Kingdoms

Did you know how many kingdoms there are on this planet? A kingdom of course is a country, territory or state that is ruled by a monarch – sometimes only as a constitutional figurehead and in other places as the head honcho of all they survey…. Well, there are 28 kingdoms that I found with a Google search; mixed between big nations, unknown islands, leaders who are constitutional and parliamentary representatives and others that are absolute rulers of their earth.

Here are my faves!

The most famous – well that’s got to be the United Kingdom. Queen Liz is the biz, as she not only sits at the top of her island nation but also is the official Sovereign of 15 other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations including Australia, Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand.

The smallest – this title goes to the Kingdom of Tavolara, an island south of Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, inhabited by the ruler Antonio Bertoleoni, with 11 part-time residents and about 100 goats. History has it that Bertoleoni’s great-great-grandfather escaped to the island to avoid a charge of bigamy and was ceded the territory of 5km² by Carlo Alberto, King of Sardinia, in 1836. This makes Tavolara nearly 25 years older than Italy itself.

The hungriest – not the hungriest as in a kingdom with a famine issue but the ‘hungriest’ as the king with the biggest appetite. Come on down for your trophy, Tonga! King Tupou VI is descended from a long line of eaters. Size and status in Tonga have often gone together, and the Tongan King Tupou IV who died in 2006, holds the Guinness record for being the heaviest-ever monarch – 200kg.

The freest love – Swaziland wins this category for its attitude to polygamy. Though the nation’s culture is built around Christianity there is an acceptance for taking more than one wife or partner – particularly if you’re royalty. King Sobhuza who ruled from 1921–82 married 70 wives who bore him 210 children between 1920 and 1970. Busy king!

The richest – well no prize for giving a gong to the Sultan of Brunei for the size of his wallet. With a personal fortune of over $20 billion Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the absolute ruler of a small nation with huge gas reserves that permit him to dabble in collecting the world’s most expensive, beautiful, rarest, fastest and unique automobiles. Insiders say that his garages contain over 600 Rolls Royces, 300+ Ferraris, 134 Koenigeggs, 11 McLaren F1s, 6 Dauer Porsche 962 LMs, as well as others marquees that are likely too expensive to drive.

Most autocratic – Well, given the rate at which the king likes public executions by beheading, anyone connected to the House of Saud gets this horrible award. King Salman, the absolute ruler of Saudi Arabia, tops Amnesty International’s bad guy list on a number of fronts. Enough said about the Saudis.

Most loved – Without a doubt the King of Thailand is the most revered of all Monarchs. Forget the fact that insulting him will land you in jail for a good deal of time, the Thais do actually love their King Bhumibol Aduly, with his popular support across all political (and junta) spectra in Thailand and being a stabilizing influence on the country, even though his role is ceremonial.