Monarchs are distinguished by their titles and styles, which in most cases are defined by tradition, and guaranteed under the state's constitution. A variety of titles are applied in English; for example, "king" and "queen", "prince" and "princess", "emperor" and "empress". Although they will be addressed differently in their local languages, the names and titles in the list below have been styled using the common English equivalent. Roman numerals, used to distinguish related rulers with the same name, have been applied where typical.
In political and sociocultural studies, monarchies are normally associated with hereditary rule; most monarchs, in both historical and contemporary contexts, have been born and raised within a royal family.Succession has been defined using a variety of distinct formulae, such as proximity of blood, primogeniture, and agnatic seniority. Some monarchies, however, are not hereditary, and the ruler is instead determined through an elective process; a modern example is the throne of Malaysia. These systems defy the model concept of a monarchy, but are commonly considered as such because they retain certain associative characteristics. Many systems use a combination of hereditary and elective elements, where the election or nomination of a successor is restricted to members of a royal bloodline.
Entries below are listed beside their respective dominions, which are organised alphabetically. These monarchs reign as head of state in their respective sovereign states. Monarchs reigning over a constituent division, cultural or traditional polity are listed under constituent monarchs. For current claimants to abolished thrones, see pretenders.
^Succession is subject to customary law, and does not follow primogeniture. A council of elders selects who among the reigning king's wives will be mother of the next king. This woman will succeed as Ndlovukati upon her son's ascension to throne, and will rule alongside him for the duration of his reign. The king's first two wives are considered ineligible.
^"Akihito" is the current emperor's given name, but it is not his regnal name, and he is never referred to as this in Japanese. The era of Akihito's reign bears the name "Heisei", and according to custom he will be renamed "Emperor Heisei" following his death or abdication.
^The Japanese emperor does not have a family name. The use of the name "Yamato" for the household derives from the ancient Yamato Court. It is used often as a name for the imperial dynasty, but has no official basis.
^Succession is based upon primogeniture. However, the reigning king may also select his successor from among eligible princes.
^The heir is appointed by the reigning emir, and the nomination must also be approved by a majority of members in the National Assembly. The throne is also traditionally alternated between the two main branches of the Al Sabah family: the Al Salem and Al Jaber. The current emir is of the Al Jaber branch.
^Coronation took place 31 October 1997. Has previously reigned as king from 12 November 1990 until 25 January 1995.
^Formally enthroned on 15 August 1990. Prior to his accession, Hans-Adam had served as prince regent since 26 August 1984. On 15 August 2004, the prince formally appointed his son Prince Alois as regent, in preparation for his succession to the throne, but remained head of state in accordance with the constitution.
^Official title: Yang di-Pertuan Agong. It roughly translates as "Supreme Head of State", and is commonly rendered in English as "King".
^Elected on 24 January 2019. Term of office started on 31 January 2019.
^The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is elected to a five-year term by and from amongst the nine hereditary rulers of the Malay states, who form the Council of Rulers. The position has to date been, by informal agreement, systematically rotated between the nine; the order was originally based on seniority.
^Albert II was formally enthroned as prince in a two-part ceremony, in accordance with tradition, on 12 July and 19 November 2005. He had previously been serving as regent since 31 March 2005.
^The Al Nahyan are a branch of the Al Falahi, a clan of the Yas tribe.
^The Prime Minister is the head of the government. However, with the consent of the Supreme Council, the office is appointed by the President, who retains considerable power.
^According to the Constitution, the President of the United Arab Emirates is elected by the Federal Supreme Council from among the individual rulers of the seven emirates. However, by informal agreement the Presidency is always passed to the head of the Al Nahyan clan, the Emir of Abu Dhabi (see constituent monarchs), which makes it a de facto hereditary position. In addition, the appointed Prime Minister has always been the head of the Al Maktoum clan and Emir of Dubai.
^Bouvier, John; Rawle, Francis (1914). Bouvier's Law Dictionary and Concise Encyclopedia. 2 (3rd ed.). Vernon Law Book Company. pp. 2237–2238.
^Shawcross, William (1994). Cambodia's new deal: a report. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-87003-051-2.
^Garner, James Wilford (1910). Introduction to Political Science: A Treatise on the Origin, Nature, Functions, and Organization of the State. American Book Company. pp. 169–178. ISBN 978-1-115-59599-5.
^Government of the United Kingdom. "The House of Windsor". Official website of the British Monarchy. The Royal Household. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
^Herzogliche Hauptverwaltung. "The House of Wettin". Das Herzogliche Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's Family Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 December 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
^Government of Belgium. "King Philippe". The Belgian Monarchy. Federal Public Service; Chancery of the Prime Minister. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
^Cordesman, Anthony H (2007). Gulf military forces in an era of asymmetric wars. 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-275-99250-7.: "The royal family, Al Sabah, has two branches—Al Jaber and Al Salem—and has traditionally alternated in ruling Kuwait. This tradition, however, has changed following the death of Jaber Al Sabah [1977–2006]."
^Political Risk Yearbook, 1998. Political Risk Services. 1998. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-85271-371-3.: "The two branches of the Al-Sabah family, the Jabers and the Salems, have traditionally alternated their rule, one providing the emir and the other the crown prince (also serving as prime minister)."
^ abGovernment of Liechtenstein. "Prince Hans-Adam II". Portal of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Government Spokesperson’s Office. Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
^Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit. "The Yang di-Pertuan Agong". myGovernment. Government of Malaysia. Archived from the original on 21 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
^Cordesman, Anthony H (2009). Saudi Arabia: national security in a troubled region. ABC-CLIO. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-313-38076-1. "In October 2006, King Abdullah issued a new succession law that amended the 1992 Basic Law and formalized the process by creating the Allegiance Commission. The new law both defines how a king will choose among possible candidates and provides a formal way for developing a consensus to choose the king's successor. The Allegiance Commission will select a king and crown prince upon the death or incapacitation of either. This commission expands the role of the ruling family in the selection process. ... It is composed of some 35 sons and grandsons of the late founder of the Kingdom, Abd al-Aziz al-Saud, who will vote in secret ballots on who could and could not be eligible to be future kings and crown princes."
^Shoup, John A; Maisel, Sebastian (2009). Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States Today: A-J. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 323. ISBN 978-0-313-34444-2.. "The Al Nahyan ... are a branch of the Al Bu Falah tribe of the Bani Yas confederation, and although they have been a small section of the tribe, the Al Nahyan have traditionally provided the paramount shaykh for the confederation."
^ abConstitution of the United Arab Emirates, Art. 51 & 54.
^Noack, Sascha (2007). Doing Business in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. GRIN Verlag. p. 16. ISBN 978-3-638-79766-5.
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