THE upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is propelling the British royal family into ever-greater levels of fame, but they are far from being the oldest, richest, largest. Hereâs how the Windsors stack up in the annals of royal records.
House of Saud, Saudi Arabia
Dubbed as the âfounder of modern Saudi Arabiaâ, the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud is the patriarch of the largest royal family in history.
King Ibn Saud, who ruled from his teenage years until his death in 1953, had more than 100 children to 22 wives, though reportedly never more than four at a time.
It is not known exactly how many children he had, but it is understood he had 44 sons, with four of them having gone on to rule.
The late Ibn Saud now has more than a thousand grandsons who intermarry within the dynasty to re-establish their lineage and status within the ruling clan.
The house had over 4000 royal princes and 30,000 royal relatives in 2002, and is believed to have about 15,000 who are alive today.
Princess Alice, United Kingdom
Alice, Duchess of Gloucester became the oldest known royal in history when she reached the age of 101 years and 269 days in 2003. She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 102 years 309 days on October 29 2004 at Kensington Palace in London, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle now reside.
She beat the previous record held by Princess Leonilla of Russia, who had a lifespan of 101 years and 268 days, dying in February 1918.
The Duchess became a princess after marrying Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and was an aunt by marriage to Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Stephanie, Monaco
The story of a princess turned popstar, Princess Stephanie of Monaco is the only royal in the world to have had a string of music hits. The younger daughter of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace released her first single Ouragan in 1986, which became an international hit selling two million copies.
Princess Stephanie ended her music career by recording In the Closet with Michael Jackson for his album Dangerous in 1991, which became a worldwide hit.
Prince Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia
The first royal in space was Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former Royal Saudi Air Force pilot, who flew as a Payload Specialist on-board the STS-51-G mission of the space shuttle Discovery from June 17-24 in 1985. This feat made him the first member of a royal family to be an astronaut, and the first Arab and Muslim to fly in space.
The House of Saud, Saudi Arabia
The wealthiest royal family in the world is the House of Saud, of Saudi Arabia, which is estimated to be worth an insane $1.7 trillion, largely thanks to its many family members. This gobsmacking wealth is spread out among the familyâs 15,000 or so members. The House of Saud has ruled the nation which bears its name since 1744. King Salman, who has been on the throne since 2015, carries much of the wealth. Prince Alwaleed, who has recently been arrested on corruption charges, is reportedly the wealthiest individual member of the family with an estimated net worth of $18.7 billion, largely thanks to his successful investments.
Imperial House of Japan
According to legend, the Imperial House of Japan was founded in 660 BCE by Japanâs first Emperor, Jimmu, making it the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world. Although this does stem from mythological origins, the country officially recognises February 11, 660 BCE as the date of its founding.
Japanâs imperial house lists 125 monarchs beginning with Emperor Jimmu, who was said to be descended from the sun goddess. But existing records of the royal line of succession only date back to Emperor Ćjin, who ruled in the early 4th century. The current emperor of Japan is Emperor Akihito, who ascended the throne on January 7, 1989. He will abdicate next year, with his heir and eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito set to take the throne and continue the family legacy.
Forbidden City, Beijing, China
The Forbidden City, a former home of emperors, is the palatial heart of China. Originally constructed during the early Ming Dynasty in 1420, it is the largest ancient palatial structure in the world, taking more than 14 years to complete and requiring more than one million workers. After centuries of modifications, today it comprises some 980 buildings with 8886 rooms and is the main tourist drawcard in China. It covers a 72-ha (178-acre) rectangle measuring 961 x 753 m (3,150 x 2,460 ft).
*A number of these records have been recognised by the Guiness World Records