Long Live the King !

What’s the first thing you do when you are cruising along the canals of Amsterdam and suddenly come face to face with the King of Holland? And what is the second thing you do?

Blessing upon seeing a kingTraveling brings with it the opportunity to fulfill obscure and less commonly known aspects of Halacha (Jewish Law). Only when you leave your comfort zone and familiar surroundings, do you get the chance to stretch your religious boundaries too.

Blessing on Seeing a King

One of the less known Laws is the Blessing that is made upon seeing a King or Queen. We say Baruch Ata A-donai E-loheinu Melekh Ha’Olam Shenatan Mikvodo L’Basar Vadam. (Blessed are You God, King of the universe, who has given of His honor to flesh and blood).

It is interesting to note that this blessing was established not to show respect to a gentile monarch, but rather to make us aware what royal honor is like, so that we’ll be in a better position to appreciate the true divinely given honor of the Messianic King (descendant of King David) at the end of the days.

Just to be politically (and factually) correct, I must emphasize that one makes the blessing for both male and female monarchs, on condition that they are the “ruling” monarch. This means you’ll make a blessing for the queen as long as she’s not merely Mrs. King. Similarly you won’t make the blessing for a man who’s only a Mr. Queen (like Prince Philip husband of Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom).

Furthermore, the blessing is made only once in 30 days, so if you happen to meet the King twice or more in one month (lets say you’re his personal valet or such), you’ll only make the blessing the 1st time you meet. On the other hand if you meet a different monarch in the same month, you can say the blessing again.

In addition, one also says the blessing upon meeting the president of a country, as long as he or she has the power to grant a pardon to a person who has been sentenced to death (Howdy Mr. Obama!). Prime ministers usually don’t count for this (sorry Mr. Netanyahu…).

Monarch Blessing List

I’m not suggesting that you do an around-the-world tour of all the royal families just to keep on saying blessings, but if you can get it done once in a while, it would certainly be nice.

To make things easier for you while planning your grand blessing tour, here is an up-to-date listing of the primary world monarchs. I might have missed out a few minor ones in out-of-the-way 3rd & 4th world countries, but it’s also less likely you’ll meet them.

RealmMonarchSinceTypeSuccession
AndorraHE Joan Enric Vives Sicília2003ConstitutionalEx officio
AndorraHE François Hollande2012ConstitutionalEx officio
Antigua and BarbudaHM Queen Elizabeth II1981ConstitutionalHereditary
AustraliaHM Queen Elizabeth II1952ConstitutionalHereditary
BahamasHM Queen Elizabeth II1973ConstitutionalHereditary
BahrainHM King Hamad ibn Isa1999MixedHereditary
BarbadosHM Queen Elizabeth II1966ConstitutionalHereditary
BelgiumHM King Philippe2013ConstitutionalHereditary
BelizeHM Queen Elizabeth II1981ConstitutionalHereditary
BhutanHM King Jigme Khesar Namgyel2006ConstitutionalHereditary
BruneiHM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah1967AbsoluteHereditary
CambodiaHM King Norodom Sihamoni2004ConstitutionalHereditary and elective
CanadaHM Queen Elizabeth II1952ConstitutionalHereditary
DenmarkHM Queen Margrethe II1972ConstitutionalHereditary
GrenadaHM Queen Elizabeth II1974ConstitutionalHereditary
JamaicaHM Queen Elizabeth II1962ConstitutionalHereditary
JapanHIM Emperor Akihito1989ConstitutionalHereditary
JordanHM King Abdullah II1999ConstitutionalHereditary
KuwaitHH Emir Sabah al-Ahmad2006ConstitutionalHereditary and elective
LesothoHM King Letsie III1996ConstitutionalHereditary and elective
LiechtensteinHSH Prince Hans-Adam II1989ConstitutionalHereditary
LuxembourgHRH Grand Duke Henri2000ConstitutionalHereditary
MalaysiaHM King Abdul Halim2011ConstitutionalHereditary and rotational
MonacoHSH Prince Albert II2005ConstitutionalHereditary
MoroccoHM King Mohammed VI1999ConstitutionalHereditary
NetherlandsHM King Willem-Alexander2013ConstitutionalHereditary
New ZealandHM Queen Elizabeth II1952ConstitutionalHereditary
NorwayHM King Harald V1991ConstitutionalHereditary
OmanHM Sultan Qaboos bin Said1970AbsoluteHereditary
Papua New GuineaHM Queen Elizabeth II1975ConstitutionalHereditary
QatarHH Emir Tamim bin Hamad2013AbsoluteHereditary
Saint Kitts and NevisHM Queen Elizabeth II1983ConstitutionalHereditary
Saint LuciaHM Queen Elizabeth II1979ConstitutionalHereditary
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesHM Queen Elizabeth II1979ConstitutionalHereditary
Saudi ArabiaCTHM King Abdullah bin Abdul‘aziz2005AbsoluteHereditary and elective
Solomon IslandsHM Queen Elizabeth II1978ConstitutionalHereditary
SpainHM King Juan Carlos I1975ConstitutionalHereditary
SwazilandHM King Mswati III1986AbsoluteHereditary and elective
SwedenHM King Carl XVI Gustaf1973ConstitutionalHereditary
ThailandHM King Bhumibol Adulyadej1946ConstitutionalHereditary
TongaHM King Tupou VI2012ConstitutionalHereditary
TuvaluHM Queen Elizabeth II1978ConstitutionalHereditary
United Arab EmiratesHH President Khalifa bin Zayed2004MixedElective and hereditary
United KingdomHM Queen Elizabeth II1952ConstitutionalHereditary
Vatican CityHH Pope Francis2013AbsoluteEx officio

As for the questions I asked at the beginning of the post…you first say to them; “Hello Your Majesty !”.

Then you recite the relevant Blessing…