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The Monarchy Portal

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 single person holds supreme authority in ruling a country, also performing ceremonial duties and embodying the country's national identity. Although some monarchs are elected, in most cases, the monarch's position is inherited and lasts until death or abdication. In these cases, the royal family or members of the dynasty usually serve in official capacities as well. The governing power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic (crowned republic), to partial and restricted (constitutional monarchy), to completely autocratic (absolute monarchy).

Monarchy was the most common form of government until the 20th century. Forty-five sovereign nations in the world have monarchs acting as heads of state, sixteen of which are Commonwealth realms that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. Most modern monarchs are constitutional monarchs, who retain a unique legal and ceremonial role, but exercise limited or no political power under the nation's constitution. In some nations, however, such as Brunei, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Eswatini, the hereditary monarch has more political influence than any other single source of authority in the nation, either by tradition or by a constitutional mandate.

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Albert Memorial
Credit: David Iliff

The Albert Memorial, a monument to Prince Albert found in Kensington Gardens, London, England, as seen from the south side. Directly to the north of the Royal Albert Hall. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic revival style. Opened in 1872, the memorial is 176 feet (54 m) tall, took over ten years to complete, and cost £120,000.

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Prince's Palace of Monaco
The Prince's Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. Originally founded in 1191 as a Genoese fortress, during its long and often dramatic history it has been bombarded and besieged by many foreign powers. Since the end of the 13th century, it has been the stronghold and home of the Grimaldi family who first captured it in 1297. The Grimaldis' power was often derived from fragile agreements with their larger and stronger neighbours. Thus while the sovereigns of Europe were building luxurious, modern Renaissance and Baroque palaces, politics and common sense demanded that the palace of the Monaco rulers be fortified. The Grimaldis' occupation of their palace is also unusual because, unlike other European ruling families, the absence of alternative palaces and land shortages have resulted in their use of the same residence for more than seven centuries. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the palace and its owners became symbols of the slightly risqué glamour and decadence that was associated with Monte Carlo and the French Riviera. Glamour and theatricality became reality when the American film star Grace Kelly became chatelaine to the palace in 1956. In the 21st century, the palace remains the residence of the current Prince of Monaco.


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Featured articles: Áedán mac Gabráin · · Æthelbald of Mercia · Æthelberht of Kent · Æthelred of Mercia · Aldfrith of Northumbria · Bhumibol Adulyadej · Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia · · Anne of Denmark · Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom · · · · Augustus · · · Cædwalla of Wessex · Ceawlin of Wessex · (...more)

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