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.
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.
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.
Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, The Faerie Queen or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. The daughter of Henry VIII, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed three years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Perhaps for that reason, her brother, Edward VI, cut her out of the succession. His will, however, was set aside, as it contravened the Third Succession Act of 1543, in which Elizabeth was named as successor provided that Mary I of England, Elizabeth's half-sister, should die without issue. In 1558, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister, during whose reign she had been imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel,and she depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers led by William Cecil, Baron Burghley. One of her first moves was to support the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement held firm throughout her reign and later evolved into today's Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry, but despite several petitions from parliament, she never did. The reasons for this choice are unknown, and they have been much debated.