is a community or territory over which a sovereign rules; it is commonly used to describe a kingdom or other monarchical or dynastic state.
The Old French word reaume
, modern French royaume
, was the word first adopted in English; the fixed modern spelling
does not appear until the beginning of the 17th century. The word supposedly derives from medieval Latin regalimen
, from regalis
, of or belonging to a rex
(king). The word rex
itself is derived from the Latin verb regere
, which means "to rule". Thus the literal
meaning of the word realm
is the territory of a ruler
, traditionally a monarch (emperor
, king, grand duke, prince
"Realm" is particularly used for those states whose name includes the word kingdom
(for example, the United Kingdom), as elegant variation
, to avoid clumsy repetition
of the word in a sentence (for example, "The Queen
's realm, the United Kingdom..."). It is also useful to describe those countries whose monarchs are called something other than "king" or "queen"; for example, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a realm but not a kingdom, since its monarch holds the title Grand Duke rather than King.
"Realm" is also frequently used to refer to territories that are subject to a monarch, yet are not a physical part of his or her "kingdom" (e.g. the Cook Islands and Niue are considered parts of the Realm of New Zealand, although they are not part of New Zealand proper. Likewise, Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland remain parts of the Unity
of the Realm.
"Realm" may commonly also be used to describe the Commonwealth realms, which all are kingdoms in their own right and share a common monarch, though they are fully independent of each other.