Portal:Monarchy

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Introduction

Richard I of England being anointed during his coronation in Westminster Abbey, from a 13th-century chronicle.

A monarchy is a form of government in which a group, generally a family representing a dynasty (aristocracy), embodies the country's national identity and its head, the monarch, exercises the role of sovereignty. The actual power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic (crowned republic), to partial and restricted (constitutional monarchy), to completely autocratic (absolute monarchy). Traditionally the monarch's post is inherited and lasts until death or abdication. In contrast, elective monarchies require the monarch to be elected. Both types have further variations as there are widely divergent structures and traditions defining monarchy. For example, in some [which?] elected monarchies only pedigrees are taken into account for eligibility of the next ruler, whereas many hereditary monarchies impose requirements regarding the religion, age, gender, mental capacity, etc. Occasionally this might create a situation of rival claimants whose legitimacy is subject to effective election. There have been cases where the term of a monarch's reign is either fixed in years or continues until certain goals are achieved: an invasion being repulsed, for instance.

Monarchic rule was the most common form of government until the 19th century. It is now usually a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch retains a unique legal and ceremonial role, but exercises limited or no official political power: under the written or unwritten constitution, others have governing authority. Currently, 45 sovereign nations in the world have monarchs acting as heads of state, 16 of which are Commonwealth realms that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. Most modern European monarchies are constitutional and hereditary with a largely ceremonial role, with the exception of the Vatican which is an elective theocracy and the Principalities of Liechtenstein and Monaco where the monarchs exercise unrestricted authority. The monarchies of Cambodia and Malaysia are constitutional with a largely ceremonial role, despite possessing significantly more social and legal clout than their European counterparts. The monarchs of Brunei, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland have more political influence than any other single source of authority in their nations, either by tradition or a constitutional mandate.

Selected article

Buckingham Palace. This is the principal façade, the East Front; originally constructed by Edward Blore and completed in 1850, it was redesigned in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb.

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.

Selected king

Portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762

George III of the United Kingdom (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820 [N.S.]) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until 1 January 1801, and thereafter of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was concurrently Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover), and thus Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, and later King of Hanover. The Electorate became the Kingdom of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, and the first of Hanover to be born in Britain and speak English as his first language.George III's long reign was marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdom and much of the rest of Europe. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of its American colonies were soon lost in the American Revolutionary War, which led to the establishment of the United States. Later, the kingdom became involved in a series of wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France, which finally concluded in the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. In addition, during George's reign the realms of Great Britain and Ireland were joined, forming the United Kingdom. Later in his reign George III suffered from recurrent and, eventually, permanent mental illness. This baffled medical science at the time, although it is now generally thought that he suffered from the blood disease porphyria. Porphyria can be triggered by the poison arsenic, and recent studies have shown high levels of arsenic in locks of King George's hair.

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Jane Loftus, marchioness of Ely

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Queen Elizabeth II greets employees at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, during her six-day visit to the United States in 2007. She was presented with a framed photograph of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the queen regnant of sixteen independent states and their overseas territories and dependencies. Though she holds each crown and title separately and equally, she is resident in and most directly involved with the United Kingdom, her oldest realm. Her ancestors have reigned over parts of the UK’s territories for more than a thousand years.

Selected queen

Gunnhild convinces Erik Bloodaxe to kill the Finnish wizards.
Gunnhildr konungamóðir (mother of kings) or Gunnhildr Özurardóttir (c. 900  –  c. 980) was the wife of Erik Bloodaxe (king of Norway 930–34, "king" of Orkney c. 937–54, and king of Jórvík 948–49 and 952–54). Gunnhild is a prominent figure in many Norse sagas, including Fagrskinna, Egil's Saga, Njal's Saga, and Heimskringla. Many of the details of her life are disputed, including her parentage. Gunnhild lived during a time of great change in Norway. Her father-in-law Harald Fairhair had recently united much of Norway under his rule. Shortly after his death, Gunnhild and her husband were overthrown and exiled. She spent much of the rest of her life in exile in Orkney, Jorvik and Denmark. A number of her many children with Erik became co-rulers of Norway in the late tenth century. What details of her life are known come largely from Icelandic sources; because the Icelanders were generally hostile to her and her husband, scholars regard some of the more negative episodes reported in them as suspect.According to the Heimskringla and Egil's Saga, Gunnhild was the daughter of Ozur Toti, a hersir from Halogaland in northern Norway.Accounts of her early life vary between sources. Egil's Saga relates that "Eirik fought a great battle on the Northern Dvina in Bjarmaland, and was victorious as the poems about him record. On the same expedition he obtained Gunnhild, the daughter of Ozur Toti, and brought her home with him."

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