Monarchy is a form of government in which the supreme partially or wholly owned by one person – the monarch (king, emperor, prince, duke, archduke, Sultan, Emir Khan, to Pharaoh), who has the power to rule his or her land or state and its citizens freely. They rule for life and then pass the responsibilities and power of the position to their child (or another member of their family) when they die – the king’s eldest son is first in the line of succession. Monarchy is a supreme, moral (not legal) authority, based on the ‘theory’, that monarch doing the will of God ‘ he received that power from God. On this basis we can distinguish monarchy from the republic, where the power is given to a person as a result of elections; and aristocracy, where the supreme power is vested in a minority of the most illustrious members of the public. The monarchy comprises the reigning monarch, his or her family, and the royal household organization.
There are several types of monarchy. An absolute one is when the monarch has an absolute power. The will of the people can be expressed formally through a deliberative body and monarch has the right to rule by decree, promulgate laws, and impose punishments. Good example can be the Tsars of Russia Peter the Great, who reduced the power of the nobility and strengthened the central power of the Tsar, establishing a bureaucracy and a police state.
Case, when the power of the monarch is limited by the Constitution is a constitutional monarchy. Constitutional monarchy exists in two forms: a parliamentary monarchy and the dual monarchy. Current existing constitutional monarchies are mostly associated with Western European countries such as the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Luxembourg, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and Sweden
Dual monarchy is a form of a constitutional monarchy, in which the power of the monarch is limited by the constitution and the parliament ‘ he (a monarch) has a freedom of decision-making limited by constitution. Currently exist in Morocco, Kuwait, and Jordan, where the king holds wide executive and legislative powers.
Parliamentary monarchy is a kind of constitutional monarchy in which the monarch has no power and performs only a representative function. In a parliamentary monarchy government is accountable to the Parliament, which is more powerful than the other organs of the state.
As it is known, in parliamentary monarchy true governmental leadership is carried out by a cabinet and its head – a prime minister, premier, or chancellor – who are drawn from a legislature (parliament). Government is formed a majority in parliament and is responsible to him. The monarch has very little real power, and he plays mostly representational or ceremonial role. None of its desire can be executed if it not approved by the parliament. Sometimes parliaments even restrict the freedom of the monarchs in their private affairs. However, it would be wrong to say that in such countries the active role of the monarch is reduced to zero. Legally, for a monarch often retain functions that are important in the field of foreign policy, as well as in times of crises and conflicts in the area of domestic policy: the final approval of the laws, a declaration of war, conclusion of peace. But it can do all this only in agreement with the will of the people, expressed by Parliament.
Examples of such form of government in our days can be: Australia, Andorra, Belgium, Canada, Dania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The monarch of the United Kingdom is the head of state of each of the Commonwealth realms, charged with issuing executive orders, commanding the military forces, and creating and administering laws. There are sixteen Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.
Fourteen Kingdoms – the former British colonies, gained independence. Three of the 14 kingdoms (Australia, Canada and New Zealand) gained independence as a result of the Balfour Declaration in 1926 at the Imperial Conference and the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Canada, the Union of South Africa, and Ireland gained independence from the legislative branch of the United Kingdom immediately; Australia in 1942, and New Zealand in 1947. The Statute also affected Newfoundland, but there it was not ratified, and dominion was annexed to Canada in 1949. Ireland formally became a republic in 1949, and South Africa – in 1961. Other kingdoms gained independence as a result of the end of British rule in India. The last were Saint Kitts and Nevis. They gained independence in 1983. Within the Commonwealth there is no difference in status between the Kingdom and other members, given the fact, that there are either republics or kingdoms with their own monarchs.
The Queen appoints the Governor-General as its representative in her absence. She also represented by the governor in each state of Australia and by the Lieutenant Governor in each of the provinces of Canada. These officers have almost all the power of the constitutional monarch, mostly performing, however, purely ceremonial functions, and have the so-called royal prerogative.
Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family have ceremonial roles but do not make up the laws that govern the people. But such people have not only the representative role, but also the religious one. And it differs from country to country. If we take Elizabeth II as an example, we can see that in most of realms she is sovereign “By the Grace of God” (a phrase that forms a part of her official title within those states). In Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, “Defender of the Faith” is included as a part of the title.
It is solely in the United Kingdom that the Queen actually plays a role in organised religion. In England, she acts as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and appoints its bishops and archbishops who thereafter act as her Lords Spiritual. In Scotland, she swears an oath to uphold and protect the Church of Scotland and sends to meetings of the church’s General Assembly a Lord High Commissioner as her representative, when she is not personally in attendance.
When the Queen visits, for example, Australia, she speaks and acts as Queen of Australia, and not as Queen of the United Kingdom and acts entirely on the advice of Australian Government Ministers who are responsible to Parliament. The Queen supports public service through her patronage of a large number of organisations: The Royal Humane Society of Australasia, the Royal Children’s Hospital, and The Mothers’ Union in Australia. During her visits to realms, one of the most important roles is to visit as many areas of society as possible. In Australia monarch has no religious role.
The Queen aims to recognise the achievements of the country’s different cultures and communities.
The king of Spain appoints the prime minister after consultation with the Cortes and names the other ministers, upon the recommendation of the prime minister. He also signs decrees made by ministers and ratifies civil and military appointments. The king does not have the power to direct foreign affairs because of his vital role as the chief representative of Spain in international relations.
In the Netherlands, Denmark and in Belgium the monarch formally appoints a representative to preside over the creation of a coalition government following a parliamentary election, while in Norway the King chairs special meetings of the cabinet. The king or the queen serve as mere figures of state and many people see them as symbol of unity and culture of their country.
The King’s functions in Norway are mainly ceremonial too – he receives and sends envoys to foreign countries and hosts state visits. The King is a High Protector of the church, and Supreme Commander of the Norwegian armed forces. However, the Monarch in this country does retain some royal prerogatives, such as, he may issue pardons for prisoners.
The Council of Ministers (the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, and the other ministers) has both policy-making and administrative functions. They are responsible for the implementation of government policy, national security, and control military affairs. In the exercise of all of its functions, it is ultimately accountable to the Cortes.
As we can see, monarch has not actual power ‘ only the representative, symbolic, and cultural. The monarch does not participate in the legislative process; he is the symbol of national unity. All the issues are under prime minister’s control.