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.

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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

Formal portrait, circa 1940–46.

George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death. He was the last Emperor of India (until 1947) and the last King of Ireland (until 1949). As the second son of King George V, he was not expected to inherit the throne and spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. He served in the Royal Navy during World War I, and after the war took on the usual round of public engagements. He married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, and they had two daughters, Elizabeth (who succeeded him as Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret.At the death of his father in 1936, the future George VI's brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII. However, less than a year later Edward expressed his desire to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. For political and religious reasons, the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, advised Edward that he could not marry Mrs. Simpson and remain king. So, Edward abdicated to marry. By reason of this abdication, unique in 2000 years of British history, George VI ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.Within 24 hours of his accession the Irish parliament (the Oireachtas) passed the External Relations Act, which essentially removed the power of the monarch in Ireland.

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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

Queen of England, Scots and Ireland

Mary II (30 April 1662 – 28 December 1694) was Queen of England and Ireland from 13 February 1689, and Queen of Scotland from 11 April 1689 until her death.

Mary, born at St James's Palace in London, was the eldest daughter of James, Duke of York (the future James II of England) and his first wife, Anne Hyde. Mary's uncle was Charles II; her maternal grandfather, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, served for a lengthy period as Charles's chief advisor. The Duke of York converted to Roman Catholicism in 1668 or 1669, but Mary and Anne had a Protestant upbringing, pursuant to the command of Charles II. At the age of fifteen, Mary became betrothed to her cousin, the Protestant Stadtholder William of Orange. William was the son of her aunt, Mary, Princess Royal, and Prince William II of Nassau. Mary, a Protestant, became queen following the Glorious Revolution, which deposed her Roman Catholic father. Mary reigned jointly with her husband, who became the sole ruler of both countries upon her death in 1694. Popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of "William and Mary". Mary, although a sovereign in her own right, did not wield power during most of her reign, instead ceding it to her husband. She did, however, govern the realms when William was engaged in military campaigns abroad.

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