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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

Buckingham Palace. This is the principal façade, the East Front; originally constructed by Edward Blore and completed in 1850, it was redesigned in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb.

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. The palace is a setting for state occasions and royal entertaining, and a major tourist attraction. It has been a rallying point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis.Originally known as Buckingham House, the building forming the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 and acquired by George III in 1761 as a private residence, known as "The Queen's House". It was enlarged over the next 75 years, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th century, including the present-day public face of Buckingham Palace. The building is occasionally still referred to as "Buck House".The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which still survive, included widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle epoque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House following the death of King George IV. The Buckingham Palace Garden is the largest private garden in London, originally landscaped by Capability Brown, but redesigned by William Townsend Aiton of Kew Gardens and John Nash. The artificial lake was completed in 1828 and is supplied with water from the Serpentine, a lake in Hyde Park.

Selected king

Bust of Caesar Augustus.

Augustus (Latin: IMPERATOR•CÆSAR•DIVI•FILIVS•AVGVSTVS;a[›] September 23, 63 BC – August 19, AD 14), born Gaius Octavius Thurinus and prior to 27 BC, known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Latin: GAIVS•IVLIVS•CÆSAR•OCTAVIANVS) after adoption, was the first emperor of the Roman Empire, who ruled from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. The young Octavius was adopted by his great uncle, Julius Caesar, and came into his inheritance after Caesar's assassination in 44 BC. In 43 BC, Octavian joined forces with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in a military dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. As a Triumvir, Octavian effectually ruled Rome and most of its provinces as an autocrat, seizing consular power after the deaths of the consuls Hirtius and Pansa and having himself perpetually re-elected. The Triumvirate was eventually torn apart under the competing ambitions of its rulers: Lepidus was driven into exile, and Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by the armies of Octavian in 31 BC.After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Octavian restored the outward facade of the Roman Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, but in practice retained his autocratic power. It took several years to work out the exact framework by which a formally republican state could be led by a sole ruler, the result of which became known as the Roman Empire. The emperorship was never an office like the Roman dictatorship which Caesar and Sulla had held before him; indeed, he declined it when the Roman populace "entreated him to take on the dictatorship". By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including those of tribune of the plebs and censor.

Did you know...

Sturgeons, along with whales, dolphins, and porpoises, are royal fish.

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Schloss Neuschwanstein   250px

Credit:Malene Thyssen

Schloss Neuschwanstein ("new swan stone castle") in southwest Bavaria is one of Germany's most popular tourist destinations. Construction was started by King Ludwig II and took 17 years. After his death in 1886, the castle was opened to the public. During World War II, many valuable items (all stolen) were stored at the castle, destined for Adolf Hitler's personal collection.


Selected queen

Queen of England, Scots and Ireland

Mary II (30 April 1662 – 28 December 1694) reigned as Queen of England and Ireland from 13 February 1689, and as Queen of Scots (as Mary II of Scotland) from 11 April 1689 until her death. Mary, a Protestant, came to the thrones following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of her Roman Catholic father, James II and VII. Mary reigned jointly with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, who became the sole ruler of both countries upon her death in 1694. Popular histories usually refer to the joint reigns as those 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.Mary, born at St. James Palace in London on 30 April 1662, was the eldest daughter of James, Duke of York (the future James II of England) and of his first wife, Lady 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, Lady Mary became betrothed to the Protestant Stadtholder, William, Prince of Orange.William was the son of her aunt, Mary, Princess Royal, and Prince William II of Nassau.

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