Did you know there are 26 monarchies in the world? 26 different kings, queens, emperors, sultans, etc. currently rule over a combined 43 countries. That’s right, some queens have countries that are not even in the same area code in which they live!
You see this is the kind of trivia I go looking for in the wee hours of the mid-morning when I’m avoiding productive work. And, I find it much more fascinating than which Kardashian/Jenner family member currently has head lice. (I’m guessing it’s the short one).
There are absolute monarchies (where the leader has total power), monarchies with some political power (Thailand for example), and figurehead monarchies where the royalty has no real power (Norway, Spain, my house),
Monarchies have some unusual titles. The best I have found is Bhutan, which calls their ruler the Druk Gyalpo of Bhuta (which translates the Dragon King of Bhutan). You could be the ugliest person on the planet and still get dates if your job title is Dragon King.
Brunei is a tiny country located in the South China sea on the island of Borneo. Despite being so small, the Sulton actually has the largest palace of any of the royals. It has 1800 rooms! Can you imagine? You could invite every relative you have for Thanksgiving and stick the ones you don’t like a half-mile away.
Wife: I feel like you don’t like my Aunt Eunice.
Husband: But she’s staying with us for Thanksgiving, of course I like her.
Wife: But you put her in guest room 799. That’s a 40 minute walk to the dining room!
Of course, Brunei’s home for royalty has caused much palace envy each year when all the royals get together for the annual Monarchy Convergence And BBQ (you’re not invited).
Real Conversation at the 2018 BBQ:
King Carl of Sweeden: Our kingdom has the finest of the meatballs.
King Phillip of Belgium: Oh, yeah? Well, our waffles reign supreme.
Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei: I have an entire room just for waffles. And another for the syrup. And yet another still for the butter.
Megan Markle: Say, how many rooms are in your palace?
Sultan Bolkiah: 1800
Megan (spits her mimosa all over King Carl, then glares at Prince Harry): I married the wrong royal!
Lesotho is a country that sounds completely made up. But it’s not and it does have a king.
Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands all have monarchies. However, nobody can remember which country is which, so the royals often switch places when they are bored and none of the citizens seem to have caught on.
Finally, of the multiple countries under the British Monarchy, probably the most obscure is Tuvalu. Sounds made up, but it’s not. It’s a series of islands and atolls in the South Pacific or off the coast of Portland (scientists are still debating this, but they’re unified in the belief it exists). According to their website, only one island actually has a hotel, which is a good indication as to why the Queen never visits.
If I can’t get invited to Thanksgiving in Brunei, I’m definitely going to visit Tuvalu. I hear the Dragon King hangs out in the hotel bar.
Carry on, Citizens!
photo credit: The British Library British Library digitised image from page 467 of “The National and Domestic History of England … With numerous steel plates, coloured pictures, etc” via photopin (license)