Royal Families of Europe

12 Major Royal Families of Europe

Of the 12 monarchies of Europe, two are not hereditary. Andorra (a diarchy) and the Vatican City rulers are elected. The remaining 10 monarchies are hereditary.

1. Andorra (Principality)

Andorra is an oddity for a principality or any type of royal rule. It is a small country in the Pyrenees and is landlocked between Spain and France. It has been ruled by co-princes since 1278 AD. The Bishop of Urgell and the French Count of Foix, although the King of France was eventually given the princedom of Andorra. Each co-prince appoints a representative since the princes don't live in Andorra.

2. Belgium (Kingdom)

On July 3, 2013, King Albert II of the House of Belgium (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha branch) made the announcement that he was going abdicate to his eldest child, Philippe (DOB April 15, 1960). On July 21, 2013, Prince Philippe became King of the Belgians. Prince Philippe married Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz December 4, 1999. Queen Mathilde's noble line is the daughter of Belgium's Walloon count. She is a descendant of Polish princes and counts.

3. Denmark (Kingdom)

Queen Margrethe II was born Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid (DOB April 16, 1940). She was born of the House of Glücksburg (house origins in northern Germany). She was married in 1967 to Henri de Laborde de Monpezat (DOD 2018). The royal couple has two sons, heir apparent, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.

4. Liechtenstein (Principality)

Reigning prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II (Johannes Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marco d'Aviano Pius) was born on February 14, 1945. He took the throne on November 13, 1989 as the heir apparent upon the death of his father, Prince Franz Joseph II (1906-1989). His mother was Princess Gina, the Countess Georgina von Wilczek (1921-1989) and his godfather was Pope Pius XII (1876-1958).

5. Luxembourg (Grand Duchy)

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Henri (Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume - DOB April 16, 1955) is first cousin of King Philippe of Belgium and the eldest son of Grand Duke Jean and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. He took over the title of Grand Duke when his father abdicated the title in 2000.

6. Monaco (Principality)

Sovereign Prince of Monaco, Albert II (Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi) of the Princely House of Grimaldi was born on March 14, 1958. The son of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace (former American actress), he has two siblings, Princess Caroline and Princess Stéphanie. In 1982, Princess Grace had a stroke and died in a car accident. In 2005, Prince Rainier III died, and Prince Albert II became Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

7. Netherlands (Kingdom)

King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander (Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand) was born on April 27, 1967. He is the eldest child Princess Beatrix and Claus van Amsberg, a diplomat. Princess Beatrix ascended to the throne in 1980, making Willem-Alexander the heir apparent. In 2013, King Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne when his mother abdicated.

8. Norway (Kingdom)

King of Norway Harald V (DOB February 21, 1937) ascended the throne when his father, King Olav V, died on January 17, 1991. Harald is the only son of King Olav V and Princess Märtha of Sweden.

9. Spain (Kingdom)

The King of Spain, Felipe VI or Philip VI (Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Grecia) was born January 30, 1968. He is the eldest son of Juan Carlos (DOB 1938) and Queen Sofía (DOB 1938) In 2014, his father abdicated the throne to him. Queen Sofía is the daughter of Greece's King Paul and Frederica of Hanover. During World War II, she and her family exiled to Egypt. King Felipe has two sisters, Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, and Infanta Cristina, both older than him.

10. Sweden (Kingdom)

King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf (Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus) was born April 30, 1946, to the Duke of Västerbotten, Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In 1947, his father was in a fatal airplane crash, leaving the infant second in line. In 1950, his great-grandfather King Gustaf V died, and his grandfather ascended the throne, making four-year-old 

11. United Kingdom (Kingdom)

Perhaps the most well-known monarch, Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor) was born on April 21, 1926. She is Queen of the United Kingdom, along with 15 Commonwealths. She is the first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. King George ascended to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir apparent. She had one sibling, Princess Margaret (1930-2002). Elizabeth ascended to the throne upon the death of her father in 1952.