Often referred to as the crown, king, prince or princess, a king is the supreme ruler of his country or territory. A king may be male or female, and his position is hereditary or elective.
Kingship is a common phenomenon worldwide, and it can take the form of an absolute monarchy or a dynasty. In the UK, for example, the king is the head of state.
The term king is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word cyning, which itself is a derivation of the Old English kin (from *kunjom). It is also found in Estonian and Finnish.
It is believed that a king has a divine right to rule over his people. In addition to this, a king's role is to protect his people and represent them in the courts.
A king's power is often accompanied by a wealth that is beyond that of the commoner. It is not uncommon for the king to be given a large castle or palace, and his wealth can include his royal family and his estate.
When a king dies, his kingdom is usually divided between his siblings. The son or daughter of a king is known as a king-in-waiting, and the next in line to the throne is called the crown-in-waiting.
There is a common misconception that a king is entitled to anything he wants, but this is not true. A king is expected to follow the rules and regulations of his country, and when he breaks those rules, he is known as a tyrant.