A monarchy as a style of government once prevailed as the preferred type of rule in countries around the world. Gradually, monarchies began to lose their appeal and democracies rose in popularity. In many countries today, however, monarchies are still in place, and their royal families are as powerful and significant as ever. Here are ten facts about royal families around the world.
- Saudi Arabia: While the Saudi royal family is known mostly for imposing strict laws and banning women from many activities, it is interesting that the country’s biggest and most influential women’s rights activist is a princess. Princess Ameerah Al Taweel is one of the Arab world’s most outspoken women, having participated in campaigns to empower women in Saudi Arabia and globally, such as Chime for Change.
- United Arab Emirates: Another monarchy in the Gulf, the UAE is ruled by a group of royal families, with one controlling each emirate, and the supreme leaders being family ruling the capital, Abu Dhabi. The primary royal family, Al Nahyan, are the successors of Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, the leader who unified the seven emirates while they were separate states in 1971 and established the country.
- United Arab Emirates: Horseback riding and poetry are activities that are taken very seriously in the UAE, with competitions and championships being held across the emirates regularly. A royal role model in these areas is HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. Dubbed “The Poet” and “The Equestrian” for his notable achievements, Emirati youth look up to this royal for his talents in the arts and in sports.
- Brunei: As an Islamic monarchy with one of the richest monarchs in the world, Brunei is a unique country. Its population is made up of two ethnicities: Malay and Chinese, and strict Islamic rule is imposed on all its inhabitants, which are predominantly Muslim. Despite this, people in Brunei live comfortably due to oil in the land, and the members of the royal family are very popular figures both in the country and internationally.
Jordan: Nationalism is exceptionally and strongly widespread in The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, even though there is a big international presence in the royal court, and particularly through the country’s queens. The current reigning queen, Queen Rania, is of Palestinian descent, while Queen Noor, who lives abroad, is of Syrian and Swedish descent. Previous queens have been of Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, and British descent, among others.
- Jordan: All Jordanian royals share high levels of education. Educated in elite universities in the West, most have postgraduate degrees, have worked in diplomacy or held high ranking job positions, and have represented the country on many occasions abroad before assuming their titles. Royals have traditionally attended universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, and Princeton, and have even often attended elite boarding schools in England and the US before that.
- Spain: The Spanish Royal Family is made up of the descendants of other European countries. The family is related to the the British, French, and German royals and historic monarchs, but have made every effort to maintain a strong Spanish identity. Extending upon this, the family, and especially the former king, King Juan Carlos, sponsor and encourage Spanish language education abroad.
- Japan: East Asia is a region distinguished for its pride in tradition, so it comes as no surprise that the Japanese Imperial Family, which is still in function today, is the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world. The family has been in power since the sixth century BC, and their representative crest ever since h
as been a yellow chrysanthemum.
- Japan: The Emperor of Japan assumes many responsibilities- none of them political or concerning the government. The Emperor is expected to act as a symbol of the state, greet foreign dignitaries, hold banquets, give awards to Japanese citizens, make official visits, appoint the Prime Minister, and take on the role of religious leader and perform religious duties. The Japanese Royal Family lives in the Imperial Palace, which is furnished by the state. They are provided for, and are therefore given no money. They also do not have last names.
- England: The most popular and famous of royal families, the English Royal Family actually has significantly less of a political influence on its country than other royal families have on theirs. The importance of the royal family comes mostly from their vast areas of influence. Besides the United Kingdom, the English monarchy maintains rule over New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, and the Bahamas, among others.