Monarchies aren’t the most popular form of government in our current day and age, mostly because this automatically means that your next head of state is just going to be, well, the child of your current one. There’s very little democracy involved. As a result, most current kings and queens have had their status reduced to something a bit more ceremonial than what you’d expect from a president, for example.
Some countries – mostly in Europe – still swear by a monarchy, so let’s take a look at some countries that have held true to that form of government for the longest time.
Where Germany isn’t very fond of monarchs, Denmark has had a king or queen since 935 AD. In true Scandinavian fashion, they’ve sworn by the monarchy ever since. Their current monarch is queen Margrethe II, who somehow decided that naming the heir of a country “Frederik” was a good idea.
This is one of the very oldest monarchies in the world, starting as early as 788 AD. Their monarch has only been called a “King” since 1957 however – they’ve had a plethora of other titles before that. They current king is Mohammed VI, who will one day leave his country to his son, Prince Moulay Hassan.
Assuming we take the unification of Great Britain as the cutoff date, this kingdom has been going strong since 1066. In terms of political influence and power, it’s safe to say that the Queen is probably the most powerful monarch in our current time. We know who the current Queen is, because Elizabeth II has been the Queen of England for over 65 years now. Let that sink in for a while.
The monarchy of Cambodia was formed in 68 AD, which is just decades after Jesus died. The difference between the Cambodian monarchy compared to others is that their monarchy isn’t hereditary, but elected. They’re still elected for life however, and only people from a very limited set of bloodlines can apply for the job. Norodom Sihamoni is the current monarch of Cambodia, and it’s anyone’s guess who the next one will be due to their elective system.
Their monarchy was established as early as 970 AD, despite rumors that they’ve had kings long before that time. The oldest mention of a Swedish king dates back to 100 AD, which would mean they were far ahead of the curve when it comes to the concept of a king. They are currently ruled by Carl XVI Gustaf, which does indeed sound like he has two first names and no last name and they just put the number in the middle to add to the confusion.
The first monarchy to ever exist, and also the only one to be older than Jesus. The Japanese monarchy was founded in 660 BCE. They don’t refer to their monarchs as kings or queens, but they’re all referred to as “emperor”, hence why most people don’t realize Japan is in fact a monarchy. Emperor Akihito is currently in charge of the land of the rising sun, and he’s been on the throne since 1989.
If Denmark and Sweden do it, Norway usually does it too. And they did it first: they started their monarchy in 885 AD, almost a full century before Sweden. They haven’t always been governed by the same family of monarchs, but they do have a hereditary system and not an elected one like Cambodia. The current Norse king is called Harald V, so he shares a name with their very first Monarch: Harald Fairhair. Now imagine it’s 885 AD and your hair is so dang glorious that they decide to name you after it. And they make you a king as well. Oh, those Vikings. And yes, they also have a prince that dabs at official events.