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A monarchy is a
form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assemb ...
in which a person, the
monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority a ...

monarch
, is
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "
he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun) In Modern English, ''he'' is a Grammatical number, singular, Grammatical gender, masculine, Grammatical person, third-person personal pronoun, pronoun. Morphology In Standard English, Standard M ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international perso ...
for life or until
abdication Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societi ...
. The
political legitimacy In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and as ...
and authority of the monarch may vary from restricted and largely symbolic (
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
), to fully
autocratic Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a State (polity), state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (exc ...
(
absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch is the only one to decide and therefore rules on his own. In this kind of monarchy, the king is usually limited by a constitution However in some of these ...
), and can expand across the domains of the
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
,
legislative A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday l ...
, and
judicial The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authori ...
. Monarchs can carry various titles such as
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...

emperor
,
empress An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...
,
king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen ...

king
,
queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reigni ...
,
raja ''Raja'' (; from Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European ...

raja
, khan,
tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slavic monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton M ...

tsar
,
sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun A noun (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...

sultan
,
shah Shah (; fa, شاه, Šâh or Šāh, , ) was a title given to the emperors and kings of Iran (historically known as "Name of Iran, Persia" in the Western world).Yarshater, EhsaPersia or Iran, Persian or Farsi, ''Iranian Studies'', vol. XXII no ...

shah
, or
pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the vernacular, common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty of Egypt, First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the t ...

pharaoh
. The succession of monarchs is in most cases
hereditary Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, the offspring cell (biology), cells or orga ...
, often building dynastic periods. However,
elective Elective may refer to: *Choice, the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them *Course (education)#Elective and required courses, Elective course in education **Elective (medical), a period of study forming p ...
and
self-proclaimedSelf-proclaimed describes a legal title that is recognized by the declaring person but not necessarily by any recognized legal authority. It can be the status of a noble title or the status of a nation. The term is used informally for anyone declarin ...
monarchies are possible.
Aristocrats Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its bro ...
, though not inherent to monarchies, often serve as the pool of persons to draw the monarch from and fill the constituting institutions (e.g.
diet Diet may refer to: Food * Diet (nutrition), the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group * Dieting, the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake ** Diet food, foods that aid in creating a diet for weight loss ...
and
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, Cr ...
), giving many monarchies
oligarchic Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may or may not be distinguished by one or several characteristics, such as nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked ...
elements. Monarchies were the most common form of government until the 20th century. Today forty-three sovereign nations in the world have a monarch, including fifteen
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms. In 1952, Elizabeth II was the monarch and head of state of seven ind ...
s that have
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke of York, Duke and Duchess of York (later Kin ...

Elizabeth II
as their shared head of state. Other than that there are a range of sub-national monarchical entities. Modern monarchies tend to be constitutional monarchies, retaining under a constitution unique legal and ceremonial roles for the monarch, exercising limited or no political power, similar to heads of state in a
parliamentary republicThe Parliamentary Republic can refer to: * A republican form of government with a Parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (o ...
.


Etymology

The word "monarch" ( la, monarchia, links=yes, label=Late Latin) comes from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages () ...
word (), derived from (, "one, single") and (, "to rule"): compare (, "ruler, chief"). It 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 quite rare.


History

Monarchies are thought to be preceded by the similar form of prehistoric societal hierarchy known as
chiefdom A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all soci ...
or tribal kingship. Chiefdoms are identified as having formed monarchic
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
, as in civilizations such as
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
,
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...

Ancient Egypt
and the
Indus Valley Civilization , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta figurines indicate the yoking of zebu oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken, a domesticated jungle fowl. The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze ...

Indus Valley Civilization
. In some parts of the world, chiefdoms became monarchies. Some of the oldest recorded and evidenced monarchies were
Narmer Narmer ( egy, Wiktionary:nꜥr-mr, nꜥr-mr, meaning "painful," "stinging," "harsh," or "fierce catfish;" ) was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period (Egypt), Early Dynastic Period. He was the successor to the Naqada III, Protod ...

Narmer
,
Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the vernacular, common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty of Egypt, First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the t ...

Pharaoh
of Ancient Egypt c. 3100 BCE, and
Enmebaragesi Enmebaragesi ( Sumerian:𒂗𒈨𒁈𒄄𒋛) originally Mebarasi (Sumerian:𒈨𒁈𒋛) was the penultimate king of the first dynasty of Kish and is recorded as having reigned 900 years in the Sumerian King List. Like his son and successor Ag ...
, a
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclo ...

Sumer
ian King of Kish c. 2600 BCE. From earliest records, monarchs could be directly hereditary, while others were elected from among eligible members. With the
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...

Egyptian
,
Mesopotamian Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ ''Bēṯ Nahrīn'') is a historical region Historical regions (or hist ...
, Sudanic, reconstructed
Proto-Indo-European religion Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths and deities associated with the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the hypothetical speakers of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language. Although the mythological motifs are not directly attested – ...
, and others, the monarch held sacral functions directly connected to
sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male d ...

sacrifice
and was sometimes identified with having divine ancestry, possibly establishing a notion of the
divine right of kings In European Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Majo ...
.
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the R ...

Polybius
identified monarchy as one of three "benign" basic forms of government (monarchy,
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, the aristocracy (class), aristocrats. The term derives from the G ...
, and
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...

democracy
), opposed to the three "malignant" basic forms of government (
tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...

tyranny
,
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in w ...
, and
ochlocracy Mob rule or ochlocracy ( el, ὀχλοκρατία, translit=okhlokratía; la, ochlocratia) is the rule of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...
). The monarch in classical antiquity is often identified as "
king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen ...
" or "ruler" (translating ''
archon ''Archon'' ( gr, ἄρχων, árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, ''árchontes'') is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem αρχ-, meanin ...

archon
'', ''
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualif ...
'', '' rex'', ''
tyrannos
tyrannos
'', etc.) or as "
queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reigni ...
" (''
basilinna The ''Basilinna'' ( grc-gre, Βασιλίννα) or ''Basilissa'' (), both titles meaning "queen", was a ceremonial position in the ancient Greek religion, religion of ancient Athens, held by the wife of the ''archon basileus''. The role dated to t ...
''). Polybius originally understood monarchy as a component of republics, but since antiquity monarchy has contrasted with forms of republic, where executive power is wielded by free citizens and their assemblies. The 4th-century BCE Hindu text ''
Arthasastra The ''Arthaśāstra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्र, ) is an ancient Indian Sanskrit treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy. Kautilya, also identified as Vishnugupta and Chanakya, is traditionally credited as t ...
'' laid out the ethics of monarchism. In antiquity, some monarchies were abolished in favour of such assemblies in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
(
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the Overthrow of the ...
, 509 BCE), and
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica (region), Attica region and is one of the List of oldest ...
(
Athenian democracy The relief representation depicts the personified Demos being crowned by Democracy. About 336 BC. Ancient Agora Museum. Athenian democracy developed around the 6th century BC in the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or rela ...
, 500 BCE). By the 17th century, monarchy was challenged by evolving
parliamentarism Parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracy, parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislature, legislative body has absolut ...
e.g. through regional assemblies (such as the
Icelandic Commonwealth The Icelandic Commonwealth (or Icelandic Free State; is, þjóðveldið) was the state existing in Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic countries, Nordic island country in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, with a populati ...
, the Swiss ''
Landsgemeinde The ''Landsgemeinde'' () or "cantonal assembly" is a public, non-secret ballot voting system operating by majority rule, which constitutes one of the oldest forms of direct democracy. Still at use – in a few places – at the Subdivisions of S ...
'' and later ''
Tagsatzung The Federal Diet of Switzerland (german: Tagsatzung, ; french: Diète fédérale; it, Dieta federale) was the legislative and executive council of the Swiss Confederacy which existed in various forms since the beginnings of Swiss independence ...
'', and the High Medieval communal movement linked to the rise of medieval
town privileges File:Square of Spisska Sobota 6.jpg, 250px, Medieval square in Spišská Sobota, Slovakia (Now Poprad). The former name of the town literally means "Saturday in Spiš" and it is derived from a day of week in which the town was granted a right ...
) and by modern anti-monarchism e.g. of the temporary overthrow of the
English monarchy The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or ...
by the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of ba ...
in 1649, the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in British America between 1765 and 1791. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies formed independent states that defeated the First British Empire, British in ...
of 1776 and the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Brumaire, November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles ...

French Revolution
of 1789. One of many opponents of that trend was Elizabeth Dawbarn, whose anonymous ''Dialogue between Clara Neville and Louisa Mills, on Loyalty'' (1794) features "silly Louisa, who admires liberty,
Tom Paine Thomas Paine (born Thomas Pain; – In the contemporary record as noted by Conway, Paine's birth date is given as January 29, 1736–37. Common practice was to use a dash or a slash to separate the old-style year from the new-style year. In the ...
and the US, ho islectured by Clara on God's approval of monarchy" and on the influence women can exert on men. Since then advocacy of the abolition of a monarchy or respectively of
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature ...

republic
s has been called
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use t ...
, while the advocacy of monarchies is called
monarchism Monarchism is the advocacy of the system of monarchy or monarchical rule. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government independent of any specific monarch, whereas one who supports a particular monarch is a royalist. On ...
. As such republics have become the opposing and alternative form of government to monarchy, despite some having seen infringements through lifelong or even hereditary heads of state. With the rise of republicanism a diverse division between republicanism developed in the 19th-century politics (such as anti-monarchist radicalism) and
conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the traditional values or practices of the culture and civilization ...
or even
reactionary In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such a ...
monarchism Monarchism is the advocacy of the system of monarchy or monarchical rule. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government independent of any specific monarch, whereas one who supports a particular monarch is a royalist. On ...
. In the following 20th century many countries
abolished monarchy The abolition of monarchy involves the ending of monarchy, monarchical elements in government, usually hereditary. Abolition has been carried out in various ways, including via abdication leading to the extinction of the monarchy, legislative refor ...
and became republics, especially in the wake of
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "The war to end war, the war ...

World War I
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
. Today forty-three sovereign nations in the world have a
monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority a ...
, including fifteen
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms. In 1952, Elizabeth II was the monarch and head of state of seven ind ...
s that have
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke of York, Duke and Duchess of York (later Kin ...

Elizabeth II
as the head of state. Most modern monarchs are
constitutional monarch A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from a ...
s, who retain a unique legal and ceremonial role but exercise limited or no political power under a constitution. Many are so-called
crowned republic A crowned republic is an informal term that has been used to refer to a system of monarchy where the monarch's role may be seen as almost entirely ceremonial and where nearly all of the royal prerogatives are exercised in such a way that the monarc ...
s, surviving particularly in small states. In some nations, however, such as
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A con ...

Morocco
,
Qatar Qatar (, , or ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares its ...

Qatar
,
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein ( ; ), officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (german: link=no, Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a German language, German-speaking microstate located in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland. Liechtenstein is a constituti ...

Liechtenstein
, and
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern A ...

Thailand
, the hereditary monarch has more political influence than any other single source of authority in the state,even if it is by a constitutional mandate. According to a 2020 study, monarchy arose as a system of governance because of an efficiency in governing large populations and expansive territories during periods when coordinating such populations was difficult. The authors argue that monarchy declined as an efficient regime type with innovations in communications and transportation technology, as the efficiency of monarchy relative to other regime types declined. Today it considered that only five truly absolute monarchies remain:
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. It reads: "I bear witness that none deserves worship e ...

Saudi Arabia
,
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ ا ...

Oman
,
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Aus ...

Brunei
,
Eswatini Eswatini ( ; ss, eSwatini ), officially the Kingdom of Eswatini ( ss, Umbuso weSwatini, links=no), sometimes written in English as eSwatini, and formerly and still commonly known in English as Swaziland ( ; officially renamed in 2018), is a ...

Eswatini
, and
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatican ...

Vatican City
.


Characteristics and role

Monarchies are associated with hereditary reign, in which monarchs reign for life and the responsibilities and power of the position pass to their child or another 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 A royal family is the immediate family of kings/ queens, emirs/emiras, sultans/ sultanas, or raja/ rani and sometimes their extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or emperor, empress, and the ...
, the centre of the royal household and
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, Cr ...
. Growing up in a royal family (called a
dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The Pitt Building in Cambridge, which us ...
when it continues for several
generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is not ex ...

generation
s), future monarchs are often trained for their expected future responsibilities as monarch. Different systems of hereditary succession have been used, such as
proximity of bloodProximity of blood, or proximity by degree of kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline a ...
,
primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inheritance, inherit the parent's entire or main estate (law), estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child o ...
, and
agnatic seniority Agnatic seniority is a patrilineality, patrilineal principle of inheritance where the order of succession to the throne prefers the monarch's younger brother over the monarch's own sons. A monarch's children (the next generation) succeed only aft ...
(
Salic law#REDIRECT Salic law The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), or the was the ancient Salian Franks, Salian Frankish Civil law (legal system), civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis I, Clovis. The written text is in La ...
). While most monarchs in history have been male, many female monarchs also have reigned. The term "
queen regnant A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch, equivalent in rank and title to a king (title), king, who reigns in her own right over a realm known as a "kingdom"; as opposed to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king; ...
" refers to a ruling monarch, while "
queen consort A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king, or an empress consort in the case of an emperor. A queen consort usually shares her spouse's social Royal and noble ranks, rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchi ...
" refers to the wife of a reigning king. Rule may be hereditary in practice without being considered a monarchy: there have been some
family dictatorship A family dictatorship, or hereditary dictatorship, in political science terms a personalistic regime, is a form of dictatorship A dictatorship is a Government#Forms, form of government characterized by a single leader or group of leaders and lit ...
s (and also
political families Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of re ...
) in many
democracies Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polit ...

democracies
. The principal advantage of hereditary monarchy is the immediate continuity of leadership (as evidenced in the classic phrase " The King is dead. Long live the King!"). Some monarchies are not hereditary. In an
elective monarchy An elective monarchy is a monarchy ruled by an election, elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance. The manner of election, the nature of candidate qualifications ...
, monarchs are
elected
elected
or appointed by some body (an
electoral college An electoral college is a set of Voting, electors who are selected to elect a candidate to particular offices. Often these represent different organizations, political parties or Legal entity, entities, with each organization, political party or e ...
) for life or a defined period. Four elective monarchies exist today:
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...

Cambodia
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two reg ...

Malaysia
and the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia. It is located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares borders with Oma ...

United Arab Emirates
are 20th-century creations, while one (the
papacy The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

papacy
) is ancient. A
self-proclaimed monarchy A self-proclaimed monarchy is established when a person claims a monarchy without any historical ties to a previous dynasty. The self-proclaimedSelf-proclaimed describes a legal title that is recognized by the declaring person but not necessarily by ...
is established when a person claims the monarchy without any historical ties to a previous dynasty. There are examples of republican leaders who have proclaimed themselves monarchs:
Napoleon I of France Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
declared himself
Emperor of the French Emperor of the French (French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily loca ...
and ruled the
First French Empire The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, also known as the Napoleonic Empire, was the empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a domi ...
after having held the title of
First Consul The Consulate (French: ''Le Consulat'') was the top-level Government of France from the fall of the French Directory, Directory in the 18 Brumaire, coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the First French Empire, Napoleonic Empi ...
of the
French Republic France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of severa ...
for five years from his seizing power in the coup of 18 Brumaire. President
Jean-Bédel Bokassa Jean-Bédel Bokassa (; 22 February 1921 – 3 November 1996), also known as Bokassa I, was a Central African political and military leader who served as the second president of the Central African Republic The Central African Republic (C ...
of the
Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR; sg, Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka; french: République centrafricaine, RCA; , or , ) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to Central African Republic–Chad border, the north, Suda ...
declared himself Emperor of the
Central African Empire The Central African Empire (french: Empire centrafricain) was a short-lived and self-proclaimed imperial one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary s ...
in 1976.
Yuan Shikai Yuan Shikai (; 16 September 1859 – 6 June 1916) was a Chinese military and government official who rose to power during the late Qing dynasty, becoming the Emperor of the Empire of China (1915–1916). He tried to save the dynasty with a numb ...

Yuan Shikai
, the first formal President of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and No ...
, crowned himself Emperor of the short-lived "
Empire of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient histo ...
" a few years after the Republic of China was founded.


Powers of the monarch

* In an
absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch is the only one to decide and therefore rules on his own. In this kind of monarchy, the king is usually limited by a constitution However in some of these ...
, 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. * In a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
, the monarch's power is subject to a constitution. In most current constitutional monarchies, the monarch is mainly a ceremonial figurehead symbol of national unity and state continuity. Although nominally sovereignty, sovereign, the electorate (through the legislature) exercises political sovereignty. Constitutional monarchs' political power is limited. Typical monarchical powers include granting pardons, granting honour system, honours, and reserve powers, e.g. to dismiss the prime minister, refuse to dissolve parliament, or veto legislation ("withhold Royal Assent"). They often also have privileges of inviolability and sovereign immunity. A monarch's powers and influence will depend on tradition, precedent, popular opinion, and law. ** Semi-constitutional monarchy, Semi-constitutional monarchies exhibit fewer parliamentary powers or simply monarchs with more authority. The term "parliamentary monarchy" may be used to differentiate from semi-constitutional monarchies. * Monarchical reign has often been linked with Military dictatorship, military authority. In the late Roman Empire, the Praetorian Guard several times deposed Roman emperors and installed new emperors. Similarly, in the Abbasid Caliphate, the Ghilmans (slave soldiers) deposed Caliphs once they became prominent, allowing new ones to come to power. The Hellenistic kings of Macedon and of Epirus were elected by the army, which was similar in composition to the ''Ecclesia (ancient Athens), ecclesia'' of democracies, the council of all free citizens; military service was often linked with citizenship among the male members of the royal house. The military has dominated the monarch in modern
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern A ...

Thailand
and in medieval Japan (where a hereditary military chief, the ''shōgun'', was the ''de facto'' ruler, although the Emperor of Japan, Japanese emperor nominally reigned). In Italian fascism, Fascist Italy, the House of Savoy, Savoy monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel III coexisted with the Italian Fascist Party, Fascist single-party rule of Benito Mussolini; Kingdom of Romania, Romania under the Iron Guard and Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg), Greece during the first months of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, Colonels' regime were similar. Spain under Franco, 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 House of Bourbon, Bourbon heir, Juan Carlos I of Spain, Juan Carlos I, and Spanish transition to democracy, Spain became a democracy with the king as a figurehead constitutional monarch.


Person of monarch

Most monarchies 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. There are examples of joint sovereignty of spouses, parent and child or other relatives (such as William III of England, William III and Mary II in the kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland,
tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slavic monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton M ...

tsar
s Peter the Great, Peter I and Ivan V of Russia, and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles I and Joanna of Castile). Andorra currently is the world's only constitutional diarchy, a co-principality. Located in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, it has two co-princes: the bishop of Urgell in Spain (a prince-bishop) and the president of France (derived ''ex officio'' from the French kings, who themselves inherited the title from the counts of Foix). It is the only case in which an independent country's (co-)monarch is Democracy, democratically elected by the citizens of another country. In a personal union, separate independent states share the same person as monarch, but each realm retains separate laws and government. The fifteen separate
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms. In 1952, Elizabeth II was the monarch and head of state of seven ind ...
s 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 (law), minor, absent, or debilitated. A pretender is a claimant to an abolished throne or a throne already occupied by somebody else. Abdication is the act of formally giving up one's monarchical power and status. Monarchs may mark the ceremonial beginning of their reigns with a coronation or enthronement.


Role of monarch

Monarchy, especially absolute monarchy, is sometimes linked to Religion, religious aspects; many monarchs once claimed the right to rule by the will of a deity (Divine Right of Kings, Mandate of Heaven), or a special connection to a deity (sacred king), or even purported to be divine kings, or incarnations of deities themselves (imperial cult). Many European monarchs have been styled ''Fidei defensor'' (Defender of the Faith); some hold official positions relating to the state religion or established church. In the Western political tradition, a morally based, balanced monarchy was stressed as the ideal form of government, and little attention was paid to modern-day ideals of egalitarian democracy: e.g. Saint Thomas Aquinas unapologetically declared: "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." (''On Kingship''). 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, and to the Catholic Church, Church in matters of religion. In Dante Alighieri's ''De Monarchia'', a spiritualised, imperial Catholic monarchy is strongly promoted according to a Ghibelline world-view in which the "royal religion of Melchizedek" is emphasised against the priestly claims of the rival papal ideology. In
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. It reads: "I bear witness that none deserves worship e ...

Saudi Arabia
, the King of Saudi Arabia, 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 (خادم الحرمين الشريفين).


Titles of monarchs

Monarchs can have various titles. Common European titles of monarchs (in that hierarchical order of nobility) are
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...

emperor
or empress (from Latin: imperator or imperatrix),
king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen ...

king
or
queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reigni ...
, grand duke or grand duchess, prince or princess, duke or duchess. Some early modern European titles (especially in German states) included prince-elector, elector (German: , Prince-Elector, literally "electing prince"), margrave (German: , equivalent to the French title ''marquis'', literally "count of the borderland"), and burgrave (German: , literally "count of the castle"). Lesser titles include count and princely count. Slavic titles include knyaz and
tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slavic monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton M ...

tsar
(ц︢рь) or Tsarina, tsaritsa (царица), a word derived from the Roman Empire, Roman imperial title ''Caesar''. In the Muslim world, titles of monarchs include caliph (successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim community), padishah (emperor),
sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun A noun (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...

sultan
or Sultana (title), sultana, Shah, shâhanshâh (emperor),
shah Shah (; fa, شاه, Šâh or Šāh, , ) was a title given to the emperors and kings of Iran (historically known as "Name of Iran, Persia" in the Western world).Yarshater, EhsaPersia or Iran, Persian or Farsi, ''Iranian Studies'', vol. XXII no ...

shah
, malik (king) or malikah (queen), emir (commander, prince) or emira (princess), sheikh or sheikha, imam (used in
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ ا ...

Oman
). East Asian titles of monarchs include Emperor of China, ''huángdì'' (emperor or empress regnant), Son of Heaven, ''tiānzǐ'' (son of heaven), ''Emperor of Japan, tennō'' (emperor) or ''Empress of Japan, josei tennō'' (empress regnant), ''Joseon, wang'' (king) or ''yeowang'' (queen regnant), ''Korean Empire, hwangje'' (emperor) or ''Korean Empire, yeohwang'' (empress regnant). South Asian and South East Asian titles included ''Maharaja, mahārāja'' (high king) or ''maharani'' (high queen), ''
raja ''Raja'' (; from Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European ...

raja
'' (king) and ''rana (title), rana'' (king) or ''rani'' (queen) and ''ratu'' (South East Asian queen). Historically, Mongolic languages, Mongolic and Turkic languages, Turkic monarchs have used the title '' khan'' and ''khagan'' (emperor) or ''khatun'' and ''khanum'';
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...

Ancient Egypt
ian monarchs have used the title ''
pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the vernacular, common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty of Egypt, First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the t ...

pharaoh
'' for men and women. In Ethiopian Empire, monarchs used title ''Emperor of Ethiopia, nəgusä nägäst'' (king of kings) or Emperor of Ethiopia, nəgəstä nägäst (queen of kings). Many monarchs are addressed with particular Style (manner of address), styles or manners of address, like "Majesty", "Royal Highness", "By the Grace of God", ''Amir al-Mu'minin, Amīr al-Mu'minīn'' ("Leader of the Faithful"), ''List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Hünkar-i Khanedan-i Âl-i Osman'', "Sovereign of the Sublime House of Osman"), ''Malay styles and titles, Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda'' ("Majesty"), ''Jeonha'' ("Majesty"), ''Tennō Heika'' (literally "His Majesty the heavenly sovereign"), ''Bìxià'' ("Bottom of the Steps"). Sometimes titles are used to express claims to territories that are not held in fact (for example, English claims to the French throne), or titles not recognised (antipopes). Also, after a monarchy is deposed, often former monarchs and their descendants are given alternative titles (the King of Portugal was given the hereditary title Duke of Braganza).


Non-sovereign monarchies

A non-sovereign monarchy is one where the monarch is subject to a temporal authority higher than their own. Some are dependent on other powers (see vassals, suzerainty, puppet state, hegemony). 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
chiefdom A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all soci ...
s that were met by the colonialists when they first arrived on the continent are now constitutionally protected as regional or sectional entities. Furthermore, in Nigeria, though the hundreds of List of Nigerian traditional states, 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. For example, the Yoruba people, Yoruba city-state of Akure Kingdom, Akure in south-western Nigeria is something of an elective monarchy: its reigning ''Oba (ruler), Oba Deji of Akure, Deji'' has to be chosen by an electoral college of Nigerian chieftaincy, nobles from amongst a finite collection of royal princes of the realm upon the death or removal of an incumbent. In addition to these five countries, non-sovereign monarchies of varied sizes and complexities exist all over the rest of the continent of Africa.


Statehood

Monarchies pre-date polity, polities like nation states and even territorial states. A nation or constitution is not necessary in a monarchy since a person, the monarch, binds the separate territories and Legitimacy (political), political legitimacy (e.g. in personal union) together. Monarchies, though, have applied National symbol, state symbols like insignia or abstracts like the concept of the Crown to create a state identity, which is to be carried and occupied by the monarch, but represents the monarchy even in absence and #Succession, succession of the monarch. Nevertheless, monarchies can also be bound to territory, territories (e.g., the King of Norway) and popular monarchy, peoples (e.g., the Monarchy of Belgium, King of the Belgians).


Succession


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 A royal family is the immediate family of kings/ queens, emirs/emiras, sultans/ sultanas, or raja/ rani and sometimes their extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or emperor, empress, and the ...
tracing its origin through a historical
dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The Pitt Building in Cambridge, which us ...
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 paterfamilias, head of family, with sons and their male issue inheriting before brothers and their issue, and patrilineality, male-line males inheriting before females of the male line. This is the same as semi-Salic primogeniture. Complete exclusion of females from dynasty, dynastic succession is commonly referred to as application of the
Salic law#REDIRECT Salic law The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), or the was the ancient Salian Franks, Salian Frankish Civil law (legal system), civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis I, Clovis. The written text is in La ...
(see ''Terra salica''). Before primogeniture was enshrined in European law and tradition, kings would often secure the succession by having their successor (usually their eldest son) crowned during their own lifetime, so for a time there would be two kings in coregency—a senior king and a junior king. Examples were Henry the Young King of England and the early House of Capet, Direct Capetians in France. Sometimes, however, primogeniture can operate through the female line. In 1980, Sweden became the first European monarchy to declare equal (full cognatic) primogeniture, meaning that the eldest child of the monarch, whether female or male, ascends to the throne. Other kingdoms (such as the Netherlands in 1983, Norway in 1990, Belgium in 1991, Denmark in 2009, and Luxembourg in 2011) have since followed suit. The United Kingdom adopted absolute (equal) primogeniture (subject to the claims of existing heirs) on April 25, 2013, following Perth Agreement, agreement by the prime ministers of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms at the 22nd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. In the absence of children, the next most senior member of the collateral line (for example, a younger sibling of the previous monarch) 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 bloodProximity of blood, or proximity by degree of kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline a ...
. 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 (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. It reads: "I bear witness that none deserves worship e ...

Saudi Arabia
, succession to the throne first passes to the monarch's next eldest brother, and only after that to the monarch's children (agnatic seniority). However, on June 21, 2017, King Salman of Saudi Arabi revolted against this style of monarchy and elected his son to inherit the throne.


Elective monarchies

In an
elective monarchy An elective monarchy is a monarchy ruled by an election, elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance. The manner of election, the nature of candidate qualifications ...
, monarchs are
elected
elected
or appointed by somebody (an
electoral college An electoral college is a set of Voting, electors who are selected to elect a candidate to particular offices. Often these represent different organizations, political parties or Legal entity, entities, with each organization, political party or e ...
) for life or a defined period, but then reign like 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 are the Holy Roman Emperors (chosen by prince-electors but often coming from the same dynasty) and the Royal elections in Poland, free election of kings of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. For example, Pepin the Short (father of Charlemagne) was elected List of Frankish kings, King of the Franks by an assembly of Frankish leading men; nobleman Stanisław August Poniatowski of Poland was an elected king, as was Frederick I of Denmark. Germanic peoples also had elective monarchies. Six forms of elective monarchies exist today. The pope of the Roman Catholic Church (who rules as Sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State) is Papal conclave, elected for life by the College of Cardinals. In the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the List of Princes and Grand Masters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Prince and Grand Master is elected for life tenure by the Council Complete of State from within its members. In
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two reg ...

Malaysia
, the federal king, called the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Paramount Ruler, is elected for a five-year term from among and by the hereditary rulers (mostly
sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun A noun (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...

sultan
s) of nine of the federation's constitutive States of Malaysia, states, all on the Malay peninsula. The
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia. It is located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares borders with Oma ...

United Arab Emirates
also chooses its federal leaders from among emirs of the federated states. Furthermore, Andorra has a unique constitutional arrangement as one of its heads of state is the President of the France, French Republic in the form of a Co-Princes of Andorra, Co-Prince. This is the only instance in the world where the monarch of a state is elected by the citizens of a different country. In New Zealand, the Maori King, head of the Kingitanga Movement, is elected by a council of Maori elders at the funeral of their predecessor, which is also where their coronation takes place. All of the Heads of the Maori King Movement have been descendants of the first Maori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero, who was elected and became King in June 1858. The current monarch is King Tūheitia Paki, Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII, who was elected and became King on 21 August 2006, the same day as the funeral of his mother, Te Atairangikaahu, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the first Maori Queen. As well as being King and head of the Kingitanga Movement, King Tuheitia is also ''ex officio'' the Paramount Chief of the Waikato-Tainui tribe. Appointment by the current monarch is another system, used in Jordan. It also was used in Imperial Russia; however, it was soon changed to semi-Salic because the instability of the appointment system resulted in History of Russia (1721–96), an age of palace revolutions. In this system, the monarch chooses the successor, who is always his relative.


Other ways of succession

Other ways to success a monarchy can be through claiming alternative votes (e.g. as in the case of the Western Schism), claims of a mandate to rule (e.g. a popular or Divine right of kings, divine mandate), military occupation, a coup d'état, a will of the previous monarch or treaties between factions inside and outside of a monarchy (e.g. as in the case of the War of the Spanish Succession).


By accession

The legitimacy and authorities of monarchs are often Proclamation, proclaimed and recognized through occupying and being investiture, invested with insignia, seats, deeds and titles, like in the course of coronations. This is especially employed to legitimize and settle disputed successions, changes in ways of succession, status of a monarch (e.g. as in the case of the privilegium maius deed) or new monarchies altogether (e.g. as in the case of the Coronation of Napoleon I).


Dynasties

Succession is often based on the expected continuation of a dynasty, dynastic period or association in a dynastic union, which is sometimes War of succession, challenged by diverging Lineage (anthropology), lineage and Legitimists (disambiguation), legitimism.


Succession crisis

In cases of succession challenges it can be instrumental for pretenders to secure or install Legitimacy (political), legitimacy through the above, for example proof of accession like insignia, through treaties or a claim of a divine mandate to rule (e.g. by Hong Xiuquan and his Taiping Heavenly Kingdom).


Current monarchies

Currently, there are 43 nations and a population of roughly half a billion people in the world with a monarch as head of state. They fall roughly into the following categories:


Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II is, separately, monarch of fifteen
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms. In 1952, Elizabeth II was the monarch and head of state of seven ind ...
s (Antigua and Barbuda, the Australia, Commonwealth of Australia, the The Bahamas, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Papua New Guinea, Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Saint Kitts and Nevis, Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). They evolved out of the British Empire into fully independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations that retain the Queen as head of state. All fifteen realms are constitutional monarchies and full democracies where the Queen has limited powers or a largely ceremonial role. The Queen is head of the Church of England (the established church of England), while the other 14 realms do not have a state religion.


Other European constitutional monarchies

The Principality of Andorra, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Kingdom of Sweden are fully democratic states in which the monarch has a limited or largely ceremonial role. In some cases, there is a Christian religion established as the official church in each of these countries. This is the Lutheran form of Protestantism in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, while Andorra is a Roman Catholic country. Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands have no official state religion. Luxembourg, which is predominantly Roman Catholic, has five so-called ''officially recognized cults of national importance'' (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Greek Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Islam), a status which gives those religions some privileges like the payment of a state salary to their priests. Andorra is unique among all existing monarchies, as it is a diarchy, with the co-princes being shared by the president of France and the bishop of Urgell. This situation, based on historical precedence, has created a peculiar situation among monarchies, as: * neither of the co-princes is of Andorran descent; * one is elected by citizens of a foreign country (France), but not by Andorrans as they cannot vote in the French presidential elections; and * the other, the bishop of Urgel, is appointed by a foreign head of state, the pope.


European semi constitutional monarchies

A semi-constitutional monarchy is a monarchy where the monarch rules according to a democratic constitution but still retains substantial powers. The Liechtenstein, Principality of Liechtenstein and the Monaco, Principality of Monaco are European semi constitutional monarchies. For example, the Liechtenstein constitutional referendum, 2003, 2003 Constitution referendum gave the Prince of Liechtenstein the power to veto any law that the Landtag (parliament) proposes, while the Landtag can veto any law that the Prince tries to pass. The prince can appoint or dismiss any elective member or government employee. However, he is not an absolute monarch, as the people can call for a referendum to end the monarch's reign. When Hereditary Prince Alois threatened to veto a referendum to legalize abortion in 2011, it came as a surprise because the prince had not vetoed any law for over 30 years. The prince of Monaco has simpler powers; he cannot appoint or dismiss any elective member or government employee to or from his or her post, but he can elect the Minister of State of Monaco, minister of state, Politics of Monaco, government council and judges. Both Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, are theoretically very powerful within their small states, but they have very limited power compared to the Islamic monarchs (see below). They also own huge tracts of land and are shareholders in many companies.


Islamic monarchies

The Islamic monarchs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Brunei Darussalam, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Kuwait,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two reg ...

Malaysia
, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia. It is located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares borders with Oma ...

United Arab Emirates
generally retain far more powers than their European or Commonwealth counterparts. Brunei Darussalam, Oman, 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 and Southeast Asian constitutional monarchies

The Kingdom of Bhutan, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Kingdom of Thailand and Japan are constitutional monarchies where the monarch has a limited or merely ceremonial role. Bhutan made the change in 2008. Cambodia had its own monarchy after independence from the French Colonial Empire, but it was deposed after the Khmer Rouge came into power. The monarchy was subsequently restored in the peace agreement of 1993. Thailand transitioned into a constitutional monarchy over the course of the 20th Century.


Other monarchies

Five monarchies do not fit into any of the above groups by virtue of geography or class of monarchy: the Kingdom of Tonga in Polynesia; the Kingdom of Eswatini and the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa; the Vatican City State in Europe and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Of these, Lesotho and Tonga are constitutional monarchies, while Eswatini and the Vatican City are absolute monarchies. Eswatini is unique among these monarchies, often being considered a diarchy: the King, or Ngwenyama, rules alongside his mother, the Ndlovukati, as dual heads of state. This was originally intended to provide a check 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 the absolute monarch of the Vatican City State (a separate entity from the Holy See) by virtue of his position as head of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome; he is an elected rather than a hereditary ruler, and does not have to be a citizen of the territory prior to his election by the cardinals. The Order of Malta describes itself as a "sovereign subject" based on its unique history and unusual present circumstances, but its exact status in international law is a subject of debate. In Samoa, the position of head of state is described in Part III of the 1960 Constitution of Samoa, Samoan constitution. At the time the constitution was adopted, it was anticipated that future heads of state would be chosen from among the four Tama a 'Aiga "royal" paramount chiefs. However, this is not required by the constitution, and, for this reason, Samoa can be considered a republic rather than a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
. The Kim dynasty (North Korea), ruling Kim family in North Korea (Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un) has been described as a ''de facto''
absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch is the only one to decide and therefore rules on his own. In this kind of monarchy, the king is usually limited by a constitution However in some of these ...
Young W. Kihl, Hong Nack Kim. ''North Korea: The Politics of Regime Survival''. Armonk, New York, USA: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2006. Pp 56.Robert A. Scalapino, Chong-Sik Lee. ''The Society''. University of California Press, 1972. Pp. 689.Bong Youn Choy. A history of the Korean reunification movement: its issues and prospects. Research Committee on Korean Reunification, Institute of International Studies, Bradley University, 1984. Pp. 117. or a "hereditary dictatorship". In 2013, Clause 2 of Article 10 of the new edited Ten Fundamental Principles of the Workers' Party of Korea, Korean Workers' Party states that the party and revolution must be carried "eternally" by the "Baekdu (Kim's) bloodline".The Twisted Logic of the N.Korean Regime
Chosun Ilbo, 2013-08-13, Accessed date: 2017-01-11
This though does not mean it is a ''de jure'' absolute monarchy, as the country's name is the Democratic Republic of Korea. The al-Assad ruling Syria (Hafez al-Assad and Bashar al-Assad ) have also been described as a ''de facto''
absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch is the only one to decide and therefore rules on his own. In this kind of monarchy, the king is usually limited by a constitution However in some of these ...
or a "hereditary dictatorship". After the death of Hafez Al-Assad in 2000, the Constitution of Syria was Syrian Constitution of 1973#History, amended for the minimum age of the President to change from 40 to 34, which allowed 34 year old Bashar al-Assad to become president. This though does not mean it is a ''de jure'' absolute monarchy, as the country's name is the Syrian Arab Republic.


Long form titles for the country

* Kingdom: Bahrain, Belgium, Bhutan, Cambodia, Denmark, Eswatini, Kuwait Lesotho, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom * State: Kuwait, Qatar, ''Japan (de facto)'' * Principality: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco * Federation: Saint Kitts and Nevis, ''Malaysia (de facto)'' * Commonwealth: Australia, Bahamas * Sultanate: Oman * Nation: Brunei Darussalam * Grand Duchy: Luxembourg * City State: Vatican * Independent State: Papua New Guinea * Emirate: United Arab Emirates * None: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu


See also

* Absolute monarchy * Abolition of monarchy * Autocracy * Cloistered rule * Criticism of monarchy * Diarchy * Empire * Family as a model for the state * Family dictatorship * Federal monarchy * Hereditary monarchy * List of current constituent monarchs * List of current monarchies * List of current sovereign monarchs * List of living former sovereign monarchs * List of fictional monarchs * List of monarchies * List of monarchs by nickname * List of royalty by net worth * List of usurpers * Monarchism * Order of succession * President for life * Pretender * Personal union * Royal and noble ranks


Notes and references


Notes


References


External links


The Constitutional Monarchy Association
in the UK * {{Authority control Monarchy, Positions of authority Titles Constitutional state types Political systems