Popular monarchy

Popular monarchy is a term used by Kingsley Martin (1936) for monarchical titles referring to a people rather than a territory.[1] This was the norm in classical antiquity and throughout much of the Middle Ages, and such titles were retained in some of the monarchies of 19th- and 20th-century Europe.

During the French Revolution Louis XVI had to change his title to indicate he was "king of the French" rather than "king of France", paralleling the title of "king of the Franks" (rex Francorum) used in medieval France.

Currently, Belgium has the only explicit popular monarchy, the formal title of its king being King of the Belgians rather than King of Belgium.

List of royal and imperial titles

Country Title Notes
Kingdom of Albania King of the Albanians Used by Zog I, the King the Kingdom of Albania, from 1928 de facto to 1939, and de jure until 1946. Victor Emmanuel III, who claimed the Albanian throne between 1939 and 1943, used the title King of Albania.
Kingdom of Belgium King of the Belgians Used since the constitutional oath of Leopold I in 1831. The Belgian popular monarchy is the sole currently in use. The holders of the title have been Leopold I, Leopold II, Albert I, Leopold III, Baudouin, Albert II, and currently Philippe.
Bulgarian Empire Emperor of the Bulgarians Variants: Ruler of the many Bulgarians, Emperor of the Bulgarians and the Romans, Tsar of the Bulgarians, Emperor of Bulgarians and Vlachs, the Romanslayer, Emperor of the Bulgarians and the Greeks, In Christ the Lord Faithful Emperor and Autocrat of the Bulgarians, In Christ the Lord Faithful Emperor and Autocrat of all Bulgarians and Greeks
Kingdom of Bulgaria King of the Bulgarians The official title of Ferdinand I in 1908–1918, Ferdinand's son Boris III (1918–1943) and Boris' son Simeon II (1943 – at least to 1946) was: by the Grace of God and the People's Will King of the Bulgarians. Ferdinand I was elected by the National Assembly as Prince of Bulgaria in 1887.
Kingdom of the Burgundians King of the Burgundians The title was used from Gjúki to Godomar.
Byzantine Empire Emperor of the Romans Used in the Greek form basileus Rhomaíōn at least since Emperor Maurice.
Kingdom of Croatia King of the Croats Kralj Hrvata in Croatian, Rex Chroatorum in Medieval Latin, which was later extended to King of the Croats and the Dalmatians (Kralj Hrvata i Dalmatinaca or Rex Chroatorum Dalmatarumque).
Kingdom of England King of the Anglo-Saxons or King of the English Rex Anglorum Saxonum or Rex Anglorum in Medieval Latin. Used by the Anglo-Saxon kings of England. The title King of the Anglo-Saxons was first adopted by Alfred the Great when the people of Mercia accepted him as their ruler in the late 9th century. The first king to style himself King of the English was Æthelstan when he conquered the Norse Kingdom of York in 927, making him the first ruler of a united England.
Kingdom of East Anglia King of the East Angles Latin: Rex Orientalium Anglorum
Kingdom of Essex King of the East Saxons Latin: Rex Orientalem Saxonum
East Francia King of the East Franks Latin: Rex Francorum orientalium
King of the Franks
Used by the Carolingians from Pepin the Short. Also used in medieval France and by the Ottonian Holy Roman Emperors-elect.
Frankish Empire
Kingdom of France (West Francia)
King of the West Franks Latin: Rex Francorum occidentalium
King of the French Used by Louis XVI from 1791 to 1792, and by Louis Philippe I from 1830 until 1848.
French Empire Emperor of the French Used by Napoleon I, Napoleon II (however briefly and ceremonially), and Napoleon III during their various reigns.
Kingdom of the Gepids King of the Gepids
Holy Roman Empire King of the Romans, Roman King; King of the Germans Titles of the Emperors-elect. Latin: Rex Romanorum/Teutonicorum, German: König der Römer, Römischer König, König der Deutschen
Emperor of the Romans Official title of the Holy Roman Emperors; Latin: Imperator Romanorum
German-Roman Emperor English realisation of the common German-language title for the Holy Roman Emperors: Römisch-deutscher Kaiser; literally: Roman-German Emperor
Kingdom of the Gewisse King of the Gewisse Title later became King of the West Saxons as the Gewisse expanded (see Kingdom of Wessex)
Kingdom of Götaland King of the Geats Götar konung in Swedish, Rex Getarum/Gothorum in Medieval Latin. Title attributed to legendary and historical kings of the North Germanic Geats.
Kingdom of Greece King of the Hellenes Used for the monarchs until the monarchy's abolition in 1973 (the King had been in exile since 1967).
Kingdom of Kent King of the Cantware (Kentish Men) Latin: Rex Cantuariorum
Khazar Khaganate Khagan of the Khazars
Kingdom of the Lombards King of the Lombards Rex Langobardorum in Medieval Latin.
Kingdom of the Ostrogoths King of the Ostrogoths
Kingdom of Portugal King of the Portuguese The first Portuguese king, Afonso Henriques, used the style King of the Portuguese (Rex Portugalensium), to remember that he was elected on the battlefield, after the Battle of Ourique (1139), by his fellows and subjects; their descendants, instead, used the style of King of Portugal (Rex Portugaliae or later in Rei de Portugal).
Roman Empire Roman Emperor Used in the Latin form Imperator romanus.
Kingdom of Romania King of the Romanians Used from 1881 until 1947. The holders of the title were Carol I, Ferdinand I, Carol II and Michael I.
Kingdom of the Rugii King of the Rugii
Kingdom of Scotland King of Scots This usage became less common with William III and Mary II, who chose to be called King and Queen of Scotland. The Acts of Union 1707 abolished the Scottish and English thrones and created the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Kingdom of Serbia / Serbian Empire King of Serbia and Emperor of the Serbs Used between 1346 and 1371. цар Срба и Грка / car Srba i Grka in Serbian. This title was soon enlarged into "Emperor and Autocrat of all the Serbs and Greeks, the Bulgarians, Vlachs and Albanians".[2][3][4]
Kingdom of Serbia / Kingdom of Yugoslavia King of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes or King of Yugoslavia Used from 1918 to 1929, when the title was changed to King of Yugoslavia. The holders of the title were Peter I and Alexander I.
Kingdom of the Suebi King of the Suevi in Galicia
Kingdom of Sussex King of The South Saxons Latin: Rex Sussaxonum, Rex Suthaxonum
Kingdom of Sweden King of the Swedes, the Goths, and the Wends Used in the Swedish form Sveriges, Götes och Vendes konung until 1973. Thereafter simply King of Sweden (Sveriges konung).
Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans King of the Vandals
Kingdom of the Visigoths King of the Visigoths
Principality of Wales Prince of the Welsh Evolving from King of the Britons, before mediatising in the 12th century as Prince of the Welsh. Eventually, Dafydd II of Gwynedd and Wales adopted the title Prince of Wales to denote suzerainty over the whole of Wales, not just the Welsh people.
Kingdom of Wessex King of the West Saxons

See also


  1. ^ Martin, Kingsley (April 1936), "The Evolution of Popular Monarchy", Political Quarterly, 7 (2): 155–78, doi:10.1111/j.1467-923X.1936.tb01608.x .
  2. ^ Hupchick 1995, p. 141 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFHupchick1995 (help)
  3. ^ Clissold 1968, p. 98 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFClissold1968 (help)
  4. ^ White 2000, p. 246 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFWhite2000 (help)


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