When you picture a royal monarch seated on the throne, you’re probably imagining some strapping royal hunk or bejeweled and beautiful lady seated neatly in a tall throne and wearing a golden crown, right? Would you ever picture a baby taking the throne? Probably not, but it's a thing that's certainly happened throughout history. In fact, some of the youngest people who became monarchs were less than a year old at the time of their ascension. Some were even crowned in utero, but that didn’t necessarily mean they could rule the moment they were born. Until they came of age, baby kings and queens were supported by a regent – someone who would legally rule until the minor monarch came of age – often comprised of mothers, uncles, aunts, or grandparents. Sometimes, these regents did well in keeping the kingdom afloat until the child could take control of the throne, other times, greed and power overtook their desire to rule.
So, were all young inheritors of the throne always successful? Sadly, no. However, there were notable monarchs – like Sobhuza II of Swaziland and Liu Zhao of China – who fared better, made strong impacts on their kingdoms, and often ruled for lengthy periods, leaving behind a strong country and many descendants. Others did what they could during their often short-lived rules.