With the King of Spain recently abdicating and handing the throne over to his son, we thought it be a good time to look in on our world's real-life Game Of Thrones. I for one have a bunch of questions. First of all, Spain has a king? Who knew? How many other nations have kings? Ten? Twelve? Nope. WAY MORE! 45 nations have monarchs. 45 nations! But don't get too excited. 16 of those, including the UK, are commonwealth realms like Canada or Australia that recognize Queen Elizabeth The Second as their Monarch, so there actually aren't that many people who could be considered "Kings", or queens, or Emirs, or Sultans...or whatever, we're just going to say "kings" to make this simple. In total, there are 30.
The vast majority are part of constitutional monarchies, and largely act as ceremonial figureheads. But who cares about those! Where are our real Game of Thrones style kings? The ones with absolute power and blood rights to the throne? YOU WIN OR YOU DIE!
Well, Saudi Arabia's king has almost absolute power. He has to follow Sharia Law, and take advice from a council of other family members.
Plus, the line of succession doesn't necessarily go from the father to the son. The royal family as a whole can decide to pass over someone if there's a better fit waiting in the wings.
The king of Swaziland technically has absolute power, but also has to manage an elaborate parliamentary system, which is partially elected and partially assigned by himself. Plus, there is a co-king of sorts who handles "spiritual" aspects of his reign. But it looks like that person has little to no power.
Bahrain claims to be a constitutional monarchy, but from what we can tell, Bahrain's king has absolute power and is committing a ton of human right's violations. Not cool, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah. Not Cool.
The United Arab Emirates is led by a Federal Supreme Council of seven Emirs but the Presidency of the council is inherited, and from what we can tell, he has almost absolute power, making them more of a hereditary monarchy in the traditional sense than a council.
The Sultan of Brunei has absolute power and is a king in the "I rule everything and can do whatever I want" Game of Thrones type of way. So is the Sultan of Oman and the Emir of Qatar. All three nations have parliaments or councils that do some advising, but they are totally controlled by the king. The king has absolute power, and when the King dies his next of kin will take over.
There is one final King with absolute power...The Pope. He is technically the monarch of Vatican City, which is its own nation. He can by decree do whatever he wants. But when we say Game Of Thrones type king, we don't mean the pope. Plus, the Pope can't even have kids so the heredity thing is out the window. VOCABULARY
1. abdicate: v. 退位 If a king or queen abdicates, he or she gives up being king or queen. e.g. The last French king was Louis Philippe, who abdicated in 1848. 2. emir: n. 埃米尔（对穆斯林统治者）An emir is a Muslim ruler. 3. sultan: n. 苏丹（某些穆斯林国家的统治者的称法）A sultan is a ruler in some Muslim countries. 4. figurehead: n. 傀儡 If someone is the figurehead of an organization or movement, they are recognized as being its leader, although they have little real power. e.g. The president will be little more than a figurehead. 5. Sharia: n. 伊斯兰教教法 the body of canonical law based on the Koran that lays down certain duties and penalties for Muslims 6. succession: n. 继位，继位权 Succession is the act or right of being the next person to have an important job or position. e.g. She is now seventh in line of succession to the throne. 7. wait in the wings: 严阵以待，准备就绪 e.g. Even so, the third generation, now waiting in the wings, will have to wait a bit longer 8. elaborate: adj. 复杂的 You use elaborate to describe something that is very complex because it has a lot of different parts. e.g. an elaborate research project 9. hereditary: adj. 世袭的 A title or position in society that is hereditary is one that is passed on as a right from parent to child. e.g. The position of the head of state is hereditary. 10. decree: n. 法令 A decree is an official order or decision, especially one made by the ruler of a country. e.g. In July he issued a decree ordering all unofficial armed groups in the country to disband.