A bit of ancient history for a change of pace:
In a society in which only a tiny minority were literate, could the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt read and write? According to one Polish Egyptologist, there is considerable evidence that they could.
The article cites some anecdotal evidence, as well as the fact that many princes, had held administrative positions; as kings, they also had ritual duties that required knowledge of hieroglyphics, and there are scribal tools in Tutankhamun's tomb. By contrast, he suggests Mesopotamian rulers were not literate.