Portal:Monarchy

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Introduction

Richard I of England being anointed during his coronation in Westminster Abbey, from a 13th-century chronicle.

A monarchy is a form of government in which a group, generally a family representing a dynasty (aristocracy), embodies the country's national identity and its head, the monarch, exercises the role of sovereignty. The actual power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic (crowned republic), to partial and restricted (constitutional monarchy), to completely autocratic (absolute monarchy). Traditionally the monarch's post is inherited and lasts until death or abdication; in contrast, elective monarchies require the monarch to be elected. Both types have further variations as there are widely divergent structures and traditions defining monarchy, for example, in some [which?] elected monarchies only pedigrees are taken into account for eligibility of the next ruler, whereas many hereditary monarchies impose requirements regarding the religion, age, gender, mental capacity, etc. Occasionally this might create a situation of rival claimants whose legitimacy is subject to effective election. 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.

Monarchic rule was the most common form of government until the 19th century, it is now usually a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch retains a unique legal and ceremonial role, but exercises limited or no official political power: under the written or unwritten constitution, others have governing authority. Currently, 45 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. Most modern European monarchies are constitutional and hereditary with a largely ceremonial role, with the exception of the Vatican which is an elective theocracy and the Principalities of Liechtenstein and Monaco where the monarchs exercise unrestricted authority. The monarchies of Cambodia and Malaysia are constitutional with a largely ceremonial role, despite possessing significantly more social and legal clout than their European counterparts, the monarchs of Brunei, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland have more political influence than any other single source of authority in their nations, either by tradition or a constitutional mandate.

Selected article

The Palace of Queluz. The "Ceremonial Façade" of the corps de logis designed by Oliveira (marked 4 on plan below).

The Queluz National Palace (Portuguese: Palácio Nacional de Queluz) is a Portuguese 18th-century palace located at Queluz, a freguesia of the modern-day Sintra municipality, in the District of Lisbon. One of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe, the palace was conceived as a summer retreat for Dom Pedro of Braganza, later to become husband and then king consort to his own niece, Queen Maria I. It served as a discreet place of incarceration for Queen Maria as her descent into madness continued in the years following Dom Pedro's death in 1786. Following the destruction by fire of the Ajuda Palace in 1794, Queluz Palace became the official residence of the Portuguese prince regent, John VI, and his family and remained so until the Royal Family fled to Brazil in 1807 following the French invasion of Portugal.Work on the palace began in 1747 under the architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, despite being far smaller, the palace is often referred to as the Portuguese Versailles. From 1826, the palace slowly fell from favour with the Portuguese sovereigns; in 1908, it became the property of the state. Following a serious fire in 1934, which gutted the interior, the palace was extensively restored, and today is open to the public as a major tourist attraction.One wing of the palace, the Pavilion of Dona Maria, built between 1785 and 1792 by the architect Manuel Caetano de Sousa, is now a guest house allocated to foreign heads of state visiting Portugal.Queluz's architecture is representative of the final extravagant period of Portuguese culture that followed the discovery of Brazilian gold in 1690.

Selected king

Portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762

George III of the United Kingdom (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820 [N.S.]) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until 1 January 1801, and thereafter of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was concurrently Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover), and thus Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, and later King of Hanover. The Electorate became the Kingdom of Hanover on 12 October 1814, he was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, and the first of Hanover to be born in Britain and speak English as his first language.George III's long reign was marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdom and much of the rest of Europe. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of its American colonies were soon lost in the American Revolutionary War, which led to the establishment of the United States. Later, the kingdom became involved in a series of wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France, which finally concluded in the defeat of Napoleon in 1815; in addition, during George's reign the realms of Great Britain and Ireland were joined, forming the United Kingdom. Later in his reign George III suffered from recurrent and, eventually, permanent mental illness, this baffled medical science at the time, although it is now generally thought that he suffered from the blood disease porphyria. Porphyria can be triggered by the poison arsenic, and recent studies have shown high levels of arsenic in locks of King George's hair.

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Jane Loftus, marchioness of Ely

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Selected picture

Chapel, Palace of Versailles

Credit: Diliff

The chapel of the Palace of Versailles, one of the palace's grandest interiors. Located in Versailles, France, Versailles is famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy which Louis XIV espoused. Originally the royal hunting lodge when he decided to move there in 1660, the building was expanded over the next few decades to become the largest palace in Europe. Louis XIV officially moved in 1682 and the Court of Versailles was the centre of power in Ancien Régime France until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789.

Selected queen

The Queen at the World's Fair, New York City, 1939

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth Angela Marguerite; 4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002), was the Queen Consort of King George VI and the British Dominions from 1936 until his death in 1952. After her husband's death, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Elizabeth II (see queen mother). Before her husband ascended the throne, from 1923 to 1936 she was known as the Duchess of York, she was the last Queen-consort of Ireland and Empress-consort of India. Born into a family of Scottish nobility (her father inherited the Earldom of Strathmore and Kinghorne in 1904), she came to prominence in 1923 when she married Albert, Duke of York, the second son of George V and Queen Mary. As Duchess of York, she – along with her husband and their two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret – embodied traditional ideas of family and public service; in 1936, her husband unexpectedly became King when her brother-in-law, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry his mistress, the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. As Queen Consort, Elizabeth accompanied her husband on diplomatic tours to France and North America in the run-up to World War II, during the war, her seemingly indomitable spirit provided moral support to the British public, and in recognition of her role as a propaganda tool, Adolf Hitler described her as "the most dangerous woman in Europe".

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