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.
The Coronation of the British Monarch is a ceremony (specifically, initiation rite) in which the monarch of the United Kingdom and of the other Commonwealth realms is formally crowned and invested with regalia. It corresponds to the coronation ceremonies that formerly occurred in other European monarchies; all have abandoned coronations in favour of inaugurations.The coronation usually takes place several months after the death of the previous monarch, as it is considered a joyous occasion that would be inappropriate when mourning still continues. This also gives planners enough time to complete the elaborate arrangements required. For example, Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2, 1953, despite having acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, the instant her father died. British law states that the throne is not left 'vacant' and the new Monarch succeeds the old immediately.The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior cleric of the Church of England. Other clergy and members of the nobility also have roles; most participants in the ceremony are required to wear ceremonial uniforms or robes. Many other government officials and guests attend, including representatives of foreign countries.The essential elements of the coronation have remained largely unchanged for the past thousand years. The sovereign is first presented to, and acclaimed by, the people. He or she then swears an oath to uphold the law and the Church. Following that the monarch is anointed with oil, crowned, and invested with the regalia, before receiving the homage of his or her subjects.
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.
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.