Royal families have been a major part of world history – leading nations and empires – for thousands of years. Today, there are still 26 royal families around the world and many act as Head of State. With this in mind we’ve compiled a list of the most famous European royal families.
The British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is arguably the most famous royal family in the world. Queen Elizabeth II which is Queen of 16 countries and over 2 billion people. Born in 1926, Queen Elizabeth has been ruler since 1952 and is the longest serving monarch in the world. Her son Prince Charles is next in line for the throne and is well known for his charity work in addition to his royal duties. Charles’ former wife, Princess Diana, captured the world’s attention for many reasons, including her activism for many social causes but her life ended in tragedy. If you’re interested to learn more about Diana, here is a Princess Diana biography. Her sons, William and Harry have also made an impact on the world stage and with both their marriages and children gaining much attention.
The Spanish Royal Family
The Spanish Royal Family, often known as the House of Bourbon, came into existence 320 years ago. Felipe VI, the King of Spain born in 1968, has been King since 2014 as well as guardian of the constitution, head of state, and commander in chief. His wife Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, the Queen of Spain was a journalist and TV news host. Their daughter Leonor, who is the next in line for the throne was born in 2005, and her younger sister Sofia was born in 2007.
The Norwegian Royal Family
The Norwegian Royal Family dates back to 1905, when the union of Norway and Sweden ended. Unlike other royal families, such as the British one, the royal family only contains the monarch, their siblings, their spouse, their children, and grandchildren. The current members are King Harald, Queen Sonja. Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Ingrid Alexandra.
The Swedish Royal Family
The Swedish Royal Family are part of the Bernadotte, who also ruled Norway before 1905. Carl XVI Gustaf is the current King of Sweden, who ascended the throne in 1973. A ceremonial role, he takes care of titles in the house of Bernadotte, and is most famous for bestowing Nobel peace prizes. His wife is Queen Silvia of Sweden, and their daughter is the heir apparent, Crown Princess Victoria.
The Royal House of the Netherlands
The Netherlands has had its own royal family as an independent kingdom since 1815, but as an independent province royal rulers date back to 1559. A constitutional monarchy, the current monarch is Willem Alexander, who took over after his mother Princess Beatrix, who ruled from 1980, abdicated in 2013. Willem has served on various boards such as the International Olympic Committee. He and his wife, Queen Consort Maxima, from Argentina, have three daughters : Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (born 2003) who is the heir apparent, Princess Alexia (born 2005), and Princess Ariane (born 2007).
The Royal House of Grimaldi
The final royal family in our list is the Royal House of Grimaldi. Its origins go back to the country of Genoa and were associated with the French court in the Ancien Regime. The current head of the house is the Prince of Monaco, Albert II. Monaco is one of three nations in Europe where the royal family have an active role in politics. His wife, the South African born Olympic swimmer cum princess, Charlene Wittstock, married him in 2011, and they have twins, Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques.
Do you want to know more about the royal families of Europe and across the world? Watch these royal documentaries.