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A royal family is the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or empress, and the term papal family describes the family of a pope, while the terms baronial family, comital family, ducal family, archducal family, grand ducal family, or princely family are more appropriate to describe, respectively, the relatives of a reigning baron, count, duke, archduke, grand duke, or prince. However, in common parlance members of any family which reigns by hereditary right are often referred to as royalty or "royals." It is also customary in some circles to refer to the extended relations of a deposed monarch and his or her descendants as a royal family. A dynasty is sometimes referred to as "the House of ...". As of July 2013, there are 26 active sovereign monarchies in the world who rule or reign over 43 countries in all.

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Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia (18 June 1901 – 17 July 1918) was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. She was murdered with her family by members of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police. The location of her burial was unknown during the decades of Communist rule, and rumors that she had escaped circulated after her death. A mass grave near Yekaterinburg which held the remains of the Tsar, his wife, and three of their daughters was revealed in 1991, and the bodies of the remaining daughter and the Tsarevitch Alexei were discovered in 2007. Forensic analysis and DNA testing have confirmed that the remains are those of the imperial family, showing that Anastasia and the other grand duchesses were killed in 1918. Several women have claimed to be Anastasia, including Anna Anderson, who died in 1984, but DNA testing in 1994 showed that she was not related to the Romanov family.


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Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles
Credit: Myrabella

The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France. As the principal and most remarkable feature of King Louis XIV of France's third building campaign of the Palace of Versailles (1678–1684), construction of the Hall of Mirrors began in 1678. To provide for the Hall of Mirrors as well as the salon de la guerre and the salon de la paix, which connect the grand appartement du roi with the grand appartement de la reine, architect Jules Hardouin Mansart appropriated three rooms from each apartment as well as the terrace that separated the two apartments.

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Maria Karolina Zofia Felicja Leszczyńska
Credit: Charles-André van Loo

Maria Karolina Zofia Felicja Leszczyńska was a Polish noblewoman and French Queen consort. The daughter of King Stanisław Leszczyński—Stanislaw I of Poland (later Duke of Lorraine)–and Catherine Opalińska, she married King Louis XV of France and became queen consort of France. She served in that role for 42 years from 1725 until her death in 1768, the longest service of any queen of France, and was popular due to her generosity and piety. She was the grandmother of Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X of France.

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Prince's Palace of Monaco
The Prince's Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. Originally founded in 1191 as a Genoese fortress, during its long and often dramatic history it has been bombarded and besieged by many foreign powers. Since the end of the 13th century, it has been the stronghold and home of the Grimaldi family who first captured it in 1297. The Grimaldis' power was often derived from fragile agreements with their larger and stronger neighbours. Thus while the sovereigns of Europe were building luxurious, modern Renaissance and Baroque palaces, politics and common sense demanded that the palace of the Monaco rulers be fortified. The Grimaldis' occupation of their palace is also unusual because, unlike other European ruling families, the absence of alternative palaces and land shortages have resulted in their use of the same residence for more than seven centuries. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the palace and its owners became symbols of the slightly risqué glamour and decadence that was associated with Monte Carlo and the French Riviera. Glamour and theatricality became reality when the American film star Grace Kelly became chatelaine to the palace in 1956. In the 21st century, the palace remains the residence of the current Prince of Monaco.


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Anne Boleyn, second Wife of King Henry VIII
I heard say that the executioner was very good, he'd have to be, for I have a little neck!
Anne Boleyn, shortly before her execution in 1536

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Featured articles: Áedán mac Gabráin · · Æthelbald of Mercia · Æthelberht of Kent · Æthelred of Mercia · Aldfrith of Northumbria · Bhumibol Adulyadej · Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia · · Anne of Denmark · Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom · · · · Augustus · · · Cædwalla of Wessex · Ceawlin of Wessex · (...more)

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