A royal family is the immediate family of a or , and sometimes his or her extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an or , and the term papal family describes the family of a , while the terms baronial family, comitial family, ducal family, grand ducal family, or princely family are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning , , , , or . However, in common parlance members of any family which by hereditary right are often referred to as royalty or "royals." It is also customary in some circles to refer to the extended relations of a deposed and his or her descendants as a royal family. As of July 2013, there are 27 active sovereign monarchies in the world who rule or reign over 43 countries in all.

Members of a royal family Edit

A royal family typically includes the spouse of the reigning monarch, surviving spouses of a deceased monarch, the children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and paternal cousins of the reigning monarch, as well as their spouses. In some cases, royal family membership may extend to great grandchildren and more distant descendants of a monarch. In certain monarchies where voluntary is the norm, such as the , a royal family may also include one or more former monarchs. There is often a distinction between persons of the blood royal and those that marry into the royal family. In certain instances, such as in Canada, the royal family is defined by who holds the styles and . Under most systems, only persons in the first category are dynasts, that is, potential successors to the throne (unless the member of the latter category is also in line to the throne in their own right, a frequent occurrence in royal families which frequently intermarry). This is not always observed; some monarchies have operated by the principle of .

In addition, certain relatives of the monarch (by blood or marriage) possess special privileges and are subject to certain statutes, conventions, or special common law. The precise functions of a royal family vary depending on whether the polity in question is an , a , or somewhere in between. In certain monarchies, such as that found in or , or in political systems where the monarch actually exercises executive power, such as in , it is not uncommon for the members of a royal family to hold important government posts or military commands. In most constitutional monarchies, however, members of a royal family perform certain public, social, or ceremonial functions, but refrain from any involvement in electoral politics or the actual governance of the country.

The specific composition of royal families varies from country to country, as do the titles and held by members of the family. The composition of the royal family may be regulated by statute enacted by the legislature (e.g. Spain, the , and Japan since 1947), the sovereign's prerogative and common law tradition (e.g. the United Kingdom), or a private house law (e.g., , the former ruling houses of , , , etc.). Public statutes, constitutional provisions, or conventions may also regulate the marriages, names, and personal titles of royal family members. The members of a royal family may or may not have a surname or dynastic name (see ).

In a constitutional monarchy, when the monarch dies, there is always a law or tradition of succession to the throne that either specifies a formula for identifying the precise among family members in line to the throne or specifies a process by which a family member is chosen to inherit the crown. Usually in the former case the exact among royal individuals may be identified at any given moment during prior (e.g. , , , , , , ) whereas in the latter case the next sovereign may be selected (or changed) only during the reign or shortly after the demise of the immediately preceding monarch (e.g. , , , , , , ). Some monarchies employ a mix of these selection processes (, , , , ), providing for both an identifiable line of succession as well as authority for the monarch, dynasty or other institution to alter the line in specific instances without changing the general law of succession. Some countries have royalty altogether, as in post-revolutionary France (finally in 1870) and Russia (1917).

Current Royal Families Edit

Africa Edit

  • Lesotho Royal Family
  • Moroccan Royal Family
  • Swazi Royal Family
  • Zulu Royal Family

Americas Edit

  • Antiguan and Barbudan Royal Families
  • Bahamian Royal Family
  • Barbadian Royal Family
  • Belizean Royal Family
  • Canadian Royal Family
  • Grenadian Royal Family
  • Jamaican Royal Family
  • Kittitian and Nevisian Royal Families
  • Saint Lucian Royal Family
  • Vincentian Royal Family

Asia Edit

  • Bruneian Royal Family
  • Bhutanese Royal Family
  • Cambodian Royal Family
  • Japanese Royal Family
  • Javanese Royal Family
    • Yogyakarta Royal Families
      • Yogyakarta Royal Family
      • Pakualam Royal Family
    • Surakarta Royal Families
      • Surakarta Royal Family
      • Mangkunegaran Royal Family
    • Malaysian Royal Families
      • Johor Royal Family
      • Kedah Royal Family
      • Kelantan Royal Family
      • Negeri Sembilan Royal Family
      • Pahang Royal Family
      • Perak Royal Family
      • Perlis Royal Family
      • Selangor Royal Family
      • Terengganu Royal Family
    • Thai Royal Family

Europe Edit

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