The 21st century witnesses the spread of sovereignty and democracy, yet monarchies are playing a significant role in the political and social landscape of different parts of the world. A total of 28 monarchies are prevalent across the world, ranging from the absolute monarchies such as Vatican City, to the constitutional democracies, like in most of the European nations. These are passively employed in the political roles as well as shape the work in the arena of soft power and diplomatic relations.
An imperial family is associated with the immediate family of an emperor or empress. However, in common parlance, members of any family which reigns by hereditary right are referred to as ‘royals.’ They engage in day to day activities of diplomacy and showcase cultural values of the nation rather than exerting power through coercion and payments.
These engagements include hosting heads of state, opening sessions of parliament, attending award ceremonies, diplomatic trips, approving and looking over matters of governance, presenting titles of honor and maintaining the nations fortune of wealth.
Though the autonomous powers are curtailed by national constituencies, and diminished their exercise of hard power, the power to persuade, unite, inspire without the threat of punishment has increased. The play more than one role in the global politics and social realms.
The top 10 richest royals around the world are:
- King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Thailand): The formal turning over of the multi-billion-dollar fortune to the King by the royal family, resulted in the monarch becoming the wealthiest royal in the world. The assets worth US $ 30 billion, are now under the direct supervision of the king and is defined as the monarch’s personal assets. The king is also the owner of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world. Vajiralongkorn, ascended the throne following the death of his father in 2016, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
- Hassanal Bolkiah (Brunei): Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is the first and incumbent Prime Minister of Brunei. He is world’s second longest reigning current monarch after Queen Elizabeth. As estimated by Forbes, he is said to be the third wealthiest royal in the world with wealth net worth US $20 billion.
- King Abdullah (Saudi Arabia): Considered as one of the most powerful people of the world, the King died in 2015. He was previously one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchs, he was also the custodian of Islam’s two holiest cities and presided over the largest oil producer in Middle-East. He had a wealth of net worth US $18 billion, making him of the richest royals of the world.
- Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (UAE): The Emirati politician, is the incumbent President of the United Arab Emirates and the supreme commander of the Union Defense Force. The Emir of Abu Dhabi is said to have wealth of net value US $15 billion.The tallest man-made structure of the world was renamed ‘Burj Khalifa’ from ‘Burj Dubai,’ to honor the Sheikh.
- Mohammed VI (Morocco): The King of Morocco, is a leading businessman and a banker. As estimated by Forbes, the King is said to have wealth of net worth US $5.7 billion, making him as one of the wealthiest royals of the world. His famous socio-political reforms, addressed to the nation resulted in various changes in the governance and social realms of the country.
- Hans Adam II (Liechtenstein): The reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, also bears the tile of Duke of Troppau and Jagerndorf and Count Rietberg. Said to be the richest monarch in all of Europe, he has a wealth of net worth US $3.5 billion. The prince owns the LGT banking group and is one of the richest royals of the world. He has an extensive art collection, much of which is displayed at the Liechtenstein museum in Vienna.
- Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (UAE): The Prime Minister and Vice-President of United Arab Emirates is the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. He is responsible for the growth of Dubai city, overseeing many development projects in the country, while also driving the construction of the world’s tallest building: Burj Khalifa. The Emir of Dubai is said have an estimated wealth of net worth US $4.5 billion. He is also known to make charitable donations and to create the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation.
- Grand Duke Henri (Luxembourg): The current head of the Ducal family, Grand Duke Henri, became the heir to the Luxembourg throne after the abdication of his paternal grandmother. Formerly, a member of Council of States, the Duke immediately took the constitutional oath following the death of his father. The royal family is the exclusive owner of the private fortune of the Grand Duke’s House. They are reported to own a fortune with net worth US $4 billion.
- Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (Qatar): Member of the ruling Al Thani family, he was the ruling Emir of Qatar till 2013. The Sheikh was deposed by his son in a bloodless palace coup. His reign was considered a real turning point in the history of the nation, acquiring vast wealth due to the discovery of the untapped oil fields in the region. He was said to have an estimated wealth net worth US $2.4 billion, is also responsible for establishing the first Arab global news network, Al Jazeera.
- Albert II (Monaco): The reigning Monarch of the Principality of Monaco, is also the head of the Princely House of Grimaldi. He is one of the richest royals of the world with asset valued at US $ 1billion, including land in France and Monaco. His wealth includes holdings in the ‘Societe Des Bains De mer De Monaco,’ a company that manages the riches of the Monte Carlo casino and Opera de Monte-Carlo.