Which leader of state speaks/spoke the most languages?

Oct 2015
The title is perhaps self-explanatory. I'm asking about leaders of state, past or present, who knew the highest number of languages. My guess is some monarcy with a knack for languages and lots of education or a leader in a multi-lingual country such as Indonesia.
Oct 2015
Elizabeth I of England spoke six languages: English, French, Spanish, Greek, Latin and Italian.

Didn't Cathrine the Great know a lot of languages? She spoke at least German, Russian and French.


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
The popes are technically heads of state. John Paul II spoke at least six languages and is often credited with eight and sometimes even eleven.


Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
Western Eurasia
Mehmed II the conqueror was also claimed to know some 6-8-9 languages, now maybe not all true (like Hebrew?) but Turkish, Arabic, Persian were the standard minimum for an Ottoman intellectual + then speaking Greek, Italian and maybe some South-Slavic could be fairly common among the Ottoman sultans. (and we don't even go there if we should count Crimean Tatar a separate language, it was/is fairly intelligible with Turkish)

Among the Hungarian/Transylvanian rulers, an italian commander of king/prince John Sigismund (John Sigismund Zápolya - Wikipedia ) wrote that the ruler had known Latin well, had spoken good Italian, German, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian and a little Greek and Turkish.

Now i'm not sure if this was even extraordinary at all among the 16-17th century rulers in that corner of the world...


Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
Lower Styria, Slovenia
Franz Josef obviously spoke German, but was also taught French, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Italian and some Latin and Greek.
Jun 2012
Brazilian emperor Pedro II, was a bit of a language nerd, he spoke Portuguese, guarani nhandeva, Spanish, German, Latin, Italian, French, English and a bit of greek, he believed that knowing the other people language was a way of knowing the people.


Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
Former Indian Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao (architect of India's economic reforms) spoke 17 Indian languages including his mother tongue Telugu.

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