King (title)


May 17, 2022

King is the second highest royal title after emperor. This title denotes the (male) head of state of a kingdom. The female equivalent is called a queen. Often a kingdom is referred to as monarchy. Although a kingdom is a monarchy, not every monarchy has a king or queen as head of state: in Monaco and Liechtenstein the function of head of state is exercised by a monarch and in Luxembourg by a grand duke. In all these cases there is a monarch.


Historically, in some tribes and peoples, the title of king was given to the highest authority. Originally, the king was often chosen. Among the Germans, for example, these were mainly 'vegetation kings', who had to guarantee the fertility of the crops and victory in battle. Gradually, the title became hereditary. Thus, the kings of France were initially chosen. The quote is from Adalbero van Reims; Kingship is not acquired on the basis of inheritance; one must only raise him to the throne, who is distinguished both by his physical goodness and by his spiritual wisdom, strengthened by faith and sustained by magnanimity. With this he paved the way for the election of Hugh Capet. In the two centuries that followed, however, this family gained such prestige that the title became hereditary. Originally, the kings crowned their helmets with a golden band decorated with leaf-shaped resurrections on the top. The Dutch Royal Crown was established in 1816 by Royal Decree or Cabinet Order (24.6.1816 no. 77). Because the king is the highest person in the land, he is not part of the nobility, but is above it.

Current situation

Currently there are more kings than kingdoms worldwide. Several members of royal houses bear the title king(ess) without being head of state, the title remains until death. This applies to Kings Juan Carlos, King Albert, King Constantine and King Simeon. They are recognized by the nobility and in diplomatic relations as kings with the predicate of Majesty, but they have no constitutional power.


In the Netherlands, the title has existed since 1806 when Lodewijk Napoleon was appointed king of the kingdom of Holland (1806-1810). After the French era, the sovereignty was dedicated in 1813 to Willem Frederik, Prince of Orange-Nassau, thereafter called King Willem I of the Netherlands. Willem I first held the title of Sovereign Prince, but after the union with present-day Belgium at the Congress of Vienna, Willem was allowed to bear the title 'King' from 1815, after a laborious lobby. The Netherlands was continuously ruled by a queen from 1890 to 30 April 2013, as the successive legal heirs had no male successors. In 1983, the Salic Act was completely abolished in the Netherlands, so that Princess Catharina-Amalia will succeed King Willem-Alexander, even if the King has another son. In 1887 the possibility had already been created that the king would be succeeded by a daughter, namely in the absence of a son. In the Netherlands, the queen's husband is called the prince consort while the king's wife is informally called queen.


After the revolution of 1830, and following the foundation of Belgium as a sovereign country, Belgium is still ruled by kings to this day. Until 2003, due to the strict application of the Salic Act, the constitutional power of the king passed by hereditary to the legal, natural and male descendants of H.M. Leopold Joris Christiaan Frederik van Saksen-Coburg-Gotha (King Leopold I of Belgium). In 1992, however, the Constitution was amended so that women can also succeed. It should be noted that this only applies to the descendants of King Albert II. Between 1993 and 2013, King Albert II ruled over his brother B .