Elizabeth II
Chris Jackson/Staff/Chris Jackson Collection/Getty Images

The Oldest World Leaders Currently in Power

View Slideshow
Elizabeth II
Chris Jackson/Staff/Chris Jackson Collection/Getty Images

Power in Numbers

Queen Elizabeth II, the oldest world leader still in power, recently canceled an important trip and spent a night in the hospital, sparking speculation that she could be nearing the end of her lengthy reign. But she's far from the only advanced-age head of state to have a health scare — remember when then-President Trump contracted COVID-19? — and is just one of many long-lived global power players still in office. 


Related: What Other Countries Are Doing to Make Voting Accurate and Accessible

Harald V
Marcelo Hernandez/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images South America

Harald V, 84

King of Norway
Years served: 30
Succeeding his father Olav V, Norway's King Harald took power in 1991 at the age of 53. He was the country's first native-born king since the 14th century and made headlines prior to taking the throne for marrying a commoner. He went on to steal the hearts of many in his nation for his support of gay rights and for leading the mourning in 2011 of the victims of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik. More recently, King Harald has been suffering health challenges and was admitted to the hospital in September with breathing difficulties.


Related:
The 16 Most Expensive Royal Weddings Around the World

Pope Francis
Carl Court/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images Europe

Pope Francis, 84

Pope of the Holy See, Sovereign of the Vatican City State
Years served: 8
A trailblazer in many ways, Pope Francis was elected in 2013 to succeed Pope Benedict XVI. His tenure has made headlines, and he has earned worldwide admiration for his humility, outspoken support of the poor and marginalized, and bold environmental advocacy. Pope Francis took on his current role at the age of 76.


Related:
25 Off-Limits Destinations That Could Reopen to Tourists (and Some That Already Have)

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Dan Kitwood/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images Europe

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 85

King of Saudi Arabia
Years served: 6
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud succeeded his half-brother King Abdullah bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in 2015. His history in power includes some unsavory highlights, including being ruler when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the regime of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered on the orders of the "highest levels of the royal court" in Saudi Arabia. King Salman assumed his role when he was 79.


For more fun trivia, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Mahmoud Abbas
Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Mahmoud Abbas, 85

Palestinian Leader
Years served: 16
President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas was elected in 2005, after the death of longtime leader Yasser Arafat. Abbas received more than 60 percent of the vote when elected. A longtime leading Palestinian figure, Abbas is known for his devotion to a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He became president at the age of 69.


Paul Biya
Lintao Zhang/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images AsiaPac

Paul Biya, 88

President of Cameroon
Years served: 39
Often criticized as Cameroon's "absentee president" thanks to the significant amounts of time he spends out of the country, Paul Biya has been in power since 1982. He's one of the longest serving leaders in Africa. However, corruption has seemingly proliferated under his rule. In addition, term limits were done away with under Biya, allowing the octogenarian to serve as long as he has.

Michel Aoun
Drew Angerer/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Michel Aoun, 88

President of Lebanon
Years served: 5
Lebanon's president Michel Aoun began his rise to power as commander of the Lebanese army in 1984. Later he was appointed prime minister (in 1988) and in 2016 assumed his current role of president. He took office at 81 years old and is only Lebanon's 13th president. The country did not gain independence from France until 1943.


Colville Young
Pool/Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Colville Young, 88

Governor General of Belize
Years served: 28
Colville Young began his career in education in the 1950s, including working as a high school teacher, principal, and even serving as founding president of the University College of Belize, which later became University of Belize. In 1993, he was appointed Belize's second governor-general, a role he continues to fill.


Related:
18 Things You Must Do While Traveling Central America

Elizabeth II
Chris Jackson/Staff/Chris Jackson Collection/Getty Images

Elizabeth II, 95

Queen of the United Kingdom
Years served: 69
Legendary and beloved Queen Elizabeth, mother of Prince Charles and grandmother to Princes William and Harry, is not only the oldest world leader on this list, she's also the longest-reigning monarch in the history of her country despite recent health scares. Elizabeth became queen in 1952 and was crowned in 1953 after her fate was dramatically changed by a love affair between her uncle, King Edward VIII, and American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Edward abdicated the crown to follow his heart and be with Simpson, and Elizabeth suddenly found herself heir to the throne behind her father, George. When King George VI died in 1952, she officially became Queen Elizabeth II.


Related: 17 Reasons You Don't Really Want to Be a Royal