Humanity has progressed into 21st century, where our society has been significantly transformed with technology advancements. Over the years, we have also witnessed a significant change in how governments are selected and their functioning. However, even with these notable developments, it’s surprising to see that there are countries that are still ruled by kings, queens, emperors and sultans. Such titles may have been relevant a thousand years back, but their existence in modern 21st century is debatable. For better understanding of the topic, here’s a quick overview of countries still ruled by kings and queens.
United Kingdom – One of the most notable public figures, Elizabeth II is the Queen of the United Kingdom. She also serves as the queen for other countries in Commonwealth realms such as Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Bahamas, Canada, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Papua New Guinea, and Tuvalu. Queen Elizabeth II is currently the longest serving monarch, spanning a period of 69 years.
Brunei – Located in Southeast Asia, Brunei is ruled by an absolute monarchy under full control of the Sultan. Brunei follows a mix of Islamic practices, sharia law and English common law. The country has been under a monarchy for 53 years and the current ruler is Hassanal Bolkiah. The sultan of Brunei is counted among the richest people in the world with an estimated wealth of around USD 20 billion.
Kingdom of Eswatini – A landlocked country in Southern Africa, Kingdom of Eswatini has been under an absolute monarchy system for 35 years. The current ruler is King Mswati III, who inherited the throne in 1986. He became king at 18 years of age, making him the youngest ruling absolute monarch at that time. King Mswati III believes in polygyny and has 15 wives.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Situated in Western Asia, Saudi Arabia has functioned as an absolute monarchy since several years. The country is known for its oil, being the world’s largest exporter of oil and having the second largest oil reserves in the world. Saudi Arabia is ruled by king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who came to power in 2015.
Sultanate of Oman – Located in Western Asia, Sultanate of Oman is considered as one of the oldest state in Arab world. The country has been an absolute monarchy since 1970. The current ruler is Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, who came to power in 2020 after the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.
The role of kings and queens may be limited in a monarchy that has a proper constitution and leaders are elected via free and fair elections. Problems are more likely with absolute monarchies, where a single person has full control of decision making. It can easily lead to corruption and moral depravity at top levels of the government. Still, some countries prefer absolute monarchies and continue with the age-old system of governance.