“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” – so goes this age-old proverb. However, it is not just uneasiness in store for a monarch. Emperors globally have enjoyed and continue to enjoy luxurious lifestyles. Some even have 13 brides. The best levels of comfort that money can fetch are in store for the emperors globally. Be it the Sultan of Brunei or Queen Elizabeth, plush lifestyle is the mark of monarchy. There are currently 44 monarchies in the world and their combined royal wealth has shot up over US $10 trillion. One of the royal attractions is the palace of the King or the Queen. In this article, we will try to catch a glimpse of royal residences of some of the richest ruling monarchs in the world today along with a brief introduction about them.
Bhumibol Adulyadej – King of Thailand
Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej (L), Queen Sirikit (C) and Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn greets a crowd from the balcony of the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall at the Grand Palace on December 5, 2007, in Bangkok, Thailand.
King Bhumibol, the 80-year-old king of Thailand, is worth US$ 35 billion. He is the longest serving monarch in Thai history. He has benevolently used his royal wealth in over 3,000 rural development projects in the country. He has a world record in having the highest number of honorary university degrees (136). The royal palace in Bangkok was built in 1782. The palace consists of an aggregate of buildings on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. The total area is 218,400 sq. m. The palace has a sacred Buddha temple. You have to follow a strict dress code to enter the royal palace (this is applicable for both men and women).
Official residence: Grand Palace - Bangkok
Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud – King of Saudi Arabia
The 84-year-old king of Saudi Arabia is worth over US$ 21 billion. King Abdullah is known for his benevolence. He bore the entire expenditure of operation of Polish conjoined twins. He was reciprocated with “honorary citizenship” of the Polish town where the twins were born. The King’s palace in Riyadh is more than 1 sq. mile in area. The palace has polished stone walkways and serene water bodies. The pink palatial buildings are true architectural marvels.
Official residence: King’s Palace in Riyadh
Haji Hassanal Bolkiah – Sultan of Brunei
The 62-year Sultan of Brunei, the 29th heir to the throne of an unbroken 600-year-old Muslim dynasty, has a net asset worth of $20 billion. The Sultan has anything between 3000 to 6000 cars in his collection. The Istana Nurul Iman palace, the Sultan’s official residence, provides visitors a spectacular sight. It is the biggest palace in the world, much bigger than the Vatican palace. US$ 350 million was spent in erecting the palace. It has 1788 rooms, 257 bathrooms and the total floor area is 2,152,782 sq. feet.
Official residence: Istana Nurul Iman Palace
Hans-Adam II – Prince of Liechtenstein
The 63-year-old prince is the 15th in succession to the throne of Liechtenstein. His net worth is 5 billion US$. Castle Schloss Vaduz is his official residence. The palace overlooks the town of Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. The main alter has a late-gothic architecture. The original entrance of the spectacular palace has a height of 11 m.
Official residence: Castle Schloss Vaduz
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani – Emir of Qatar
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and his daughter and chief of staff Sheikha (Princess) Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani
Sheikh Hamad, Emir of Qatar is aged 56 and worth 2 billion US$. Sheikh Hamad is instrumental in developing Qatar’s oil and natural gas resources. His fame is also attributed to the modernization of the country’s armed forces. His Royal Palace is in Doha. He does not live there. The palace is mainly used for parliamentary affairs and for receiving guests.
Official residence: Royal Palace in Doha
Mohammed VI – King of MorrocoMorocco’s King Mohammed VI and Princess Lalla Salma
The 46-year-old Moroccan king has asset strength of 1.5 billion US$. The king is reputed for his drive to modernize the society and inject a culture of accountability. He has tried to eradicate poverty from Moroccan society. The Royal Palace in Rabat is open to the public. The king has a personal mosque within the palatial complex. The palace is famous for its lush green gardens and the entrance gates are truly majestic.
Official residence: Royal Palace in Rabat
Albert II – Prince of Monaco
Prince Albert II, aged 50, is the current ruler of the Principality of Monaco. His net worth is 1.4 billion US$. He is the first head of state to have visited the North Pole. He is also the Global Advisor to Orphans International. His palace remains open to the public during the summer. The palace hosts many functions ranging from open-air concerts to children’s Christmas parties. It has an Italian-styled gallery and lot of awesome salons. The palace has several attractions. Among them the Throne Room, which overwhelms you with memoirs of the Renaissance period, and the Sainte-Marie Tower are notable.
Official residence: Prince’s Palace of Monaco
Qaboos Bin Said – Sultan of Oman
Qaboos Bin Said, the Sultan of Oman, has royal properties worth $1.1 billion. The 67-year-old Sultan captured the throne after overthrowing his father. His riches are accounted to surplus oil production. He owns a 500 ft yacht. The Al Alam Royal Palace, the residence of the Sultan, overlooks the serene Muscat harbour. The regal palace is an exquisite marvel of art and architecture. Simply stated, the palace seems to be taken out of a fairy tale book.
Official residence: Qasr al Alam Royal Palace
Prince Karim Al Husseini Aga Khan – leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims
Prince Aga Khan, aged 71, is the spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims. Aga Khan, worth 1 billion US$, chairs the Aga Khan Development Network that invests in Asian and African development projects. He donated his palace to India in 1969 in the honor of Mahatma Gandhi and the Gandhian philosophy. The palace, located in Pune, India was built in 1892. The main aim behind construction of the Aga Khan palace was to provide employment to local people hard-hit by famine.
Official residence: Aga Khan Palace
Elizabeth II – Queen of U.K.
Queen Elizabeth II is the oldest living emperor in the history of United Kingdom at the age of 82. Her net worth is 650 million US$. She plans to rule until she becomes physically unable. The Buckingham palace is the official residence of the royals. It is also a site for hosting state occasions and welcoming international guests. The palace, having 775 rooms, is kept open for visitors on a regular basis.
Official residence: Buckingham Palace
Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah – Emir of Kuwait
It is interesting to note that Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, does not have a royal blood. He was the foreign minister of Kuwait and ascended to the throne in 2006 after the crown prince became too ill to rule. The royal wealth is estimated at 500 million US$. However, his wealth comes in the form of a stipend. He is promoting economic reforms in Kuwait currently. Dar Salwa palace is the official residence of the Emir.
Official residence: “Dar Salwa” Palace
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard – Queen of Netherlands
Queen Beatrix Armgard, the queen of Netherlands, has a net asset worth of 300 million US$. The queen is rumoured to have stepped down so that his eldest son can ascend the throne. This will make her son the first Dutch king in over a century. Huis ten Bosch Palace is the official royal palace of the queen.
Official residence: Huis ten Bosch Palace
Mswati III – King of Swaziland
King Mswati, the king of Swaziland, has a net worth of 200 million US$. The king, ascending to the throne at a tender age of 18, has reportedly spent 2.5 million US$ to celebrate 40 years of his country’s independence along with his 40th birthday. He leads a lavish lifestyle and has 13 brides. Lozitha Palace is the official residence of the king.
Official residence: Lozitha Palace
Albert II – King of Belgium
Albert, the king of Belgium, is the titular head of state. He symbolizes the entire nation and appoints the Belgian cabinet after an election. The Royal Palace in Brussels, known as Palais Royal, is the King’s palace. However, he prefers to live in Chateau de Laeken. The Royal palace is a neo-classic architectural marvel. It is open to public during summer.
Official residence: Royal Palace in Brussels
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Mizan Zainal Abidin – Sultan of Terengganu, Malaysia
Duli Yang Maha Mulia Al Wathiqu Billah, Al-Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Al-Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Al-Haj (Center)
Sultan Zainal Abidin, the Sultan of Terengganu, is the youngest Malay ruler. There are six sultans in Malaysia. One of these six, in this case Yang Zainal Abidin, has been elected as the King of Malaysia. He is the constitutional head of the country. His official residence is Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur. The palace has a ground area of 28 acres. It overlooks the Klang River.
Official residence: Istana Negara - Kuala Lumpur
Margaret II – Queen of Denmark
Margaret II, the queen of Denmark, is a great painter. She is also known for her addiction to tobacco. The queen has multiple palaces. The winter residence is at Amalienborg palace; the summer residence is at Marselisborg palace (or Graasten Palace or on the royal yacht); and the spring and autumn residence is at Fredensborg Palace.
Official residence: Amalienborg Palace ( winter )
Akihito – the Emperor of Japan
Emperor Akihito is the 125th emperor of Japan. His rule is now merely ceremonial. The king is considered to be a direct descendent of God. The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the official residence of the emperor. It is open to the public on just two days of the year – January 2, when the king wishes New Year to his subjects, and on December 23rd – his birthday.
Official residence: Imperial Palace in Tokyo
Abdullah II – King of Jordan
King Abdullah is the constitutional head of Jordon and retains substantial power. He has contributed greatly to the economic revival of the country and he is applauded for his pro-reform outlook. He is an alumnus of the Oxford University. The Raghadan Palace is the official residence of the King.
Official residence: Raghadan Palace
Henri – Grand Duke of LuxemburgHenri, the Grand Duke, is the head of the state of Luxemburg. He is known for his anti-euthanasia stands. Interestingly, he is a member of the International Olympic committee. The Grand Ducal Palace is his official residence. It is an awesome palace, located in the middle of the city. Built in 1572 as a town hall, it has become a palace replete with history.
Official residence: The Grand Ducal Palace
Harald V – King of NorwayHarald V is the king of Norway. The king has no real powers, but only ceremonial authority. He resides in the Royal Palace in Oslo. The palace was built in the first half of the 19th century.
Official residence: Royal Palace, Oslo
Juan Carlos I – King of Spain
Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain, is highly popular among his subjects. He helped in establishing democratic governance in Spain. The Royal Palace in Madrid is the designated residence of the King, although the king prefers to live in a smaller palace on the outskirts of Madrid. The Royal Palace is still used for state occasions. It is the largest palace in Western Europe. It has a total area of 135,000 sq. m and has over 2800 rooms.
Official residence: The Royal Palace of Madrid
Carl XVI Gustaf – King of Sweden
The present monarch of Sweden is King Carl XVI Gustaf. He is the seventh king in the Bernadotte dynasty of Sweden. The Royal Palace of Stockholm is the official residence of the king. However, the private residence of the royal family is the Drottningholm palace. The palace has 609 rooms and is considered as one of the largest royal palaces in the world.
Official residence: Royal Palace of Stockholm
Norodom Sihamoni – King of Combodia
Norodom Sihamoni is the king of Combodia, although under the present constitution, he has no real power. The royal palace of Phnom Penh is his official residence. The palace was constructed over a century ago and it hosts all major ceremonial functions of the country. Foreign dignitaries also stay here.
Official residence: Royal Palace of Phnom Penh
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk – The Dragon king of Bhutan
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchukm is the Dragon king of the secluded Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The Oxford-educated bachelor of 28 years is the youngest reigning monarch in the world. The Tashichoedzong Palace is the official residence of the royal family. The palace houses the government and the central clergy of monks. It remains open to the public during festivals, weekends, and after office hours.
Official residence: Tashichoedzong Palace
George Tupou V – The king of Tonga
George Tupou V is the ruler of the Polynesian archipelago that consists of 150 islands. The king lives in the royal palace of Nukualofa, the capital. The palace is wooden and is not open to the people. The king made strong fencing arrangements after some people broke the old, sacred fence after 1990.
Official residence: Royal Palace, Nuku’alofa Tonga
Letsie III – The king of Lesotho
Letsie III is the king of Lesotho. Interestingly, Lesotho is the only independent state in the world that lies over 1000 meters above sea level. The Royal Palace in Maseru is the official residence of the king.
Official residence: Royal Palace in Maseru, Lesotho
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