Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her platinum jubilee from Thursday, June 2, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of her reign. For four days, celebrations are planned across the UK. But the most famous of the crowned chiefs isn’t the only active monarch. If we include all kinds of monarchical regimes, then 44 countries are concerned in the world, or just over 20% of the planet. This figure is fairly stable.
>> The Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II: Seven Decades of Reign in Seven Maps and Charts
We find special cases such as king, emir, sultan (as in Oman, in the Persian Gulf), emperor (in Japan) or the Vatican at the same time all over the world because the pope is a form of emperor. This figure of 44 countries also takes into account the 15 countries that belong to the Commonwealth as all have the Queen of England as sovereign.
Europe is the most monarchical continent, with a total of 11 regimes, including six in the European Union (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Spain). But in Europe, we speak of constitutional monarchy, where sovereigns don’t strictly speak, they have political power. In all these countries, there is a parallel democratically elected government that conducts the affairs of the country.
The situation is quite different in the Middle East and Asia, the other two most affected regions of the world. There are many semi-absolute monarchies, where the sovereign concentrates all power. Symbolic cases are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Qatar. The power of the emperor is also at the center of Morocco.
In addition to Queen Elizabeth, other sovereigns have been in power for a very long time. He is the oldest with his reign of 70 years. The Sultan of Brunei is in power for the next 54 years. Brunei Indonesia has a very small area at the tip of Borneo: 5,000 km² but a lot of oil and therefore a lot of wealth. Hassanal Bolkiah is 76 years old and has all the powers: Sultan, Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Finance Minister, etc. He was once extremely wealthy, in fact, he was ranked as the richest person on the planet. His palace is three times the size of Buckingham and is fond of cars: he owns more than 5,000.
Next comes Queen Margaret II of Denmark: she is 81 years old and has been sitting on the throne for 50 years. It is a constitutional monarchy like the United Kingdom. She is a character: occasional artist, poet, designer and painter, passionate about archaeology, polyglot, married a Frenchman, the first woman to ascend the throne in Denmark after 1000 years of undisputed rule of men…
Finally, we should cite the case of King Sobhuja II of Swaziland in Africa. If he is no longer of this world, he reigned 82 years, until 1982, 12 years longer than Queen Elizabeth II. This is a perfect record. He was crowned only six months after his birth!
All these monarchies have been put on hold, either because they are autocrats where protest is prohibited, or because monarchs are popular, as is the case in England and northern Europe. There are still places where it is booming, such as in Thailand in recent years.
These 15 countries, which come under the authority of the Queen of England, are also a special case of the Commonwealth. There are cracks. In the fall of 2021, the small Caribbean island of Barbados distanced itself and became a republic. Many other countries are starting to wonder: other Caribbean islands and larger countries such as Canada or Australia. They are still loyal to Elizabeth II today, but this may have been different with her successor.
Organizer. Zombie aficionado. Wannabe reader. Passionate writer. Twitter lover. Music scholar. Web expert.