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A monarchy, from the Greek μονος, "one", and ἀρχειν, "to rule", is a form of government in which a monarch, usually a single person, is the head of State. Monarchies were formed through conquest, popular sovereignty, greed, tradition, political necessity and an opportunity to exploit certain situations.

In most monarchies, the monarch holds their position for life and passes the responsibilities and power of the position to their children or family when they die; in a few republics the head of State, often styled president, might remain in office for life, but most are elected for a term of office, after which he or she must step down, and any successors must then also be elected. There are currently 30 monarchs reigning over 44 extant sovereign monarchies in the world; the disconnect in numbers between monarchs and countries is explained by the fact that the sixteen Commonwealth realms—vast geographic areas including the transcontinental realms of Canada and Australia—are separate realms of one sovereign; and one other monarchy, Andorra, has two non-resident foreign (French and Spanish) co-monarchs.

Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government where the monarch has the power to rule his or her land or State and its citizens freely, with some laws or legally-organized direct opposition in force. Although some religious authority may be able to discourage the monarch from some acts and the sovereign is expected to act according to custom, in an absolute monarchy there is no constitution or body of law above what is decreed by the sovereign (king or queen). As a theory of civics, absolute monarchy puts total trust in well-bred and well-trained monarchs raised for the role from birth.

A constitutional monarchy or limited monarchy is a form of government established under a constitutional system which acknowledges an elected or hereditary monarch as head of State, as opposed to an absolute monarchy, where the monarch is not bound by a constitution and is the sole source of political power. (The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy even though it does not have an actual written constitution.) The process of government and law within a constitutional monarchy is usually very different from that in an absolute monarchy.

Selected article

Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The monarchy of the United Kingdom (the British monarchy), is a system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The terms British monarch and British monarchy may mean different things in different contexts beyond the United Kingdom (see Context).The present monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since February 6, 1952, the heir apparent is her eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay. They and the Queen's husband and consort, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, undertake various public duties in accordance with their positions.Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth and also reigns as head of state of 15 other Commonwealth countries, this developed from the former colonial relationship of these countries to Britain, but they are now independent and the monarchy of each is legally distinct.The British monarchy can trace its ancestral lineage back to the kings of the Angles and the early Scottish kings. By the year 1000, the petty kingdoms of early medieval Britain had resolved into the kingdoms of England and Scotland, from 1603, when the Scottish king inherited the English throne, both kingdoms were ruled by a single monarch, and in 1707 the kingdoms were merged to create the Kingdom of Great Britain and, essentially, the monarchy of the United Kingdom today.Succession is governed by several enactments, the most important being the Bill of Rights 1689 and Act of Settlement 1701, the rules of succession may be changed by an Act of Parliament.

Selected king

Imaginary depiction of Ælle from John Speed's 1611 "Saxon Heptarchy".

Ælle of Sussex (also Aelle or Ella) (pronounced /'ælə/) is recorded in early sources as the first king of the South Saxons, reigning in what is now called Sussex, England, from 477 to perhaps as late as 514. The information about him is so limited that it cannot be said with certainty that Ælle existed.Ælle and three of his sons are reported to have arrived from the continent near what is now Selsey Bill—the exact location is under the sea, and is probably a sandbank currently known as the Owers—and fought with the Britons. A victory in 491 at present day Pevensey is said to have ended with the Saxons slaughtering their opponents to the last man, although the details of these traditions cannot be verified, evidence from the place names of Sussex does make it clear that it was an area with extensive and early settlement by the Saxons, supporting the idea that this was one of their early conquests.Ælle was the first king recorded by the eighth century chronicler Bede to have held "imperium", or overlordship, over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In the late ninth-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (around four hundred years after his time) Ælle is recorded as being the first bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler", though there is no evidence that this was a contemporary title. Ælle's death is not recorded, and it is not known who succeeded him as king of the South Saxons.

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Edward VI of England

Credit:Unknown, probably of the Flemish School

A portrait of Edward VI of England, when he was Prince of Wales. He is shown wearing a badge with the Prince of Wales's feathers, it was most likely painted in 1546 when he was eight years old, during the time when he was resident at Hunsdon House. Edward became King of England, King of France and Edward I of Ireland the following year. He was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first ruler who was Protestant at the time of his ascension to the throne. Edward's entire rule was mediated through a council of regency, he died at the age of 15 in 1553. .

Selected queen

Queen of Great Britain and Ireland

Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702, succeeding William III of England and II of Scotland. Her Roman Catholic father, James II and VII, was forcibly deposed in 1688; her brother-in-law and her sister then became joint monarchs as William III-II and Mary II, the only such case in British history. After Mary's death in 1694, William continued as sole monarch until his own death in 1702.On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union 1707, England and Scotland were united as a single state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. Anne became its first sovereign, while continuing to hold the separate crown of Queen of Ireland. Anne reigned for twelve years until her death in August 1714.Anne's life was marked by many crises, both personally and relating to succession of the Crown and religious polarisation, because she died without surviving issue, Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, daughter of James I.Anne was born at St. James's Palace, London, the second daughter of James, Duke of York, (afterwards James II) and his first wife, the Lady Anne Hyde. Her paternal uncle was King Charles II and her older sister was the future Mary II.



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