Famous 20th Century Emperors & Kings

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 1 Hirohito

Hirohito.
14
Famous As: Former Emperor of Japan
Birthdate: April 29, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Died: January 7, 1989
Hirohito, or Emperor Showa, the longest-reigning Japanese emperor, reigned from 1926 to 1989 and supported the Axis Powers during World War II. He also served in the Japanese military. He was not prosecuted for war crimes by the U.S. and played a major role in the post-war reconstruction of Japan.

 2 Haile Selassie

Haile Selassie.
10
Famous As: Emperor of Ethiopia
Birthdate: July 23, 1892
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ejersa Goro, Ethiopia
Died: August 27, 1975

Haile Selassie, served his country, Ethiopia, as its regent from 1916 to 1930 and as its emperor from 1930 to 1974. He introduced the first Ethiopian constitution, abolished slavery, chaired the Organisation of African Unity, and helped Ethiopia enter the UN. He inspired the Rastafari movement, too.

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 3 George V

George V.
27
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 3, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marlborough House, London, England
Died: January 20, 1936

George V became the King of Great Britain and the British Dominions in 1910. During the World War I, he played an active role in supporting the troops. The rise of socialism, communism, fascism and the Indian independence movement was witnessed during his rule. His reign also saw the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons established by the Parliament.

 4 George VI

George VI.
31
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: December 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: York Cottage, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Died: February 6, 1952
The last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth, King George VI was the King of the United Kingdom for fifteen years. He served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force before reluctantly inheriting the throne and becoming a symbol of courage during WWII. His determination also helped him in his struggle with stammering.

 5 Emperor Meiji

Emperor Meiji.
6
Famous As: Emperor of Japan
Birthdate: November 3, 1852
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, Kyoto, Yamashiro Province, Japan
Died: July 30, 1912

Emperor Meiji of Japan presided over the all-round revolutionary transformation of his empire which emerged as a strong force on the global scene during his reign. His policies and actions led to Japan’s rapid growth and ended its isolation from the rest of the world. One of the noted changes during rule was the abolition of special privileges of samurais.

 6 George I of Greece

George I of Greece.
8
Famous As: King of Greece
Birthdate: December 24, 1845
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: March 18, 1913

George I of Greece reigned as the king of Greece from 1863 until his murder in 1913. During his reign of nearly 50 years, which is the longest in the history of modern Greece, George helped expand Greece's territory significantly. During his reign, Greece also became increasingly prosperous and attained a popular place on the European stage.

 7 Bhumibol Adulyadej

Bhumibol Adulyadej.
10
Famous As: Former King of Thailand
Birthdate: December 5, 1927
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Died: October 13, 2016

Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Chakri dynasty reigned as the ninth monarch of Thailand. Reigning from 1946 until his death in 2016, Adulyadej is the second-longest reigning monarch in the history. During his reign, Bhumibol Adulyadej retained enormous constitutional powers and was extremely popular among his subjects, with some even seeing him as close to divine.

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 8 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
37
Famous As: Last Shah of Iran
Birthdate: October 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehran
Died: July 27, 1980

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi served as the last king of Iran from 1941 to 1979. During his reign, Iran witnessed rapid military and industrial modernization and several social and economic reforms. During his rule, Iran also enjoyed a spike in economic growth, surpassing France, England, and the US. However, the Iranian Revolution, which was unusual in many ways, overthrew the king.

 9 King Hussein of Jordan

King Hussein of Jordan.
8
Famous As: King of Jordan
Birthdate: November 14, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Amman
Died: February 7, 1999

King Hussein of Jordan reigned as the king of Jordan from 1952 to 1999. As a royal member of the House of Hashim, Hussein was a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad. At the time of Hussein's accession, Jordan was a young nation with few natural resources. However, by the end of his reign, Jordan had become a stable, modern state.

 10 Puyi

Puyi.
13
Famous As: Last Emperor of China
Birthdate: February 7, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Prince Chun Mansion, Beijing, China
Died: October 17, 1967

Puyi served as the final emperor of China's last imperial dynasty, The Qing dynasty. After Manchuria was invaded by Japan, Puyi became a puppet at the hands of the Japanese and was chosen as the emperor of the puppet state of Manchukuo. He then signed many edicts, given to him by the Japanese, including the one that made slavery legal.

 11 Albert II, Prince of Monaco

Albert II, Prince of Monaco.
12
Famous As: Monach of Monaco
Birthdate: March 14, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Prince's Palace of Monaco
Albert II, Prince of Monaco, one of the world’s richest royals, is the son of Rainier III and famed actor Grace Kelly. Albert is a former Olympic bobsleigh finalist and an avid environmentalist who works for ocean conservation. He is also associated with many philanthropic organizations, such as Orphans International.

 12 Olav V of Norway

Olav V of Norway.
7
Famous As: King
Birthdate: July 2, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Died: January 17, 1991

Olav V of Norway served as the king of Norway from 1957 to 1991. Olav became heir apparent to the throne in 1905 when his father was crowned king of Norway. His leadership skills during World War II earned him the position of Norwegian Chief of Defence in 1944. Nicknamed The People's King, Olav was popular for his down-to-earth style.

 13 Emperor Taishō

Emperor Taishō.
6
Famous As: Former Emperor of Japan
Birthdate: August 31, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tōgū Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Died: December 25, 1926

Emperor Taishō was the 123rd Emperor of Japan. He was the son of  Emperor Meiji and Yanagihara Naruko, a concubine. As the eldest living son of the emperor, he was formally named the crown prince in 1888. Upon the death of his father in 1912, he ascended the throne. A sickly man with disabilities, he died at 47.

 14 Faisal of Saudi Arabia

Faisal of Saudi Arabia.
8
Famous As: Former King of Saudi Arabia
Birthdate: April 14, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Riyadh
Died: March 25, 1975

Faisal of Saudi Arabia was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. He was the son of King Abdulaziz and his wife, Tarfa. During his father’s reign, he was given numerous responsibilities of political significance. After coming to power, he implemented a series of modern reforms and issued a decree for the total abolition of slavery. 

 15 Michael of Romania

Michael of Romania
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: October 25, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Peleș Castle, Sinaia, Romania
Died: December 5, 2017

 16 Christian IX of Denmark

Christian IX of Denmark.
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: April 8, 1818
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gottorf Castle, Schleswig, Germany
Died: January 29, 1906

Christian IX of Denmark was King of Denmark from 1863 to 1906, having claimed the throne following the death of King Frederick VII. During his early reign, the Danish saw defeat in the Second Schleswig War and lost several duchies. Recovering from a tumultuous start, he reigned over his nation for several years and was respected by his people.

 17 Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
18
Famous As: Former King of Saudi Arabia
Birthdate: August 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Riyadh, Sultanate of Nejd (now Saudi Arabia)
Died: January 23, 2015
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, or Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, was the king of Saudi Arabia and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques from 2005 to 2015. One of King Abdulaziz’s sons, he also led the Saudi Arabian National Guard. He was once the world’s third-wealthiest head of state.

 18 Duke of Windsor

Duke of Windsor
10
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond Park, England
Died: May 28, 1972

 19 Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
8
Famous As: 5th King of Bhutan
Birthdate: February 21, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dechencholing Palace, Thimphu, Bhutan

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is Druk Gyalpo or "Dragon King" of the Kingdom of Bhutan. He is the son of Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who abdicated the throne in his favor in 2006. As the king, he began overseeing the democratization of Bhutan and has implemented several reforms to improve the standard of living in his country. 

 20 Constantine I

Constantine I.
6
Famous As: King of Greece
Birthdate: August 2, 1868
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Died: January 11, 1923
Constantine I reigned as the king of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and again from 1920 to 1922. He led the Greek army during the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913. The National Schism was a result of his disagreement with Eleftherios Venizelos on whether Greece should join World War I.

 21 Victor Emmanuel III of Italy

Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.
6
Famous As: King of Italy
Birthdate: November 11, 1869
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: December 28, 1947
Victor Emmanuel III ruled as the king of Italy from 1900 till 1946. He was also the emperor of Ethiopia and the king of the Albanians. He made Benito Mussolini the Italian prime minister after the March on Rome, but deposed him during the World War II Allied invasion.

 22 Fahd of Saudi Arabia

Fahd of Saudi Arabia
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: March 16, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Died: August 1, 2005

 23 Mehmed VI

Mehmed VI.
7
Famous As: Last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Birthdate: January 14, 1861
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dolmabahçe Palace, İstanbul, Turkey
Died: May 16, 1926

Mehmed VI was the last Sultan of the famous Ottoman Empire. He reigned from 1918 to 1922 before the empire was dissolved, making way for the creation of the Republic of Turkey. Apart from ruling the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI also enjoyed music, calligraphy, and writing poems. In 1922, he stepped down, enabling the abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate.

 24 Rainier III, Prince of Monaco

Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.
11
Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: May 31, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Monaco-Ville
Died: April 6, 2005
Rainier III, son of Prince Pierre, was the Prince of Monaco from 1949 to 2005. He reduced Monaco’s dependence on gambling as a source of revenue and made it more of a tourist destination. He also reduced the powers of the royalty. He was married to renowned actor Grace Kelly.

 25 Haakon VII of Norway

Haakon VII of Norway.
10
Famous As: King of Norway
Birthdate: August 3, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Charlottenlund Palace, Charlottenlund, Denmark
Died: September 21, 1957
Haakon VII of Norway was the first king of Norway following its independence in 1905 and ruled through the two World Wars. He is remembered for his valor against the Germans in World War II, when he rejected an order of abdication and went into exile to England.

 26 Norodom Sihanouk

Norodom Sihanouk.
5
Famous As: Former Ruler of Cambodia
Birthdate: October 31, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Died: October 15, 2012
Apart from taking over as the king of Cambodia at 18, Norodom Sihanouk had also been the country’s prime minister later. A multidimensional personality and a Khmer Rouge supporter, he had also composed a number of patriotic tracks and experimented with filmmaking, infusing Western elements into his work.

 27 Albert I of Belgium

Albert I of Belgium.
6
Famous As: 3rd Belgian King
Birthdate: April 8, 1875
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: February 17, 1934

Albert I of Belgium ruled as King of the Belgians for over 25 years from 1909 to 1934. He played a crucial role during World War I, for which he is often referred to as the Soldier King or Knight King in Belgium. A renowned alpinist, Albert died in a mountaineering accident and his death was mourned around the world.

 28 Umberto II of Italy

Umberto II of Italy.
6
Famous As: Last King of Italy
Birthdate: September 15, 1904
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Castle of Racconigi, Racconigi, Italy
Died: March 18, 1983

Umberto II, the only son of King Victor Emmanuel III, was the last king of Italy and ruled for just 34 days, from May 9 to June 12, 1946, and then went into exile. Also known as Re di Maggio, he was the de facto head of state since 1944.

 29 Albert II of Belgium

Albert II of Belgium
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: June 6, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium

 30 Mehmed V

Mehmed V.
4
Famous As: Ottoman King
Birthdate: November 2, 1844
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Topkapi Palace Museum, İstanbul, Turkey
Died: July 3, 1918

Mehmed V was the 35th and penultimate Ottoman Sultan who reigned from 1909 to 1918. One of the sons of Sultan Abdulmejid I, he succeeded his brother Abdul Hamid II after the Young Turk revolution. His reign was marked by the loss of the empire’s many territories and witnessed the Ottoman Empire’s entry into World War I.

 31 Chulalongkorn

Chulalongkorn.
5
Famous As: Fifth King of Siam
Birthdate: September 20, 1853
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: The Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
Died: October 23, 1910

Chulalongkorn reigned as the king of Siam from 1868 until his death in 1910. Nicknamed the Royal Buddha, Chulalongkorn's reign witnessed the modernization of Siam; several social and governmental reforms marked his reign. Since the reforms ensured Siam's survival despite Western colonialism, Chulalongkorn earned the title, the Great Beloved King.

 32 Leopold III of Belgium

Leopold III of Belgium.
5
Famous As: King of Belgium
Birthdate: November 3, 1901
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: September 25, 1983

Belgian king Leopold III was despised by his countrymen for surrendering Belgium to the Germans during World War II. After being imprisoned by the Germans near Brussels, he went to Austria, and went back to Belgium later, only to be faced by a civil war that forced him to abdicate.

 33 Christian X

Christian X.
5
Famous As: King of Denmark (1912-1947)
Birthdate: September 26, 1870
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charlottenlund, Denmark
Died: April 20, 1947
Christian X was the first Danish royal to complete high school, although he took up military education after this, following the royal tradition. He showed his resistance to Germans when he went on horse rides regularly during the German occupation. He later became an invalid after falling from his horse.

 34 Alexander I of Yugoslavia

Alexander I of Yugoslavia.
5
Famous As: King
Birthdate: December 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cetinje, Montenegro
Died: October 9, 1934

Alexander I of Yugoslavia reigned as the king of Yugoslavia from 1921 until his death in 1934. During a state visit to France, Alexander was murdered by Bulgarian Vlado Chernozemski. The assassination inspired the opening of Christopher Hyde's book, The Second Assassin. Alexander's life and career inspired a TV series titled Alexander of Yugoslavia.

 35 Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev

Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev.
3
Famous As: Former King of Nepal
Birthdate: July 7, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, Nepal
The last king of Nepal, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, came to power after the infamous 2001 Nepalese royal massacre, in which nine members of the royal family, including his brother, King Birendra, were killed. He had to give up his throne after Nepal became a democratic republic in 2008.

 36 Saud of Saudi Arabia

Saud of Saudi Arabia.
7
Famous As: Former King of Saudi Arabia
Birthdate: January 15, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kuwait City
Died: February 23, 1969
Modernization of his country’s educational and medical facilities was the chief aim of Saudi Arabian king Saud, son of Ibn Saud. However, amid internal conflict and tension in his country, he was deposed while abroad for medical treatment, and his brother, Faisal took over as the new king.

 37 Frederick IX of Denmark

Frederick IX of Denmark.
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: March 11, 1899
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sorgenfri Palace, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Died: January 14, 1972

Frederick IX of Denmark reigned as the king of Denmark from 1947 until his death in 1972. Under his reign, the Danish society experienced a rapid change; the economy received a massive boost in the 1960s which allowed women to enter the labor market. In 1982, Frederick's statue was unveiled in Copenhagen, ten years after his death.

 38 Baudouin of Belgium

Baudouin of Belgium
5
Famous As: King
Birthdate: September 7, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Château du Stuyvenberg, Brussels, Belgium
Died: July 31, 1993

 39 Norodom Sihamoni

Norodom Sihamoni.
5
Famous As: Ruler of Cambodia
Birthdate: May 14, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

Norodom Sihamoni has had an interesting childhood, from studying in Czechoslovakia to joining a film school in North Korea, to moving to China after the fall of Pol Pot. A skilled choreographer who had his own dance troupe in Paris, he later rather reluctantly became the king of Cambodia.

 40 George II of Greece

George II of Greece.
5
Famous As: King of Greece
Birthdate: July 20, 1890
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tatoi Palace, Greece
Died: April 1, 1947

George II of Greece was the King of Greece for two terms, from 1922 to 1924 and from 1935 to 1947. He was the eldest son of King Constantine I and his wife, Sophia of Prussia. He reigned during a tumultuous time in Greek history.  Upon his death, he was succeeded by his younger brother, Paul.

 41 Edward VII

Edward VII.
23
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: November 9, 1841
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
Died: May 6, 1910

Edward VII, the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death, is said to have played a role in the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War. His main interests lay in the fields of foreign affairs and naval and military matters.

 42 Paul of Greece

Paul of Greece.
5
Famous As: King of Greece
Birthdate: December 14, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tatoi Palace, Greece
Died: March 6, 1964

Paul of Greece served as the King of Greece from 1947 to 1964. Before succeeding to the throne, Paul trained as an army officer and then worked in an aircraft factory. As the king, he helped rebuild Greece's diplomatic and trade links after the end of the Greek Civil War.

 43 Carol II of Romania

Carol II of Romania.
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: October 15, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Peleș Castle, Sinaia
Died: April 4, 1953

Carol II of Romania reigned as king of Romania from 1930 to 1940. He played a major role in establishing a royal dictatorship in Romania by abolishing the political parties and removing the 1923 constitution. He replaced the political parties with the National Renaissance Front, a single monopoly party of government. 

 44 Guangxu Emperor

Guangxu Emperor
3
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: August 14, 1871
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Prince Chun Mansion, Beijing, China
Died: November 14, 1908

 45 Juan Carlos I

Juan Carlos I.
7
Famous As: Former King of Spain (1975-2014)
Birthdate: January 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome

 46 Birendra of Nepal

Birendra of Nepal.
3
Famous As: 11th King of Nepal
Birthdate: December 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Narayanhity Palace
Died: June 1, 2001
Nepalese king Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, true to his royal lineage, had received an elite education at institutes such as Eton and Harvard. His murder, by his own son, Dipendra, during a dinner party massacre in 2001, that killed almost the entire Nepalese royal family, shocked the world.

 47 Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
3
Famous As: Former King of Bhutan
Birthdate: November 11, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dechencholing Palace, Thimphu, Bhutan
Jigme Singye Wangchuck had taken over as the king of Bhutan when he succeeded his father in 1972, at age 16. Interestingly, Wangchuck had married four sisters in a "Royal Wedding." He is known for promoting Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product as the goal of Bhutan.

 48 Sobhuza II

Sobhuza II.
3
Famous As: Former King of Swaziland
Birthdate: July 22, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Zombodze, Swaziland
Died: August 21, 1982

Sobhuza II was the king of Swaziland from 1899 to 1982, although his coronation took place in 1921 as he was too young to rule early in his reign. His reign of 82 years and 254 days makes him the longest-reigning monarch in recorded history. Sobhuza II played a key role in events that eventually led to his country's independence.

 49 Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
3
Famous As: King of Sweden
Birthdate: April 30, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haga Palace, Solna Municipality, Sweden

Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has been serving as the king of Sweden since the demise of his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973. He is currently the longest-reigning monarch in the history of Sweden. Apart from being passionate about the environment, agriculture, technology, and trade, the king is also fond of automobiles and owns many Porsche 911s.

 50 Frederick VIII of Denmark

Frederick VIII of Denmark
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: June 3, 1843
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: May 14, 1912