Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Europe: Land of the Foreign Monarchs

Every monarch in Europe, whether in a kingdom or principality, is from a foreign family.

Andorra: Co-princes Joan Enric Vives Sicília (Spanish bishop) and Francois Hollande (French president).

Belgium:  The so-called House of Belgium is actually the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and has ruled Belgium since the 1830s.

Liechtenstein:  The House of Liechtenstein rule present-day Liechtenstein as a rump state.  The house comes from Castle Liechtenstein located in Austria.

Luxembourg:  Grand Duke Henri is of the French-Italian House of Bourbon-Parma.  The house was founded by Philip, the Spanish-born son of French King of Spain, in the 1700s.  Philip started his line of Bourbon-Parma by ruling parts of Italy.

Monaco:  The House of Grimaldi comes from Genoa, Italy.  The house was founded by a consul of Genoa and his Jewish merchant cousin in the 1100s.

Netherlands:  The House of Orange-Nassau is a union of houses from Germany and France and was founded in the 1500s.

Norway:  The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was founded in the 1800s by marriage between German and Danish nobility.

Spain:  King Juan Carlos I is of the French House of Bourbon.

Sweden:  Swedish monarchs are of the House of Bernadotte.  This house was founded by Jean Bernadotte in the early 1800s.  Bernadotte was a French military officer in Napoleon's army.  Bernadotte was adopted by the king of Sweden, Charles XIII, when Charles realized his house was about to die with his death.

United Kingdom:  The so-called House of Windsor is actually the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha which gained the British thron in 1901 with King Edward VII.  Before Saxe-Coburg and Gotha took the throne the monarchy belonged to another German family, the House of Hanover.


Two houses rule two foreign countries each.  The German House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha reigns in Belgium and the United Kingdom.  Interestingly both these countries are ethnically mixed between Germanics and French.  Meanwhile the French House of Bourbon rules in Spain and Luxembourg.

French families rulefive5 countries: Andorra, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.  Families from the present-day Federal Republic of Germany rule four countries: Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom.  An Austrian family rules in Lichtenstein.

Special Mention:

Vatican City:  Though not a monarchy by some definitions  the Vatican's monarch is the closest thing to a "native" monarch.  Though Pope Francis was born in Argentina his father was Italian from northwest Italy.

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