Royalty are more a staple of fantasy stories than dragons, elves and possibly even magic. Royalty appears in some form or another in almost every fantasy franchise set on another world: Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Elantris, Discworld, the Farseer Trilogy, Prince of Thorns. It’s all got royalty in there somewhere. There’s even a king in Howl’s Moving Castle, though his appearance is brief and his impact on the plot minimal.
In a world dominated by politicians, councils, parliaments, senates and so on, a world of democracies and republics, a world where monarchs are figureheads only in the Western world – and the Western world is suspicious of those royalty who are more than figureheads – why is royalty so popular amongst writers and readers of fantasy?