75

It is mostly due to the differing social attitudes of the day, but the legal position was also different in 1936. The Wikipedia page is pretty clear about the social attitudes, but I'll try to explain the legal issues here. In 1936 the Church of England opposed remarriage after divorce. Furthermore, at that time, the Church of England considered adultery to ...


73

Norodom Sihanouk was crowned King of Cambodia on 3 May 1941. At the time, Cambodia was a colony of France, so he was not really a head of state yet. But he remained king, and therefore head of state, of Cambodia when the country became independent on 9 November 1953. He then abdicated on 2 March 1955. After that point, Norodom Sihanouk was appointed prime ...


66

First, a few general observations: The time period covered here is more than 3,000 years and we know very little about many of the Pharaohs. Also, there were different scripts which evolved over time and one has to consider that a pharaoh may well not know the language used by scribes for international diplomatic communication. This would appear to be the ...


58

They're maintained as a matter of tradition, which is not unusual in monarchies. It's used both for prestige and as a relic of an era when European diplomacy revolved around territorial claims of the monarchs. That said, most titles do have clear geographical or dynastic sources. If you do find one that seems strange, leave a comment and I'll see if I can ...


57

Here are six brothers, sons of Abdul Aziz (1902-53), who have been (and the most recent still is) Kings of Saudi Arabia: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/House_of_Saud_rulers.svg/1024px-House_of_Saud_rulers.svg.png


55

It turns out William IV wasn't called the "Sailor King" for nothing. He was a younger son of George III and thus didn't expect ever to become king. His naval career began at the age of thirteen as a midshipman, in the late 1770s. He later served in NYC (British-occupied) during the Revolution, and George Washington actually plotted to kidnap him....


53

As Mark C. Wallace's comment points, the answer depends on what you see as a good king. However, there are kings who became kings while children and are still regarded as great kings - at least, among the most famous in their countries. Two examples: Louis XIV of France: king at 4 years old, declared to have reached the age of majority (and regency ended) ...


41

Seven brothers Seven of the sons of Ismail Ibn Sharif of the Morocco Alaouite dynasty were monarchs. Ismail ruled from 1672 to 1727 and had 525 sons and 342 daughters according to Wikipedia (or 888 according to the Guiness Book of Records). Control changed hands many times. The ones who became Sultan were: Ahmad ruled 1727–1728, then 1728–1729 Abdul Malek ...


40

This is a little stretch from your question, but Simeon II of Bulgaria ruled as Tsar of Bulgaria from 1943 to 1946, before later serving as Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 2001 to 2005. This is an impressive gap of 55 years, with the obvious caveat that he didn't "reclaim his throne", coming back to power as the elected prime minister of a ...


39

The Middle Ages was not particularly known for being a civil and orderly period. Leopold V had no authority of any kind to arrest Richard I. He did it simply because he wanted to, and could. The illegality of the act is reflected by the fact that it drew official sanction from the Church: Pope Celestine III excommunicated Leopold, and compelled him to ...


38

King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) The existing answers have not given examples of Kings from British History. James VI became King in Scotland as a baby of 13 months, following the enforced abdication of his Mother, Mary Queen of Scots. He played a difficult hand well, and avoided the civil wars and discontent that would affect the ...


38

Yes, George I was indeed able to speak English. Not particularly well, mind you, but also not nearly as incapably as popular history portrays. In fact, he even opened his first Parliament in English: George is reported, when seated on the throne, to have uttered the words following; but, notwithstanding all the drilling to which he submitted, it must have ...


37

Mental illness wasn't perceived as a medical condition until recent centuries. It became notional that it might be during the Enlightenment, and it only captured the popular imagination that it was with Freud. There were still hereditary autocratic monarchies around then, but I'd stick my neck out and suggest that the main argument against them until that ...


34

Peter the Great of Russia took the throne at age 10, and Ivan the Terrible (who was terrifying, not incompetent) became Prince of Moscow at age 3. Both of them were successful at centralizing power, modernizing the country and conquering its neighbors. Ivan did a lot of other things that we’d consider bad today, and Peter survived several power struggles ...


33

One thing I'm not seeing in the answers so far is that having been married prior wasn't the only strike against Wallis Simpson. She: Was not nobility Was not British Had been divorced not once, but twice. Was rumored to have cheated on both husbands. One of these dalliances reportedly resulted in an aborted pregnancy via Mussolini's brother-in-law. Morality ...


33

Among the rulers we're pretty certain about: William IV of Henneberg-Schleusingen lived for ~84 years. Note that Henneberg-Schleusingen was a princely state within the Holy Roman Empire, so whether he counts as "monarch" depends on your definitions. In any case this was the tail end of the Middle Ages - his reign started in 1480, but it was early modern ...


32

Leotychidas II of Sparta During the Greco-Persian Wars, King Leotychidas II of Sparta (reigned 491 to 476 BC) was appointed admiral in overall command of the Greek fleet in 479 BC, while he was king. He was in command at the time of the naval / land battle at Mykale. This was the only time we know of that a Spartan king held this rank. Note that Leotychidas ...


31

According to this book both Prince Albert and Prince Edward (who became King Edward VII) attended lectures by Faraday, but it seems to be Albert who was the real fan. Michael Faraday (1791-1867), a self-educated, English Physicist and chemist whose lectures for the public in the 1840's became so popular that they helped save the Royal Institution of Great ...


31

tl;dr: No, at least not in the sense suggested. The earliest source of something akin to this story, seems to be the 1584 Historie of Cambria, now called Wales, the first printed history of Wales. The author, a Welsh cleric called David Powel, wrote that: He called the Welshmen togither, declaring unto them, that whereas they were oftentimes suters unto ...


29

During the First World War, King Albert I of Belgium assumed personal command of the Belgian Armed Forces. He wasn't just visiting the front - he went into the fields with his troops and commanded them in the fighting, including at the pivotal Battle of the Yser. I don't know if this counts as "taking part in military actions" - it kind of depends on ...


29

The Danish King Erik I Ejegod (The Good) died in Paphos, Cyprus, 1736 miles / 2794 km from the then capital of Denmark, Roskilde. Erik, who was born around 1056 or 1060 and reigned from 1095 to 1103, was the fourth of five brothers (sons of Sweyn II Estridsson) who all became King of Denmark (not concurrently, they reigned at different times between 1076 ...


29

Perhaps Charles XII in 1713. The king himself killed at least one Ottoman soldier with his sword in hand-to-hand combat when he and Roos came under attack by 3 Ottomans. During parts of the fighting, Charles was also actively sniping with a carbine against the assaulting enemy from a window in his sleeping quarters, positioned in the building ...


26

@SteveBird makes a good point. You would have to go a good way back to find any ancestor of Britain's present Queen who was actually born in Germany. But the reason for so many Germans in the 18th & 19th centuries may have been due to the fact that there were so many German royals. In 1866 there were 42 German states, including Austria and Prussia. ...


24

Vlad Tepes, 14 years Vlad III first ruled as Voïvode of Vallachia for of couple of months in 1448, then from 1456 to 1462 (after a first gap of 5 and a half years), and reclaimed his throne again in late 1476, after a second gap of 14 years. He died shortly after, but his nickname of Dracula found its way to posterity and pop culture.


23

Section 61 of the Constitution says "The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative [...]". Prime Minister Robert Menzies had to pass a Parliamentary standing order specially for Queen Elizabeth to be able to open Parliament when she visited Australia in 1954 because ...


23

Because for society as a whole, a peaceful transition of power is infinitely more important than honoring whatever rights a bastard might claim. The most dangerous time for any kingdom (or nation, really) is the interregnum between the passing of the old leader and the assumption of power by the next. Kingdoms which had a well-ordered process surely tended ...


22

King Haakon VII of Norway was present in active combat zones during the German invasion of Norway in 1940. King Michael I of Romania was head of state and the official military commander in chief of Romania from 1940 to 1944, although he did not direct the fighting. In 1944 he staged an armed coup, ousting military dictator Ion Antonescu. If you consider ...


21

I am not well enough read in French history and governance to offer a good answer, so I shall offer a poor answer. Note: Others have provides more learned explanations of whether he said it; I shall focus on what he could have meant, had he said it. My understanding of the comment attributed to Louis is that all the governance of France originated in and was ...


20

In general, people fight over thrones because of the power it represents. For Japan, the tennō was not particularly powerful in the first place, but moreover lost secular power quite early in Japanese history. For most of the last 1,200 years, true political power was decoupled from the imperial title. Hence while many factions fought for power in Japan, ...


20

Alexander the Great may be the most famous example. His son Alexander IV was born after his death. What is typically supposed to be done in this case is that the duties of the new monarch are carried out on his (usually not a "her") behalf by someone else until the rightful heir is of legal age in their country to fully assume the throne. This is called a ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible