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.
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to the British Sovereign. The Privy Council was formerly a powerful institution, but its substantial decisions are now controlled by one of its committees, the Cabinet. The Council also performs judicial functions, which are for the most part delegated to the Judicial Committee. The Sovereign, when acting on the Council's advice, is known as the King-in-Council or Queen-in-Council. The members of the Council are collectively known as The Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (sometimes The Lords and others of...). The chief officer of the body is the Lord President of the Council, who is the fourth highest Great Officer of State, a member of the Cabinet, and normally, the Leader of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons. Another important official is the Clerk, whose signature is appended to all orders made in the Council.Both "Privy Counsellor" and "Privy Councillor" may be correctly used to refer to a member of the Council. The former, however, is preferred by the Privy Council Office, emphasising English usage of the term "Counsellor" as "one who gives counsel", as opposed to "one who is a member of a council." A Privy Counsellor is said to be 'sworn of' the Council when he/she first joins it.Members of the British House of Commons who are also Privy Counsellors are traditionally addressed as "The Right Honourable" (see also The Right Honourable) when referred to in the chamber. Other members of the House are simply addressed as "The Honourable."
George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Hanover from 29 January 1820 until his death. He had earlier served as The Prince Regent when his father, George III, suffered from a relapse into insanity from an illness that is now suspected to have been porphyria. The Regency, George's nine-year tenure as Prince Regent, which commenced in 1811 and ended with George III's death in 1820, was marked by victory in the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. George was a stubborn monarch, often interfering in politics, especially in the matter of Catholic emancipation, though not as much as his father. For most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister. George is remembered largely for the extravagant lifestyle that he maintained as prince and monarch. By 1797 his weight had reached 17 stone 7 pounds (111 kg or 245 lb),and by 1824 his corset was made for a waist of 50 inches (127 cm). He had a poor relationship with both his father and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, whom he even forbade to attend his coronation. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste. He commissioned architects John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, and Sir Jeffry Wyatville to rebuild Windsor Castle. He was largely instrumental in the foundation of the National Gallery, London and King's College London.
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.