Portal:Monarchy

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The Monarchy Portal

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 single person holds supreme authority in ruling a country, also performing ceremonial duties and embodying the country's national identity. Although some monarchs are elected, in most cases, the monarch's position is inherited and lasts until death or abdication. In these cases, the royal family or members of the dynasty usually serve in official capacities as well. The governing power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic (crowned republic), to partial and restricted (constitutional monarchy), to completely autocratic (absolute monarchy).

Monarchy was the most common form of government until the 20th century. Forty-five sovereign nations in the world have monarchs acting as heads of state, sixteen of which are Commonwealth realms that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. Most modern monarchs are constitutional monarchs, who retain a unique legal and ceremonial role, but exercise limited or no political power under the nation's constitution. In some nations, however, such as Brunei, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Eswatini, the hereditary monarch has more political influence than any other single source of authority in the nation, either by tradition or by a constitutional mandate.

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King Alexander of Greece
Alexander (1893–1920) was King of Greece from 11 June 1917 until his death at the age of 27. He succeeded his father, King Constantine I, in 1917, after the Entente Powers of World War I and followers of Eleftherios Venizelos pushed the king and his eldest son Crown Prince George into exile. Venizelos, as prime minister, became the effective ruler with the support of the Entente. Though reduced to the status of a puppet king, Alexander supported Greek troops during their war against the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. Under his reign, Greece expanded, following the victory of the Entente and the early stages of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922. Alexander married the commoner Aspasia Manos in 1919, provoking a major scandal that forced the couple to leave Greece for several months. Soon after returning to Greece with his wife, Alexander was bitten by a domestic Barbary macaque and died of septicemia. The sudden death of the sovereign contributed to the fall of the Venizelist regime. After a general election and a referendum, Constantine I was restored.


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Neuschwanstein Castle
Credit: Thomas Wolf

Neuschwanstein Castle is a Romanesque Revival palace commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1868. This castle on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau was intended to be Ludwig's personal retreat, though it was still under construction at the time of his death in 1886. It was soon thereafter opened to tourists, and remains a popular destination. Its architecture has inspired several further buildings, including Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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Henry IV

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Sālote Tupou III
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Sālote Tupou III was the first Queen regnant and third Monarch of the Kingdom of Tonga from 1918 to her death in 1965. She reigned for nearly 48 years, longer than any other Tongan Monarch.

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Coat of arms of the Gediminids dynasty
The House of Gediminas were the siblings, children, and grandchildren of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania (ca. 1275–1341). The Gediminid dynasty ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from ca. 1285 or 1316 to 1572, eventually extending its territories from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Gediminas' origins are unclear, but recent research suggests that Skalmantas, an otherwise unknown historical figure, was Gediminas' grandfather or father, and could be considered the dynasty's founder. Because none of his brothers or sisters had known heirs, Gediminas, who sired at least twelve children, had the advantage in establishing sovereignty over his siblings. Known for his diplomatic skills, Gediminas arranged his children's marriages to suit the goals of his foreign policy: his sons consolidated Lithuanian power within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, while his daughters established or strengthened alliances with the rulers of areas in modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Gediminas' many grandchildren and their descendants engaged in power struggles that continued well into the 15th century. Gediminas' grandchildren converted Lithuania to Christianity and inaugurated the first personal union with Poland. The dynasty came to an end in 1572, when Sigismund II Augustus died without producing a male heir.


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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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