How Old Is the Oldest Royal Family?
Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, is the 24th in line from the first emperor, Jimmu Tenno or Zinmu. The dates of the first emperor’s reign are traditionally given as 660-581 B.C., and would give Japan the distinction of being the oldest ruling house. Japan’s Yamato dynasty traces its origins back to 660, making it the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world.
The 79-year-old Emperor Akihito has reigned since 1989 and is, according to legend, the 125th emperor in his line, though there’s some debate as to the exact count of emperors. His seat is called the Chrysanthemum Throne and sits in the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.
But today it is thought that the reign may have been from about 40 B.C. to 10 B.C. If this is so, the Shah of Iran belongs to the oldest royal family. He claims descent from Cyrus the Great who reigned from about 559-529 B.C.
Little is known about Jimmu Tenno. He might be better described as a clan chief than an emperor. But Cyrus the Great was an a outstanding soldier and statesman who founded a Persian Empire stretching from the river Indus to the Aegean Sea and the borders of Egypt. He left behind him a reputation for justice and mercy.