The Monarchy Portal
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 purely symbolic (crowned republic), to restricted (constitutional monarchy), to fully autocratic (absolute monarchy), and can expand across the domains of the executive, legislative and judicial. A monarchy can be a polity through unity, personal union, vassalage or federation, and monarchs can carry various titles such as king, queen, emperor, Raja, khan, caliph, tsar, sultan, or shah.
In most cases, the succession of monarchies is hereditary, often building dynastic periods, however elective and self-proclaimed monarchies are possible. Aristocrats, though not inherent to monarchies, often serve as the pool of persons to draw the monarch from and fill the constituting institutions (e.g. diet and court), giving many monarchies oligarchic elements.
Monarchies were the most common form of government until the 20th century. Today forty-five sovereign nations in the world have a monarch, including sixteen Commonwealth realms that have Elizabeth II as the head of state. Other than that there are a range of sub-national monarchic entities. Modern monarchies tend to be 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.
The opposing and alternative form of government to monarchy has become the republic.
Princess Alice of Battenberg
(1885-1969) was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
(consort of Queen Elizabeth II
). Congenitally deaf
, she grew up in Germany
and the Mediterranean
. After marrying Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
in 1903, she lived in Greece
until the exile of most of the Greek Royal Family
in 1917. On returning to Greece a few years later, her husband was blamed in part for the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922
, and the family were once again forced into exile until the restoration of the Greek monarchy in 1935
. In 1930, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia
and committed to a sanatorium; thereafter, she lived separately from her husband. After her recovery, she devoted most of her remaining years to charity work in Greece. She stayed in Athens
during the Second World War
, sheltering Jewish refugees, for which she is recognised as "Righteous Among the Nations
" at Yad Vashem
. After the war, she stayed in Greece and founded an Orthodox
nursing order of nuns known as the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. After the fall of King Constantine II of Greece
and the imposition of military rule in Greece
in 1967, she was invited by her son and daughter-in-law to live at Buckingham Palace
, where she died two years later
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, his reign officially began 1735, lasting for . Named Hongli, he chose the era name Qianlong, meaning "heavenly prosperity". Although his early years saw the continuation of an era of prosperity and great military success in China, his final years saw troubles at home and abroad converge on the Qing Empire. Qianlong abdicated the throne at the age of 85, to his son, the Jiaqing Emperor, fulfilling his promise not to reign longer than his grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor.
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Charles III (1716-1788) was king of Spain from 1759 to 1788. As king, he implemented far-reaching reforms, such as weakening the Catholic Church and its monasteries, promoting science and university research, facilitating trade and commerce, modernizing agriculture and avoiding wars. However, he never achieved satisfactory control over finances, and his reforms proved short-lived.
is a religious service in the Church of England
held on Maundy Thursday
, the day before Good Friday
. At the service, the British Monarch
or a royal official ceremoniously distributes small silver coins known as "Maundy money" as symbolic alms
to elderly recipients. The name "Maundy" and the ceremony itself derive from an instruction, or mandatum,
at the Last Supper
that his followers should love one another. In the Middle Ages, English monarchs washed the feet
of beggars in imitation of Jesus, and presented gifts and money to the poor. Over time, additional money was substituted for the clothing and other items that had once been distributed; the custom of washing the feet did not survive the 18th century. Today, Queen Elizabeth II
(pictured at the 2005 service
) almost always attends, and the service is held in a different church (usually a cathedral
) every year. Maundy money is struck in denominations of one penny, two pence, three pence, and four pence. In most years there are fewer than 2,000 complete sets; they are highly sought after by collectors.
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