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Portal:Monarchy

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The Monarchy Portal

The Weld-Blundell Prism is inscribed with the Sumerian King List
The heraldic crown for the King of Norway (1905 pattern)

A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from restricted and largely symbolic (constitutional monarchy), to fully autocratic (absolute monarchy), and can span across executive, legislative, and judicial domains.

The succession of monarchs has mostly been hereditary, often building dynasties. However, elective and self-proclaimed monarchies have also often occurred throughout history. Aristocrats, though not inherent to monarchies, often serve as the pool of persons from which the monarch is chosen, and to fill the constituting institutions (e.g. diet and court), giving many monarchies oligarchic elements.

Monarchs can carry various titles such as emperor, empress, king, and queen. Monarchies can form federations, personal unions and realms with vassals through personal association with the monarch, which is a common reason for monarchs carrying several titles.

Monarchies were the most common form of government until the 20th century, by which time republics had replaced many monarchies. Today forty-three sovereign nations in the world have a monarch, including fifteen Commonwealth realms that share King Charles III as their head of state. Other than that, there is a range of sub-national monarchical entities. Most of the modern monarchies are constitutional monarchies, retaining under a constitution unique legal and ceremonial roles for the monarch, exercising limited or no political power, similar to heads of state in a parliamentary republic. (Full article...)

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Great coat of arms of the Russian Empire (1800)
Great coat of arms of the Russian Empire (1800)
Credit: Unknown

The Great Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, as presented to Emperor Paul I in October 1800. The use of the double-headed eagle in the coat of arms (seen in multiple locations here) goes back to the 15th century. With the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Grand Dukes of Muscovy came to see themselves as the successors of the Byzantine heritage, a notion reinforced by the marriage of Ivan III to Sophia Paleologue. Ivan adopted the golden Byzantine double-headed eagle in his seal, first documented in 1472, marking his direct claim to the Roman imperial heritage and his assertion as sovereign equal and rival to the Holy Roman Empire.

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Prince Wilhelm of Prussia.

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Queen Wilhelmina and Princess Juliana
Queen Wilhelmina and Princess Juliana
Credit: Bain News Service

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands with her daughter and successor Princess Juliana, circa 1914. Wilhelmina was queen regnant from 1890 to 1948, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Outside the Netherlands she is primarily remembered for her role in the Second World War, in which she proved to be a great inspiration to the Dutch resistance, as well as a prominent leader of the Dutch government in exile. Juliana became queen regnant in 1948 after her mother's abdication and ruled until her own abdication in 1980, succeeded by her daughter, Beatrix.

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Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
Is that wise, darling? Remember you have to reign all afternoon.
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II, who was contemplating having a second glass of wine at lunch.

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