Personal union

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This article is about the political arrangement. For the Christian theological teaching, see Hypostatic union.

A personal union is the combination of two or more different states who have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct.[1][2] It differs from a federation in that each constituent state has an independent government, whereas a federal state is united by a central government. The ruler in a personal union need not be a hereditary monarch.[3]

Personal unions can arise for several reasons, ranging from coincidence (a woman who is already married to a king becomes queen regnant, and their child inherits the crown of both countries) to virtual annexation (where a personal union sometimes was seen as a means of preventing uprisings). They can also be codified (i.e., the constitutions of the states clearly express that they shall share the same person as head of state) or non-codified, in which case they can easily be broken (e.g., by the death of the monarch when the two states have different succession laws).

The Commonwealth realms, not addressed in the list of personal unions, are contemporary independent states that share the same person as monarch.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Lalor, ed., Cyclopaedia of Political Science. New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co. Accessed 13 June 2013
  2. ^ Oppenheim, Lassa; Roxbrough, Ronald (2005). International Law: A Treatise. The Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1-58477-609-9. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  3. ^ In the Holy Roman Empire, many prince-bishops had themselves elected to separate prince-bishoprics, that they ruled in a personal union. For example, Joseph Clemens von Bayern (1671-1723) was Prince-Bishop of Freising (1685-1694), Prince-Bishop of Regensburg (1685-1694), Prince-Elector of Cologne (1688-1723), Prince-Bishop of Liège (1694-1723) and Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim (1702-1723).