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September 21, 2019

A monarchy is a form of government in which
sovereignty is actually or nominally embodied in a single individual. Forms of monarchy differ widely based on the
level of legal autonomy the monarch holds in governance, the method of selection of
the monarch, and any predetermined limits on the length of their tenure. When the monarch has no or few legal restraints
in state and political matters, it is called an absolute monarchy and is a form of autocracy. Cases in which the monarch’s discretion is
formally limited are called constitutional monarchies. In hereditary monarchies, the office is passed
through inheritance within a family group, whereas elective monarchies use some system
of voting. Each of these has variations: in some elected
monarchies only those of certain pedigrees are eligible, whereas many hereditary monarchies
impose requirements regarding the religion, age, gender, mental capacity, and other factors. Occasionally this might create a situations
of rival claimants whose legitimacy is subject to effective election. Finally, there have been cases where the term
of a monarch’s reign is either fixed in years or continues until certain goals are
achieved: an invasion being repulsed, for instance. Thus there are widely divergent structures
and traditions defining monarchy. Monarchy was the most common form of government
until the 19th century, but it is no longer prevalent. Where it exists, it is now usually a constitutional
monarchy, in which the monarch retains a unique legal and ceremonial role, but exercises limited
or no political power: under the written or unwritten constitution, others have governing
authority. Currently, 44 sovereign nations in the world
have monarchs acting as heads of state, 16 of which are Commonwealth realms that recognise
Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. All European monarchies are constitutional
ones, with the exception of the Vatican City, but sovereigns in the smaller states exercise
greater political influence than in the larger. The monarchs of Cambodia, Japan, and Malaysia
“reign, but do not rule” although there is considerable variation in the degree of authority
they wield. Although they reign under constitutions, the
monarchs of Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland appear to continue to exercise
more political influence than any other single source of authority in their nations, either
by constitutional mandate or by tradition. Etymology
The word monarch comes from the Greek language word μονάρχης, monárkhēs) which
referred to a single, at least nominally absolute ruler. In current usage the word monarchy usually
refers to a traditional system of hereditary rule, as elective monarchies are rare nowadays. History Tribal kingship is often connected to sacral
functions, so that the king acts as a priest, or is considered of Divine ancestry. The sacral function of kingship was transformed
into the notion of “Divine right of kings” in the Christian Middle Ages, while the Chinese,
Japanese and Nepalese monarchs continued to be considered living Gods into the modern
period. Since antiquity, monarchy has contrasted with
forms of democracy, where executive power is wielded by assemblies of free citizens. In antiquity, monarchies were abolished in
favour of such assemblies in Rome, and Athens. In Germanic antiquity, kingship was primarily
a sacral function, and the king was elected from among eligible members of royal families
by the thing. Such ancient “parliamentarism” declined during
the European Middle Ages, but it survived in forms of regional assemblies, such as the
Icelandic Commonwealth, the Swiss Landsgemeinde and later Tagsatzung, and the High Medieval
communal movement linked to the rise of medieval town privileges. The modern resurgence of parliamentarism and
anti-monarchism began with the temporary overthrow of the English monarchy by the Parliament
of England in 1649, followed by the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution
of 1792. Much of 19th century politics was characterized
by the division between anti-monarchist Radicalism and monarchist Conservativism. Many countries abolished the monarchy in the
20th century and became republics, especially in the wake of either World War I or World
War II. Advocacy of republics is called republicanism,
while advocacy of monarchies is called monarchism. Characteristics and role Monarchies are associated with political or
sociocultural hereditary rule, in which monarchs rule for life and pass the responsibilities
and power of the position to their child or a member of their family when they die. Most monarchs, both historically and in the
modern day, have been born and brought up within a royal family, the center of the royal
household and court. Growing up in a royal family, future monarchs
were often trained for the responsibilities of expected future rule. Different systems of succession have been
used, such as proximity of blood, primogeniture, and agnatic seniority. While most monarchs have been male, many female
monarchs also have reigned in history; the term queen regnant refers to a ruling monarch,
while a queen consort refers to the wife of a reigning king. Rule may be hereditary in practice without
being considered a monarchy, such as that of family dictatorships or political families
in many democracies. The principal advantage of hereditary monarchy
is the immediate continuity of leadership,. Some monarchies are non-hereditary. In an elective monarchy, monarchs are elected,
or appointed by some body for life or a defined period, but otherwise serve as any other monarch. Three elective monarchies exist today: Malaysia
and the United Arab Emirates are 20th-century creations, while one is ancient. A self-proclaimed monarchy is established
when a person claims the monarchy without any historical ties to a previous dynasty. Napoleon I of France declared himself Emperor
of the French and ruled the First French Empire after previously calling himself First Consul
following his seizure of power in the coup of 18 Brumaire. Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African
Republic declared himself “Emperor” of the Central African Empire. Yuan Shikai crowned himself Emperor of the
short-lived “Empire of China” a few years after the Republic of China was founded. Powers of monarch Today, the extent of a monarch’s powers varies:
In an absolute monarchy, the monarch rules as an autocrat, with absolute power over the
state and government—for example, the right to rule by decree, promulgate laws, and impose
punishments. Absolute monarchies are not necessarily authoritarian;
the enlightened absolutists of the Age of Enlightenment were monarchs who allowed various
freedoms. In a constitutional monarchy the monarch is
subject to a constitution. The monarch serves as a ceremonial figurehead
symbol of national unity and state continuity. The monarch is nominally sovereign but the
electorate, through their parliament/legislature, exercise usually limited political sovereignty. Constitutional monarchs have limited political
power, except in Japan, where the constitution grants no power to the Emperor. Typical monarchical powers include granting
pardons, granting honours, and reserve powers, e.g. to dismiss the prime minister, refuse
to dissolve parliament, or veto legislation. They often also have privileges of inviolability,
sovereign immunity, and an official residence. A monarch’s powers and influence may depend
on tradition, precedent, popular opinion, and law. In other cases the monarch’s power is limited,
not due to constitutional restraints, but to effective military rule. In the late Roman Empire, the Praetorian Guard
several times deposed Roman Emperors and installed new emperors. The Hellenistic kings of Macedon and of Epirus
were elected by the army, which was similar in composition to the ecclesia of democracies,
the council of all free citizens; military service often was linked with citizenship
among the male members of the royal house. Military domination of the monarch has occurred
in modern Thailand and in medieval Japan. In Fascist Italy the Savoy monarchy under
King Victor Emmanuel III coexisted with the Fascist single-party rule of Benito Mussolini;
Romania under the Iron Guard and Greece during the first months of the Colonels’ regime were
much the same way. Spain under Francisco Franco was officially
a monarchy, although there was no monarch on the throne. Upon his death, Franco was succeeded as head
of state by the Bourbon heir, Juan Carlos I, who proceeded to make Spain a democracy
with himself as a figurehead constitutional monarch. Person of monarch Most states only have a single person acting
as monarch at any given time, although two monarchs have ruled simultaneously in some
countries, a situation known as diarchy. Historically this was the case in the ancient
Greek city-state of Sparta or 17th-century Russia, and there are examples of joint sovereignty
of spouses or relatives. Other examples of joint sovereignty include
Tsars Peter I and Ivan V of Russia and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Joanna of Castile
of the Crown of Castile. Andorra currently is the world’s sole constitutional
diarchy or co-principality. Located in the Pyrenees between Spain and
France, it has two co-princes: the Bishop of Urgell in Spain and the President of France. It is the only situation in which an independent
country’s monarch is democratically elected by the citizens of another country. In a personal union, separate independent
states share the same person as monarch, but each realm has its own crown or monarchy. The sixteen separate Commonwealth realms are
sometimes described as being in a personal union with Queen Elizabeth II as monarch,
however, they can also be described as being in a shared monarchy. A regent may rule when the monarch is a minor,
absent, or debilitated. A pretender is a claimant to an abolished
throne or to a throne already occupied by somebody else. Abdication is when a monarch resigns. Monarchs often take part in certain ceremonies,
such as a coronation. Role of monarch
Monarchy, especially absolute monarchy, sometimes is linked to religious aspects; many monarchs
once claimed the right to rule by the will of a deity, a special connection to a deity
or even purported to be divine kings, or incarnations of deities themselves. Many European monarchs have been styled Fidei
defensor; some hold official positions relating to the state religion or established church. In the Western political tradition, a morally-based,
balanced monarchy is stressed as the ideal form of government, and little reverence is
paid to modern-day ideals of egalitarian democracy: e.g. Saint Thomas Aquinas unapologetically
declares: “Tyranny is wont to occur not less but more frequently on the basis of polyarchy
[rule by many, i.e. oligarchy or democracy] than on the basis of monarchy.”. However, Thomas Aquinas also stated that the
ideal monarchical system would also have at lower levels of government both an aristocracy
and elements of democracy in order to create a balance of power. The monarch would also be subject to both
natural and divine law, as well, and also be subject to the Church in matters of religion. In Dante Alighieri’s De Monarchia, a spiritualized,
imperial Catholic monarchy is strongly promoted according to a Ghibelline world-view in which
the “royal religion of Melchizedek” is emphasized against the sacerdotal claims of the rival
papal ideology. In Saudi Arabia, the king is a head of state
who is both the absolute monarch of the country and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
of Islam. Titles of monarchs
Monarchs can have various titles. Common European titles include including king
or queen, prince or princess, emperor or empress, or even duke, grand duke, or duchess. Some early modern European titles included
margrave, elector, and burgrave. Lesser titles include count, princely count,
or imam. Slavic titles include knyaz and tsar, a word
derived from the Roman imperial title Caesar. Arabic-language titles used in the Arab and
Muslim worlds include caliph, sultan, emir and sheikh. Historically, Mongolic or Turkic monarchs
have used the title khagan. Many monarchs are addressed with particular
styles, such as “Majesty”, “Royal Highness” or “By the Grace of God”. Sometimes titles are used to express claims
to territories that are not held in fact or titles not recognized. Also, after a monarchy is deposed, often former
monarchs and their descendants are given titles. Dependent monarchies
In some cases monarchs are dependent on other powers. In the British colonial era indirect rule
under a paramount power existed, such as the princely states under the British Raj. In Botswana, South Africa, Ghana and Uganda,
the ancient kingdoms and chiefdoms that were met by the colonialists when they first arrived
on the continent are now constitutionally protected as regional and/or sectional entities. Furthermore, in Nigeria, though the dozens
of sub-regional polities that exist there are not provided for in the current constitution,
they are nevertheless legally recognised aspects of the structure of governance that operates
in the nation. In addition to these five countries, peculiar
monarchies of varied sizes and complexities exist in various other parts of Africa. Succession
The rules for selection of monarchs varies from country to country. In constitutional monarchies the rule of succession
generally is embodied in a law passed by a representative body, such as a parliament. Hereditary monarchies In a hereditary monarchy, the position of
monarch is inherited according to a statutory or customary order of succession, usually
within one royal family tracing its origin through a historical dynasty or bloodline. This usually means that the heir to the throne
is known well in advance of becoming monarch to ensure a smooth succession. Primogeniture, in which the eldest child of
the monarch is first in line to become monarch, is the most common system in hereditary monarchy. The order of succession is usually affected
by rules on gender. Historically “agnatic primogeniture” or “patrilineal
primogeniture” was favoured, that is inheritance according to seniority of birth among the
sons of a monarch or head of family, with sons and their male issue inheriting before
brothers and their issue, and male-line males inheriting before females of the male line. This is the same as semi-Salic primogeniture. Complete exclusion of females from dynastic
succession is commonly referred to as application of the Salic law. Before primogeniture was enshrined in European
law and tradition, kings would often secure the succession by having their successor crowned
during their own lifetime, so for a time there would be two kings in coregency – a senior
king and a junior king. Examples include Henry the Young King of England
and the early Direct Capetians in France. Sometimes, however, primogeniture can operate
through the female line. In some systems a female may rule as monarch
only when the male line dating back to a common ancestor is exhausted. In 1980, Sweden became the first European
monarchy to declare equal primogeniture, meaning that the eldest child of the monarch, whether
female or male, ascends to the throne. Other kingdoms have since followed suit. Similar reforms were proposed in 2011 for
the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, but have yet to pass into law, pending
legislative approval by all of the affected nations. Sometimes religion is affected; under the
Act of Settlement 1701 all Roman Catholics and all persons who have married Roman Catholics
are ineligible to be the British monarch and are skipped in the order of succession. In the case of the absence of children, the
next most senior member of the collateral line becomes monarch. In complex cases, this can mean that there
are closer blood relatives to the deceased monarch than the next in line according to
primogeniture. This has often led, especially in Europe in
the Middle Ages, to conflict between the principle of primogeniture and the principle of proximity
of blood. Other hereditary systems of succession included
tanistry, which is semi-elective and gives weight to merit and Agnatic seniority. In some monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia,
succession to the throne usually first passes to the monarch’s next eldest brother, and
only after that to the monarch’s children. Elective monarchies
In an elective monarchy, monarchs are elected, or appointed by some body for life or a defined
period, but otherwise serve as any other monarch. There is no popular vote involved in elective
monarchies, as the elective body usually consists of a small number of eligible people. Historical examples of elective monarchy include
the Holy Roman Emperors, and the free election of kings of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. For example, Pepin the Short was elected King
of the Franks by an assembly of Frankish leading men; Stanisław August Poniatowski of Poland
was an elected king, as was Frederick I of Denmark. Germanic peoples had elective monarchies. Three elective monarchies exist today. The pope of the Roman Catholic Church is elected
to a life term by the College of Cardinals. In Malaysia, the federal king, called the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong is elected for a five-year term from and by the hereditary rulers of
nine of the federation’s constitutive states, all on the Malay peninsula. The United Arab Emirates also has a procedure
for electing its monarch. Appointment by the current monarch is another
system, used in Jordan. It also was used in Imperial Russia; however,
it was changed to semi-Salic soon, because the unreliable realization of the appointment
system resulted in an age of palace revolutions. In this system, the monarch chooses the successor,
who is always his relative. Current monarchies Currently there are 44 nations in the world
with a monarch as head of state. They fall roughly into the following categories:
Commonwealth realms. Queen Elizabeth II is the monarch of sixteen
Commonwealth realms. They have evolved out of the British Empire
into fully independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations that retain the Queen as head of
state, unlike other Commonwealth countries that are either dependencies, republics or
have a different royal house. All sixteen realms are constitutional monarchies
and full democracies where the Queen has limited powers or a largely ceremonial role. The Queen is head of the established Protestant
Christian Church of England in the United Kingdom, while the other 15 realms do not
have an established church. Other European constitutional monarchies. Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden are fully democratic states in which the monarch
has a limited or largely ceremonial role. There is generally a Christian religion established
as the official church in each of these countries. This is a form of Protestantism in Norway,
Sweden and Denmark, while Belgium, Luxembourg, and Andorra are Roman Catholic countries. Spain and the Netherlands have no official
State religion. Andorra is unique among these monarchies,
as it is, by definition, a diarchy, with the Co-Princeship being shared by the President
of France and the Bishop of Urgell. This situation, based on historic precedence,
has created a unique situation among monarchies, as both Co-Princes are not of Andorran descent,
and one is elected by common citizens. European constitutional/absolute monarchies. Liechtenstein and Monaco are constitutional
monarchies in which the Prince retains many powers of an absolute monarch. For example the 2003 Constitution referendum
which gives the Prince of Liechtenstein the power to veto any law that the Landtag proposes
and the Landtag can veto any law that the Prince tries to pass. The Prince can hire or dismiss any elective
member or government employee from his or her post. However, what makes him not an absolute monarchy
is that the people can call for a referendum to end the monarchy’s reign. The Prince of Monaco has simpler powers but
can not hire or dismiss any elective member or government employee from his or her post,
but he can elect the minister of state, government council and judges. Both Albert II and Hans-Adam II have quite
a bit of political power, but they also own huge tracts of land and are shareholders in
many companies. Islamic monarchies. These Islamic monarchs of Bahrain, Brunei,
Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates
generally retain far more powers than their European or Commonwealth counterparts. Brunei, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia remain
absolute monarchies; Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates are classified as mixed, meaning
there are representative bodies of some kind, but the monarch retains most of his powers. Jordan, Malaysia and Morocco are constitutional
monarchies, but their monarchs still retain more substantial powers than European equivalents. East Asian constitutional monarchies. Bhutan, Cambodia, Japan, Thailand have constitutional
monarchies where the monarch has a limited or ceremonial role. Bhutan, Japan and Thailand are countries that
were never colonized by European powers, but have changed from traditional absolute monarchies
into constitutional ones during the twentieth century. Cambodia had its own monarchy after independence
from France, which was deposed after the Khmer Rouge came into power and the subsequent invasion
by Vietnam. The monarchy was subsequently restored in
the peace agreement of 1993. Other monarchies. Five monarchies do not fit into one of the
above groups by virtue of geography or class of monarchy: Tonga and Samoa in Polynesia;
Swaziland and Lesotho in Africa; and the Vatican City in Europe. Of these, Lesotho and Tonga are constitutional
monarchies, while Swaziland and Vatican City are absolute monarchies. Samoa falls into neither class, as one of
the Four Paramount Chiefs of the country is elected to hold the position of O le Ao o
le Malo, or “Chieftain of the Government”. This position is not required by the Samoan
constitution, which is why Samoa is officially classified as a republic rather than a constitutional
monarchy. Swaziland is also unique among these monarchies,
often being considered a diarchy. The King, or Ngwenyama, rules alongside his
mother, the Ndlovukati, as dual heads of state originally designed to be checks on political
power. The Ngwenyama, however, is considered the
administrative head of state, while the Ndlovukati is considered the spiritual and national head
of state, a position which more or less has become symbolic in recent years. The Pope is monarch of Vatican City by virtue
of his position as head of the Catholic Church; he is an elected rather than hereditary ruler
and is always a non-native of the territory. African absolute monarchs. The Kingdom of North Sudan has a self proclaimed
monarch, King Jeremiah, after he claimed the area the kingdom is situated on. See also
Notes and references External links
The Constitutional Monarchy Association

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