehensive dictionary of Chinese (among other scholarly patronage), absorbed (through Jesuit contacts) Western knowledge without falling prey to colonialism, and dramatically reorganized the government to reduce corruption by intervening-level officials.

While among Qing royalty Qianlong might be his superior in influence and importance, Kangxi laid the foundations for the best 150 years of the dynasty and was indisputably an exceptional ruler.

One successful child ruler from Israel was King Josiah of Judah, who took the throne at the age of 8. He succeeded his father Amon, who was assassinated after reigning for only two years. Josiah reigned 31 years, and completely reformed the religious system in Israel according to the Law of God. The book of 2 Kings records about him “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” (Note: King David was his distant ancestor, and often the king by which others were judged.) The text doesn't describe any contest to his reign, nor any opposition to leading Israel back to God.

Josiah died while opposing King Necho II of Egypt.

I believe I will focus on the Eastern Kings and Emperors since the other answers provide ample information on the Western side.

Shapur II of Persia:

When his father Hormazd II died, he was still in his mother, the Empress Dowager Ifra Hormizd's womb. His elder brother Prince Adur Narseh inherited the throne.

As a result of revolts and conspiracy by nobles against cruelty of the Emperor, Shah Adur Narseh was murdered, his second brother was blinded, third was imprisoned but escaped to Roman Empire. Bereft of any other option, Lords of Persia turned to the unborn Shapur II.

The crown of Persian Empire was placed on his pregnant mother's pudenda as per the legend and throne was reserved for the unborn child. (That is disputed by some historians given that sex of the child could not be known and if it was a girl, she couldn't take the throne). So he is presumably the only monarch in the world who was crowned in utero and was born an Emperor unlike other Princes.

Until he was deemed to have come of age (16 years), Nobles effectively ran the Empire in capacity of regents.

The unborn child would go on to rule for seventy years, longest reign of any Persian Emperor and become one of the Greatest Emperors of Persia. His reign is considered the most illustrious in Persian history.

He did however adopt a policy of persecuting Christians when Constantine the Great of Roman Empire converted to Christianity, fearing that Christians might take over the Persian Empire too. He was neverthless generous towards the Jews and other minorities.

Mehmed II the Conqueror of Ottoman Empire:

Mehmed II, famously known as the Conqueror or Fatih Sultan, first ascended to the throne at the age of 12 when his father Murad II abdicated the throne and retired to spend the rest of his days in Anatolian countryside.

Sensing potential weakness in the Ottoman Empire with a boy at helm, The Western European powers launched another Crusade, as the Papal representative Cardinal Julian Cesarini had convinced the European powers that breaking a truce made with Muslims was not a sin. Mehmet called his father back from the retirement who refused. Upon which, Mehmet penned another angry letter saying:

If you're the Sultan, come and lead your armies. If I am the Sultan, I command you to come and lead my armies.

At this, Murad II returned and defeated the European powers at Varna. After that, Murad II assumed the throne again and reigned till his death. Thus began the second reign of Mehmet II which saw rapid expansion of Ottoman Empire and ultimate defeat of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Akbar the Great of Mughal Empire

Akbar was the third Mughal Emperor, grandson to Babur and son to Humayun and a scion of the House of Timur (Patrilineally) and Genghis Khan (Matrilineally).

He was born in exile when his father was deposed by the Usurper Sher Shah Suri. After the usurper died and chaos followed the succession of his son Islam Shah Suri, the deposed Emperor Humayun took advantage of the situation and reconquered Delhi with the aid of Persian Shah Tahmasp I. A few months later Emperor Humayun died and 14 years old Akbar ascended to the throne. He was however deemed too young to rule as yet and his tutor, Bairam Khan ruled as regent until he came of age.

Akbar's reign saw absolute domination of the Mughal Empire over India and the young Emperor was never beaten in field. He ultimately became one of the three or four people who managed to bring most of Indian subcontinent under one Empire. His achievements were not just military, he encouraged scientific innovations and their application in warfare, created a huge library including Sanskirit, Persian, Greek, Arabic and Latin works, formed legal and cultural foundations of Mughal Empire, won the loyalty of his majority non-Muslim subjects through respect, tolerance, abolishment of jizya, equal employment opportunities, took the Indian economy to new heights.

He reigned for nearly half a century and is without a doubt the greatest Emperor House of Timur ever produced.

Al-Hakim Bi Amr Allah of Fatimid Caliphate:

Now this here is a controversial entry. If there ever was a man who was equal parts good and equal parts evil, that would be him.

He was born in Cairo to Caliph Al-Aziz. When he was 11, his father fell sick on return trip from Syria where he had been to visit the Frontlines against the Eastern Roman Empire. His father passed away within hours of seeing his heir for the last time and 11 years old Prince Abu Ali Mansur was proclaimed "By the grace of God, Caliph of the Prophet, Commander of the Faithful and Sultan of Egypt, Syria and Maghreb" by the court and took the regnal name Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (Meaning Ruler by the decree of God).

As long as the Caliph was underage, his tutor Barjawan, the Qadi and Berber leader Ibn Ammar were going to act as a regency council as per his father's will. But the first challenge soon presented itself when Berbers demanded concessions and offices from the young Caliph, who obliged them. Their leader Ibn Ammar effectively took the role of the sole regent as the first Wastija (Intermediary between the Caliph and Administration) and tyranny ensued. Barjawan soon attracted Ibn Ammar's rivals among the Berber military leaders and successfully deposed him. As long as Barjawan lived, he maintained a balance between all the military and civil factions in the Caliph's name as regent.

Following Barjawan's murder, the 15 years old Caliph took personal command of the government and began a purge of the Fatimid elites which saw wholesale murders of Ibn Ammar and other troublesome yet powerful Berber leaders. He also limited the number of years one could remain in the office of Vizier or Wastija to curb the power of nobles and increase his own powers.

Now he had brought the situation under control and the Fatimids started expanding again. But that only created more problems. Baghdad Manifesto happened. It was a declaration made by Twelver-Shia and Sunni genealogists who testified on behest of Sunni Abbasid Caliph Al-Qadir (Rivals of Fatimids) that Fatimids were in fact not descended from the sacred line of Ali and Fatimah, they were in fact descended from a Jew. Al-Qadir had hoped to halt the Fatimid spiritual and military expansion via this declaration and it harmed Fatimid prestige considerably.

Even on the home front, tensions started simmering again. Turk and Berber armies were once again at each other's throats, Sunnis started launching attacks on Ismaili communities in North Africa. However the Caliph managed to keep the armies from an outright civil war and did not lose any lands in the West. To counter the growing enemies, Al-Hakim launched a fierce diplomatic campaign with which he cultivated friendly ties with powerful Eastern Roman Empire and even as far as the Song Emperors of China.

Other than facing his foes both on home front and abroad competitively, he is also infamous for persecution of Christians, Jews and ruthlessness he showed to all his foes in general. He is also famous for making Cairo the world's centre of culture and learning, with most important contributions being building the famous "House of Knowledge" and putting extra emphasis on education of his subjects.

He died young at the age of 36 in possible assassination. He went out for his regular journeys to the hills outside Cairo and never came back. A search turned up only blood stained clothing. He had become obsessed with asceticism before that so it is also possible that he may have left the Kingdom of his own accord.

Some people hated him and called him mad, some people loved him to the point that they considered him a living God (Not figuratively, literally).

IMHO the only way for you to get an answer to your question to look at lists of rulers who came to the throne as children and try to see what their historical reputations are.

In Scotland the monarchs who inherited as children or teenagers were:

Malcolm IV "The Maiden" 1141-1165, became king 1153 aged 12.

Alexander II 1198-1249, became king 1214 aged 16.

Alexander III 1241-1286, became king 1249 age 7.

Margaret "The Maid of Norway" 1183-1290, became queen 1286 age 3.

David II Bruce 1324-1371, became king 1329 age 5.

James I Stewart 1394-1437, became king 1406 age 11.

James II Stewart 1430-1460, became king 1437 age 6.

James III Stewart 1451-1488, became king 1460 age 9.

James IV Stewart 1473-1513, became king 1488 age 15.

James V Stewart 1512-1542, became king 1513 age 1.

Mary Stuart 1542-1587, became queen 1542 age 6 days.

James VI Stewart 1566-1625, became king 1566 age 1.

The more or less official foundation of the kingdom of England was in 927.

Monarchs who came to the throne as children and teenagers were:

Edmund I c. 921-946, became king 939 age about 18.

Eadwig c. 940-959, became king 955 aged about 15.

Edgar the Peaceful c. 943-975, became king 959 aged about 16.

St. Edward the Martyr c. 962-978, became king aged about 13.

Aethelred II the Unready c.968-1016, became king 978 age about 9 or 10, ready or not.

Edgar II Aetheling c. 1051-c.1126, the rightful heir of the Anglo-Saxon kings, he was chosen king in October 1066 aged about 15 but submitted to William the Conqueror in December.

Henry III 1207-1272, became king 1216 age 9.

Edward III 1312-1377, became king 1327 age 14.

Richard II 1367-1400, became king 1377 age 10.

Henry VI 1421-1471, became king the first time age 9 months.

Edward IV 1442-1483, became king the first time age 18.

Edward V 1470-1483?, became king age 12.

Henry VIII Tudor 1491-1547, became king 1509 age 17.

Edward VI 1537-1553, became king 1547 age 9.

Jane 1536/37-1554, became Queen 1553 age about 15 or 16.

Theses two lists may be a big enough sample to decide whether there are any particular trends among monarchs who begin their reigns as children.

Here is another list, monarchs of France from 843.

Louis III (863/65-882, became king 879 aged 13 to 16.

Carloman II (c. 866-884), became joint king age about 12 or 13, sole king age 15 or 16.

Charles III the Simple (879-929), became rival king 893 age 13 or 14, sole king 898 age 18 or 19, deposed in 922.

Louis IV From Overseas (920/21-954), became king 936 age about 15.

Lothair (941-986) became king 954 age 13.

Philip I (1052-1108), became king 1060 age 8.

Louis VII (1120-1180) The young, became king 1137 age 17.

Philip II (1165-1223) Augustus, became king 1180 age 15.

Louis IX (1214-1270), became king 1226 age 12.

Philip IV (1268-1314), became king 1285 age 17.

John I (1316) lived and reigned for 5 days.

Charles VI (1368-1422), became king 1380 age 11.

Charles VIII (1470-1498), became king age 13.

Francis II (1544-1560), became king 1559. age 15.

Charles IX (1550-1574), became king 1560 age 10.

Louis XIII (1603-1643) became king 1610 age 8.

Louis XIV (1638-1715), became king 1643 age 4.

Louis XV (1710-1774), became king 1715 age 5.

Louis XVII (1785-1795), became king in the eyes of royalists 1793 age 7.

Napoleon II (1811-1832), became titular emperor from 4 to 6 April, 1814, age 3, and from 22 June to 7 July 1815 age 4.

Henry V (1820-1883), became king 2 August to 9 August 1830 age 9.

Or you could look at lists of the best and the worst monarchs in history and see what what ages they became monarchs.

Although not a King or Queen, Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Thondup), the 14th Dalai Lama, seems to have done reasonably well. He was formally enthroned in 1940, at the age of 4, and took up his full range of duties in 1950, at the age of 15.

What about Alexander the Great?

Succeeded his father to the throne at the age of 16* 20.

As others stated, it's hard to tell what is "good at the job", but I think it's also hard to say alexander was a "failure at the job".

*Edit: as @LangLangC noted, I provided incorrect information. Alexander the Great was succeeded his father to the throne at the age of 20. I guess it's not count as child anymore and doesn't answer the question.

Gustav II Adolf of Sweden comes to mind, but may not meet your definition of becoming king as a child. Crowned at the age of 16, officially took the throne at 17, his leadership made Sweden one of the major powers of the Thirty Years War and set the stage for the advance of the Swedish Empire.

He is generally regarded as one of the greatest military leaders of his time, and his innovative integration of all the aspects of warfare at the time (infantry, cavalry, artillery, and logistics) has earned him recognition as the 'Father of Modern Warfare' among military scholars. His involvement in the First Battle of Breitenfeld was a significant contributing factor to what would become the first major Protestant victory of the Thirty Years War.

He also made significant political reforms that enabled the advancement of the Swedish Empire, including changes to the census system that allowed for more efficient taxation and conscription, and numerous other changes that transformed the Swedish economy and culture from something resembling the late medieval era to a modern (well, modern by mid 17th century standards) form over the course of only a few decades.

If Louis XIV belongs on the list of counterexamples to the OP's claim, then not only does Louis XIII, as has been pointed out by others, but surely also:

Philip II Augustus (acceded age 15, though no regency--in fact he was crowned at 14 a year before his father's death and basically served as regent for his ailing father, which doubtless eased the transition) who is called "Augustus" for basically creating the state that Louis XIV identified with himself, who brought the English to their knees and invaded (without which invasion the English monarchy would likely have been able to shelve Magna Carta), and broke the Welfs at Bouvines; and

his grandson Saint Louis IX (acceded age 12, under the Regency of his mother Blanche of Castile), the "arbiter of Europe", a great patron of the arts, co-patron of the Franciscan Order, after whom the French call the 13th century "the golden century of Saint Louis". (Incidentally Louis IX is the most recent common patrilineal ancestor of all subsequent French kings.)

The 5 Most Hilariously Insane Rulers of All Time

The boring thing about modern democracy is that we almost never elect truly crazy people. Oh, sure, we'll vote in somebody with mild eccentricities or sexual appetites, and we may refer to some extremist as "crazy," but back when rulers took the throne based only on their bloodline, a nation could wind up under the fist of someone who was literally "howl naked at the moon" insane.

Don't get us wrong -- we're sure it was a nightmare for everyone involved. But it does make for hilarious stories down the line.


The House of Plantagenet had its origins in a cadet branch of the original counts of Anjou, the dynasty established by Fulk I of Anjou at the beginning of the tenth century. The Plantagenet dynasty ruled England for over three hundred years, from 1154 -1485. They were a remarkable family, providing England with fourteen of its kings.

The surname Plantagenet, which was to become one of the most famous in England, seems to have derived from a nickname adopted by Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, the father of Henry II and refers to his habit of wearing a sprig of broom or planta genista in his helmet.

The dynasty produced such varied characters as the energetic Henry II, arguably one of England's greatest monarchs and his legendary son, Richard the Lionheart, who led the Third Crusade against Saladin into the Holy Land. The highly aesthetic Henry III and his son, the indomitable Edward I, who conquered Wales and became known as the Hammer of the Scots for his campaigns into that country, where he fought William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, the most famous of Scotland's sons, and Henry V, the conqueror of France, who bequeathed the diadems of both countries to his pious and ineffectual son, Henry VI.

The Plantagenets, described by Bacon as "a race much dipped in their own blood" finally destroyed themselves in the bloody dynastic struggle we know of as the Wars of the Roses. The later Plantagenets became divided into the Houses of Lancaster and York which descended through different sons of King Edward III. The Yorkist king Richard III was the last of his house, when he was killed in battle on Bosworth Field, to be displaced by the Tudors, it was the end of an era. The male line of the Plantagenets became extinct with the execution in 1499 of Edward, Earl of Warwick, the son of George, Duke of Clarence, in the reign of Henry VII, the first Tudor.

The Scandinavian countries are all constitutional monarchies with a king or queen whose role as head of state is mostly symbolic. In addition to serving in ceremonial capacities at home, the monarch – along with other members of the royal family – represents the country internationally, while actual political decisionmaking is in the hands of an elected legislature (which in all three Scandinavian countries is unicameral) and a government headed by a prime minister.

Alongside their roles as representatives of their respective countries, members of the Scandinavian royal families have also taken an active interest in various social and global issues, establishing charities and serving as spokespeople for different causes. Although discussions about abolishing the monarchies continue to arise, for now the Scandinavian royals all appear to be sitting quite securely on their thrones.


Norway’s current monarch is King Harald V (born 1937), who came to the throne in 1991 upon the death of his father, King Olav V. King Harald and Queen Sonja (née Haraldsen) have two children, Princess Märtha Louise (born in 1971) and Crown Prince Haakon Magnus (born in 1973). Although Crown Prince Haakon is the younger child of King Harald, he takes precedence over his sister because of the order of succession in place at the time of his birth. This law was amended in 1990 to allow the eldest child to inherit the throne regardless of sex, but the change was not made retroactive.

King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Photo copyright Sølve Sundsbø / Det kongelige hoff

In 2001, Crown Prince Haakon caused a stir by marrying Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, a single mother with a controversial past. However, their marriage has been a great success, and as Crown Princess Mette-Marit has managed to win the hearts of much of the Norwegian population. The couple have two children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra (born 2004), who is second in line to the throne after her father, and Prince Sverre Magnus (born 2005). Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s son from a previous relationship, Marius Borg Høiby, is part of the royal family but does not have a title.

The Norwegian monarchy has roots as far back as the year 890, when Harald Hårfagre established the Kingdom of Norway. During much of its history Norway was in a union first with Denmark (1380-1814) and then with Sweden (1814-1905). When the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, Norwegians chose as their own king Prince Carl of Denmark, a member of the Glücksburg family. The grandfather of the current king, he took the name Haakon VII and reigned for nearly 52 years, becoming particularly admired for his strong stance against the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Photo copyright Peter Knutson / Kungahuset.se


The present monarch of Sweden is Carl XVI Gustaf, who came to the throne in 1973 at the age of 27. He succeeded his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf, since his own father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, had died in a plane crash in 1947, when Carl Gustaf was less than a year old. In 1976 King Carl Gustaf married the German-Brazilian Silvia Sommerlath, whom he met at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Although there was some initial resistance to the idea of a commoner queen, the Swedish press and public quickly warmed to Silvia, even going so far as to credit her with reviving the popularity of the monarchy.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia have three children, Crown Princess Victoria (born 1977), Prince Carl Philip (born 1979), and Princess Madeleine (born 1981). At the time of his birth, Prince Carl Philip was first in line to the throne, but he retained his place as Crown Prince for only seven months. In 1980, a law was passed establishing absolute primogeniture and making this change retroactive, giving Victoria, as the eldest child, the position of Crown Princess.

Over the years, Crown Princess Victoria has triumphed over difficulties such as dyslexia (a challenge her father and siblings have also faced) and anorexia, emerging as a confident heir-apparent and – according to recent polls – the most popular member of the royal family. In 2010, she married her longtime boyfriend, gym owner Daniel Westling, who has assumed his new role as Prince Daniel with grace. Their first child, Princess Estelle, was born in 2012 and is second in line to the throne after Victoria. A son, Prince Oscar, was born in 2016.

Crown Princess Victoria with her husband, Prince Daniel, and their children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. Photo copyright Anna Lena Ahlström / Kungahuset.se

Although the Swedish monarchy has a long history, dating back many centuries, the current royal family of Sweden descends from Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, a Marshal of France in Napoleon’s army, who was elected Crown Prince of Sweden in 1810. The Swedish king at the time, Karl XIII, was childless, and with Napoleon controlling much of Europe, the Swedes decided to adopt an heir acceptable to the emperor. After acting as regent for eight years, Bernadotte inherited the throne in 1818 and took the name Karl XIV Johan. He reigned until 1844 and was succeeded by his son, Oscar I.

Because Sweden and Norway were in a union at the time of Karl XIV Johan’s accession, he also became King of Norway, where he was known as Karl III Johan. The House of Bernadotte reigned in both countries until the dissolution of the union in 1905, when the Norwegians chose Haakon VII to be their king. Although a member of the Glücksburg dynasty, Haakon VII was also a Bernadotte through his mother, Queen Lovisa (Louise), a great-granddaughter of Karl XIV Johan. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and King Harald V of Norway are also second cousins once removed through King Harald’s mother, Crown Princess Märtha, born a princess of Sweden.


Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II is the country’s first female monarch since her namesake, Margrethe I, who united the three Scandinavian countries in the Kalmar Union, died in 1412. Born in 1940, Margrethe is the eldest daughter of King Frederik IX and his wife, Queen Ingrid of Sweden. Through her mother, Margrethe is a first cousin of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf she is also a second cousin of Norway’s King Harald V, whose grandfather was a prince of Denmark.

At the time of Margrethe’s birth, only males were allowed to inherit the throne of Denmark however, after it became apparent that King Frederik was unlikely to have any sons, a constitutional amendment was passed allowing women to inherit. Margrethe thus became Crown Princess in 1953, a few weeks before her 13th birthday. She ascended the throne in January 1972.

In 1967, Margrethe married a French diplomat, Count Henri de Laborde de Montepezat, who was given the more Danish-sounding title Prince Henrik. The couple have two sons, Crown Prince Frederik (born 1968) and Prince Joachim (born 1969). In 2004, Crown Prince Frederik married an Australian, Mary Elizabeth Donaldson (now Crown Princess Mary) the couple have four children, Prince Christian (born 2005), Princess Isabella (born 2007), and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine (born 2011). Prince Henrik died in February 2018.

Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik with (back row, from left) Crown Princess Mary, Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Joachim, and the latter’s wife, Princess Marie. Photo by Steen Brogaard / Kongehuset.dk

The Danish monarchy is among the oldest in the world, having been in continuous existence for over 1,100 years. The current royal house, the House of Glücksburg, has reigned since 1863, when Christian IX came to the throne. He reigned for 43 years and was known as the “Father-in-Law of Europe” due to his children’s marriages to foreign princes and princesses. The Danish royal family is thus closely related not only to the other Scandinavian monarchies but also to many other European royal houses.

Rogues Gallery

Edward I also known as &apos&aposLongshanks&apos&apos and &apos&aposHammer of the scots&apos&apos.

Henry VIII. The worst of the lot?

The young Princess Mary Tudor, soon to be &apos&aposBloody Mary.&apos&apos

Young Richard II at his coronation. So followed 100 years of war.

History Of The Black Kings And Queens Who Ruled Europe

“Moor” is an anglicized word for ‘Omoros (omo oro) meaning ‘children of light’ and can be further translated as ’sons of civilization’. The Moors colonized Europe for 400 years and helped to bring modern civilization to them.

The Moors were originally Africans, and they first arrived in Europe, in Andalusia Spain in 711 AD. This army led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from northern Africa and invaded the Iberian Peninsula. They conquered the whole of Spain and subsequently forced part of Italy into subjugation.

These Black Moors ruled Spain for an initial period of 300 years and then expanded into Europe, subjecting much of the continent for altogether 700 years.

Basil Davidson, a British historian, records that there were no lands in the 8th century that were more admired by its neighbors, or a more comfortable place to live in, than a rich African civilization built up in Spain.

The writer Shakespeare wrote about these people in his plays Othello, Corielanus, As you like it, etc. The best-known books of the moors are found mainly in German. It is believed that the English either altered their version or simply destroyed the books. But the Moors who ruled Europe from Spain ruled England as well and offered Jews their protection until the civil war between Moors of Arab descendency and the African Moors.

One of the major Moorish tribes called Beni M-eri was greatly weakened by the devastating nature of the war to the point that they fell prey to the resurgent Christian forces led by Queen Isabel, Ferdinand, and Pope Benedict the Sixth.

The terms of surrender in 1485 were not favorable to the moors and when they surrendered Alhambra they began to depart from Spain. Their impact and size of their history in Europe are so staggering that it is understandable why Europe chose to ignore it completely. Europe didn’t achieve much outside the impact of the Moors. The civilization called Europe, its stock market and culture of precision is merely a leftover of these Moors.

The civilization controlled the Red sea and the surrounding Mediterranean, including West Africa where their monopoly of gold possibly came from. It is now known that the Gold Coast which is mostly Ghana, is a country existing in Moorish maps at least before 1300. The Spaniards who eventually went to West Africa were solely looking for the Gold Coast.

Moorish-Spain had universal education, available to all, while ninety-nine percent of the population in Christian Europe were illiterate, and even kings could neither read nor write. At that time, there were only two universities in Europe whereas the Moors had seventeen great universities located in Almeria, Granada, Cordova, Juen, Seville, Malaga, and Toledo.

Paper was introduced by the Moors to Europe. Also, Arabic numerals were introduced replacing the clumsy Roman system. The Moorish rulers lived in splendid palaces, a sharp contrast to the monarchs of Germany, France, and England who dwelt in big barns, without windows and chimneys, and with only a hole in the roof serving as a smoke exit.

Alhambra in Granada is one of such Moorish palaces. The palace is today a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered as one of Spain’s architectural masterpieces. Alhambra used to be the seat of Muslim rulers from the 13th century to the end of the 15th century.

The new knowledge of China, India, and Arabia reached Europe through Africa. It was the Moors who brought the Compass from China into Europe. Córdova, the heart of Moorish territory in Spain, at its height was the most modern city in all of Europe.

It had well-paved streets with raised sidewalks for pedestrians. At night time, ten miles of streets were well illuminated by lamps. This was hundreds of years before Paris had a paved street or London had a street lamp! Cordova had 900 public baths – a poor Moor would go without bread rather than soap!

Despite the fact that Spanish rulers across different generations have tried to expunge this era from historical records, recent archeology and scholarship have now shed new light on the Moors who flourished in Al-Andalus for over 700 years, from 711 AD until 1492. It has been established that the Moorish advances in mathematics, astronomy, art, and agriculture helped propel Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.

The gold dealers of Spain were the real moguls, while gold was in seriously short supply in Europe, the moors draped themselves with gold. After their defeat in great numbers, they returned to West and North Africa where they collapsed as a people and were never heard off again.

It is recorded in Spanish history that over 500 thousand of these people left Spain by boat within a space of half a century beginning from about 1450. 400 thousand then left after 1492. Today, that record is mistaken as a record of the slave trade given the number of records available for carracks traveling from Spain to West Africa.

The intriguing question is why would Spain permit the landing of 500 thousand Africans at the same time that Spanish Christians and their royalty were asking 150 thousand Jews to leave Spain? As of then, the black Muslim population of Spain was up to a million and the Caribbean Island was not taken by Spain until the late 17 century. The best books about the Moors are also available in French and other languages of Europe saving English.

In the rest of Europe, Moorish influences could be seen in Ireland where an African king named Gormund ruled during the Anglo-Saxon period. In Norway, Halfdan the Black was the first Africoid king to unite the country. The black huns were described as a fierce barbaric race of Asiatic nomads who led by Attila, ravaged Europe in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D.

Southwestern Europe was dominated by African Moors during the Middle Ages for 700 years: 711-1492 A.D. The darkened whites in this area, especially Portugal was the first example of a Negrito (African) republic in Europe. In Scotland, the Moors ruled the country in the 10th century and mixed with whites until the black skin color disappeared.

Belowis a Galary of Pictures, Illustrations, Family Crests and Coat of Arns of some Black families that ruled Europe. Source

Were any Kings/Queens who were monarchs as children good rulers? - History

The Normans were descendants of Vikings who had settled by force in North East France around the mouth of the Seine River. The land they occupied became known as Normandy. (The name Normandy comes from the French normand, meaning Norsemen and Normans)

  • King William I, the Conqueror 1066 - 1087
  • King Henry I 1100 - 1135
  • King Stephen 1135 - 1154
  • (Empress Matilda 1141)

King William I, the Conqueror 1066 - 1087

      • Age 38-59
      • Born: September 1028 at Falaise, Normandy
      • Parents: Robert I, Duke of Normandy, and Arlette daughter of Fulbert (illegitimate)
      • Ascended to the throne: 25 December 1066 aged 38 years
      • Crowned: 25 December 1066 at Westminster Abbey
      • Married: His cousin Matilda, Daughter of Count of Flanders and granddaughter of the King of France
      • Children: 4 sons including William II and Henry I, and 6 daughters
      • Died: 9 September 1087 at Rouen, France, aged 59 years
      • Buried at: St Stephens Abbey, Caen, Normandy
      • Succeeded by: his son William I

      The Norman Duke, William was friendly with English King, Edward the Confessor and attacked England on Edwards death because he had been promised the English crown by Edward but denied it by the Saxon Harold.

      Defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

      In 1085 the Domesday Survey was begun and all England was recorded so William knew exactly what his new kingdom contained. The Domesday Book was, in effect, the first national census.

      The Domesday Book

      William ruled simultaneously in both England and parts of France. This set the scene for regular land battles over territory in France for the next 500 years.

      When William died his lands were divided between his eldest two sons. Robert inherited Normandy, while William became king of England.

      King William II, Rufus 1087 - 1100

      • Age about 27-40
      • Born: c.1056 at Normandy
      • Parents: William I and Matilda of Flanders
      • Ascended to the throne: 9 September 1087
      • Crowned: 26 September 1087 at Westminster Abbey
      • Married: Unmarried
      • Children: None
      • Died: 2 August 1100 at New Forest, Hampshire
      • Buried at: Winchester
      • Succeeded by: his brother Henry

      He was called William Rufus or William the Red because of the reddish colour of his hair and complexion.

      William died out hunting in the New Forest in mysterious circumstances with an arrow in his back. No one knows if it was deliberate or an accident but what is known is that Rufus was very unpopular, so many people think he may have been murdred.

      The Rufus Stone in The New Forest marks the spot where he fell.

      King Henry I 1100 - 1135

      • Age 31-67
      • Born: September 1068 at Selby, Yorkshire
      • Parents: William I and Matilda of Flanders
      • Ascended to the throne: 3 August 1100 aged 31 years
      • Crowned: 6 August 1100 at Westminster Abbey
      • Married: (1) Edith (Matilda), Daughter of Malcolm III Scotland
        (2) Adelicia, Daughter of Geoffrey VII, count of Louvain
      • Children: Daughter Matilda, son William, and reputedly around 20 illegitimate children
      • Died: 2 December 1135 at St Denis le Fermont, Normandy, aged 67 years
      • Buried at: Reading
      • Succeeded by: his nephew Stephen

      King of England and Normandy

      Henry was the fourth and youngest son of William I. His two sons were drowned so his daughter Matilda was made his successor. However, when Henry died the Council considered a woman unfit to rule so offered the throne to Stephen, a grandson of William I.

      This plunged England into civil war as the country was divided over Henry's plans for his daughter Matilda to take the throne as the first ever Queen of England.

      King Stephen 1135 - 1154

      • Age about 38-57
      • Born: c.1097 at Blois, France
      • Parents: Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela (daughter of William I)
      • Ascended to the throne: 22 December 1135
      • Crowned: 26 December 1135 at Westminster Abbey
      • Married: Matilda, Daughter of Eustace III, Count of Boulogne
      • Children: 3 sons and 2 daughters, plus at least 5 illegitimate children
      • Died: 25 October 1154 at Dover, Kent
      • Buried at: Faversham, Kent
      • Succeeded by: his 2nd cousin Henry II

      King of England from 1135.

      Nephew of Henry I and grandson of William l. He was elected king in 1135, although he had previously recognised Henry I's daughter Matilda as heiress to the throne.

      1136 - Civil war disrupted the country with fighting between Stephen and forces loyal to Matilda.

      1139 - Matilda landed in England

      1141 - Stephen was briefly taken prisoner and Matilda declared "Lady off the English" until she was defeated at the Battle of Farringdon in 1145.

      Matilda agreed with Stephen to end the wars so long as he agreed to her son Henry becoming the next King of England.

      In December 1153, Stephen agreed to the Treaty of Westminster (Wallingford) with Henry. In the treaty it was agreed, among other things that on Stephen's death the throne would go to Matilda's son, Henry

      In 1154, Stephen died and the line of Norman Kings ended.

      1154 - 1216 The Angevins (The first Plantagenet kings)

      1603 - 1649 and 1660 - 1714 The Stuarts

      1901 -1910 and 1910 - Today Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and The Windsors

      © Copyright - please read
      All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

      Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website.
      The two websites projectbritain.com and primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

      Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
      She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

      10 Monarchs Whose Madness Changed History

      In fiction, kings and queens who succumb to madness are a great time. In reality, not so much. It’s no fun having huge chunks of the world controlled by someone who is irrational and unstable. Here are ten kings and queens whose craziness changed the course of world events.

      10. Ivan the Terrible’s Fits Ushered in the Romanovs (1530-1584)

      This list could have been all tsars. These rulers were raised under conditions guaranteed to make anyone a sociopath. Most of them saw close relatives murdered by other close relatives. Though abused relentlessly as children, as adults they had both absolute power and a sword of Damocles over their heads. Ivan’s father died when Ivan was only three, and his mother was poisoned when he was eight. During his minority an unruly gang of noblemen governed the land, and starved, beat, and neglected the boy and his brother. He took the abuse out on small animals, which he would throw off the roofs of palaces. Hurling things about proved good practice for the tsar-in-training. At 16, Ivan marched into the throne room, grabbed the leader of the noblemen, and threw the man to Ivan’s trained hunting dogs.

      Ivan’s reign was marked by violent paranoia. When Ivan suspected a nobleman wanted the throne, he dressed the man up as a king, put him on the throne, and gutted him. Ivan created a special police force, the members of which rode around with dogs’ heads hanging from their saddles and could murder anyone at any time, in public. Once, when Ivan heard a rumor that a town called Novgorod was rebellious, he killed every single person in the town, sewed the town’s archbishop up into a bearskin, and had his dogs hunt the bearman down.

      It’s hard to write all that and then use the phrase, “conditions deteriorated,” but, somehow, conditions deteriorated. Ivan started having fits. In paintings he’s depicted as having a prominent nose and forehead. These are the way kind (and probably fearful) artists rendered calluses that Ivan had built up by banging his head on the stone floor in front of religions icons. Ivan would also have fits of rage. During one fit, he kicked his pregnant daughter-in-law in the stomach and caused her to miscarry. His son, an able and promising ruler, yelled at him. Ivan beat his son to death with his scepter, then went into paroxysms of remorse. It was that moment that changed history. Ivan was a member of the ancient Rurik line of nobility. With the only strong heir to the throne swept out of the way, Russia descended into chaos after Ivan’s death. At last, nobles cast around for any noble family that the nation could rally around. They came up with an heir called Michael Romanov.

      9. Peter the Great Changed the Line of Succession For His Wife-Psychologist (1672-1725)

      Peter the Great was, in many ways, a wonderful sovereign. Passionately committed to both his country and his own education, he spent much of his childhood (imprisoned and under constant threat from his half-sister Sofia) learning army tactics and designing ships. As an adult, he toured Europe, learning about the latest advances in the sciences so he could bring them back to Russia.

      Sometimes he took his love of learning, and his impatience with those who didn’t get on board, too far. When he was learning dentistry, he would practice on his nobles. When a group of attendants were upset while watching the dissection of a corpse, he ordered them to walk up to the corpse and take a bite out of it. Then there was his terrible paranoia. Peter was the child of the former tsar’s second wife. When he was ten, he saw the relatives of the tsar’s first wife toss his uncles and aunts off the roof of a building to the courtyard below, where they were torn apart by supposedly “loyal” soldiers. He was fanatical about loyalty, to the point of having his own son tortured to death for temporarily fleeing to Sweden.

      One person he trusted was his wife, Catherine. Catherine’s life was a Cinderella story made into a horror movie. Captured by the Russian army, she was passed around by soldiers. She happened to be passed up the chain of command. Eventually she met the tsar, who became enthralled to her. Peter had fits of terror, and during those fits, Catherine was the only one who could soothe him. Peter decreed that a tsar should be able to name his own successor, and though he never specified Catherine should succeed him, she did. More importantly, this decree marked a sharp turn away from blood ties and first born sons, and the beginning of a belief that any ruler would do, provided they were a good Russian.

      8. Peter III’s Madness Created Catherine the Great (1728-1762)

      It says something about Peter III that the only reason historians believe that his son, Paul I, was legitimate was that Paul has his “father’s instability.” Peter was an entirely contemptible ruler, but he was also a pitiable figure. Like many of the Romanovs in line for the throne, he had almost no contact with his parents. Instead, he was raised by a tutor who was horribly abusive to the slow pupil. Peter was regularly beaten, starved, and humiliated. He developed into a creepy blend of manchild and sociopath.

      He didn’t consummate his marriage to Catherine, a pretty little German nobody who had been imported as a brood mare, for at least nine years, because he spent every night in bed playing with toy soldiers. When he wanted a little power, he would force his wife to dress up as a soldier and put her through military drills. For a change of pace, he indulged in animal abuse, “training” a pack of hunting dogs by beating them, and conducting military trials and hangings of the rats he found nibbling his toy soldiers. So predictable was his insanity that, in order to get him away from Catherine while she was giving birth to a definitely illegitimate child (instead of just a probably illegitimate child), a minister loyal to her set fire to his own house. He knew the tsar would rush off to see the flames and leave Catherine alone.

      Most crazy tsars, unpleasant as they were, kept their throne. Why did Peter get deposed in a coup that left the foreign Catherine free to become one of Russia’s most famous rulers? Because Peter was crazy like a Prussian, not crazy like a Russian. Peter was, for some time, considered the heir to the Swedish throne. He was raised to dislike Russia, and he did. He idolized the Prussian leader Frederick the Great, who was, when Peter became tsar, at war with Russia - and losing. At the moment when it looked like Frederick was done for, Peter ordered his army to settle with his idol on very favorable terms. Catherine, who actually was born in Prussia, had spent the first few years of her marriage vigorously Russianizing herself and equally vigorously cultivating the Russian army. The army preferred a Prussian who had decided she was Russian to a Russian who had decided he was Prussian, and Peter was captured, deposed, and killed in short order.

      7. Charles VI Signs Centuries of War Into Being (1380-1422)

      At last, we shall leave Russia. On to France! Charles the VI was king for a very long time, during which a united, prosperous, and powerful country fell into civil war and chaos. Charles had all the paranoia of the tsars, but none of the aggression. This was a shame, as he arguably had more cause to be aggressive. Charles’ brother, Louis of Valois, enjoyed everything that made the people around him miserable, including money, prestige, and other people’s wives. “Other people’s wives,” in this case, included the Queen. People soon began questioning how far Louis would go to get the Queen, when, during a ball, the king and some fellow noblemen dressed up as “wild men” in full-body suits of tar and flax. Charles had happened to wander away from the group when Louis grabbed a torch and, declaring he wanted to figure out who the men were, thrust it at the group. The other men burned to death.

      Meet the world’s other 25 royal families

      With all the attention around Britain’s forthcoming Royal Baby, you’d think the U.K. had a monopoly on monarchs -- infant or otherwise. In reality, there are 26 monarchies in the world, a fascinating network of kings, queens, sultans, emperors and emirs who rule or reign over 43 countries in all.

      It goes without saying, of course, that most royal families have a considerably lower international profile than the Windsors. That has a lot to do with Britain’s imperial history: Sixteen countries, including Canada and Australia, are still technically subjects of the British monarchy, which also once ruled much of the world.

      Beyond Queen Elizabeth II, the other monarchies vary widely in how much power they hold, how they're seen, how their family got there and even in what they're called. Here’s a quick tour of the world's 25 other royal families, plus its two elected monarchies, in Malaysia and the Vatican. We've divided them into monarchs who rule -- who have real, direct political power -- and those, like the Windsors, who merely reign.

      Monarchs who rule

      Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, which makes Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz the king and prime minister. His deputies, Salman and Muqrin, are also from the ruling House of Saud, and the king-appointed cabinet includes more members of the royal family. While the monarchy is hereditary now, future Saudi kings will be chosen by a committee of Saudi princes, per a 2006 decree. (There are plenty of them: according to some estimates, the ruling family includes as many as 30,000 people.)

      Kuwait: Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah, age 84, has ruled Kuwait since 2006, when the previous emir died, setting off a minor succession crisis because the next-in-line was physically unable to recite the oath of office, possibly because of age-related health issues. Sabah took over instead he rules the oil-rich nation as emir and head of the royal family, which has been in some form of power since the early 1700s.

      Qatar: Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is a recent addition to this list, having taken over in June after his father's peaceful abdication. The al-Thani family is known for ostentatious wealth and for working aggressively to expand their country's regional, oil-funded influence. They've ruled Qatar since 1825 and underwent a series of forced abdications in the 20th century, typically instigated by sons or nephews eager to take the throne.

      United Arab Emirates: As its name suggests, the United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven districts, each of which is governed by a hereditary monarch who bears the title of emir. Traditionally, the emir of Abu Dhabi is also the federation president. Today that's Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who's been in charge since his father died in 2004. He is thought to have personal wealth of about $5 billion.

      Swaziland: King Mswati III has been the absolute monarch of this small southern African country since inheriting the crown from his father in 1986, when he was barely 18 years old. His formal title is Ngwenyama, an honorific that also means lion.

      Alfonso XIII was born May 17, 1886. That same day, he became Spain’s King. Despite having his entire childhood to practice, Alfonso never became a good ruler. During his reign, Spain lost its last colonies, it became overrun by a military dictator, and the monarchy dissolved. Alfonso abdicated his rights to the crown in 1941 after Francisco Franco assumed control.

      Legend has it that in year 309, Persian nobles placed a crown upon the belly of King Hormizd II’s widow. Inside was history’s first fetal king: Shah Shapur II. The in utero ruler was the ninth leader of the Sassanid Empire, a powerful Persian kingdom covering modern Iran. Shapur II ruled for 70 years. In the late 4th century, he successfully ousted Christianity from the Middle East.

      Watch the video: Βασιλιας Χουαν Καρλος Ισπανιας (January 2022).