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Monarchism is the advocacy of a monarch or monarchical rule. [1] A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government, independent of any specific monarch; one who espouses a particular monarch is a royalist. Conversely, the opposition to monarchical rule is sometimes referred to as republicanism.


Depending on the country, a monarchist may advocate for the rule of the person who sits on the throne, a pretender, or someone who would otherwise occupy the throne but has been deposed.


Monarchical rule is among the oldest political institutions. [2] Monarchy has often claimed legitimacy from a higher power (in early modern Europe the divine right of kings, and in China the Mandate of Heaven).

In England, royalty ceded power elsewhere in a gradual process. In 1215, a group of nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, which guaranteed its barons certain liberties and established that the king's powers were not absolute. In 1687-88, the Glorious Revolution and the overthrow of King James II established the principles of constitutional monarchy, which would later be worked out by Locke and other thinkers. However, absolute monarchy, justified by Hobbes in Leviathan (1651), remained a prominent principle elsewhere. In the 18th century, Voltaire and others encouraged "enlightened absolutism", which was embraced by the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and by Catherine II of Russia.

In the late 18th century, the American Revolution and the French Revolution were both additional steps in the weakening of power of European monarchies. Each in its different way exemplified the concept of popular sovereignty upheld by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 1848 then ushered in a wave of revolutions against the continental European monarchies.

World War I and its aftermath saw the end of three major European monarchies: the Russian Romanov dynasty, the German Hohenzollern dynasty, including all other German monarchies and the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg dynasty.

The rise of the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919 provoked an increase in support for monarchism; however, efforts by Hungarian monarchists failed to bring back a royal head of state, and the monarchists settled for a regent, Admiral Miklós Horthy, to represent the monarchy until it could be restored. Horthy was regent from 1920 to 1944. In similar wise the 1938 autocratic state of Franco in Spain claimed to have reconstituted the Spanish monarchy in absentia (and in this case ultimately yielded to a restoration, in the person of King Juan Carlos). In 1920s Germany a number of monarchists gathered around the German National People's Party which demanded the return of the Hohenzollern monarchy and an end to the Weimar Republic; the party retained a large base of support until the rise of Nazism in the 1930s.

With the arrival of socialism in Eastern Europe by the end of 1947, the remaining Eastern European monarchies, namely the Kingdom of Romania, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Kingdom of Albania, the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, were all abolished and replaced by socialist republics.

The aftermath of World War II also saw the return of monarchist and republican rivalry in Italy, where a referendum was held on whether the state should remain a monarchy or become a republic. The republican side won the vote by a narrow margin, and the modern Republic of Italy was created.

Monarchism as a political force internationally has substantially diminished since the end of the Second World War, though it had an important role in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and also played a role in the modern political affairs of Nepal. Nepal was one of the last states to have had an absolute monarch, which continued until King Gyanendra was peacefully deposed in May 2008 and the country became a federal republic. One of the world's oldest monarchies was abolished in Ethiopia in 1974 with the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie.

Current monarchies

The majority of current monarchies are constitutional monarchies. In most of these, the monarch wields only symbolic power, although in some, the monarch does play a role in political affairs. In Thailand, for instance, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned from 1946 to 2016, played a critical role in the nation's political agenda and in various military coups. Similarly, in Morocco, King Mohammed VI wields significant, but not absolute power.

Liechtenstein is a democratic principality whose citizens have voluntarily given more power to their monarch in recent years.

There remain a handful of countries in which the monarch is the true ruler. The majority of these countries are oil-producing Arab Islamic monarchies like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Other strong monarchies include Brunei and Swaziland.

Justifications for monarchism

Absolute monarchy stands as an opposition to anarchism and, additionally from the Age of Enlightenment, liberalism, and communism.

Otto von Habsburg advocated a form of constitutional monarchy based on the primacy of the supreme judicial function, with hereditary succession, mediation by a tribunal is warranted if suitability is problematic. [3] [4]

Nonpartisan head of state

A monarchy has been justified on the grounds that it provides for a nonpartisan head of state, separate from the head of government, and thus ensures that the highest representative of the country, at home and internationally, does not represent a particular political party, but all people. [5]

Safeguard for liberty

The International Monarchist League, founded in 1943, has always sought to promote monarchy on the grounds that it strengthens popular liberty, both in a democracy and in a dictatorship, because by definition the monarch is not beholden to politicians.

British-American libertarian writer Matthew Feeney, on the occasion of the birth of Prince George of Cambridge, the potential future king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth Realms, in 2013, wrote: [6]

Connection to the past

Since the middle of the 19th century, some monarchists have stopped defending monarchy on the basis of abstract, universal principles applicable to all nations or even on the grounds that a monarchy would be the best or most practical government for the nation in question but prefer invoking local symbolic grounds that they would be a particular nation's link to the past.

Hence, post-19th century debates on whether to preserve a monarchy or to adopt a republican form of government have often been debates over national identity, with the monarch generally serving as a symbol for other issues.

For example, in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands anti-monarchist talk is often centered on the perceived symbolism of a monarch contrasting with those nation's political culture of egalitarianism. In Belgium, another factor are the anti-Belgian sentiments of the separatist Flemish movement. The latter see the monarchy as a predominantly francophone institution of which the historical roots lie in the French-speaking elite that ruled Belgium until circa 1950s.

In Canada and Australia, by contrast, debates over monarchy represent or represented debates whose driving force concerned each nation's relationship with the United Kingdom and the cultural heritage that this relationship represents.

Human desire for hierarchy

In a 1943 essay in The Spectator , "Equality", British author C.S. Lewis criticized egalitarianism, and its corresponding call for the abolition of monarchy, as contrary to human nature, writing, "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." [7]

Support for the restoration of monarchy

This is a list of Countries showing support for the restoration of a previously abolished monarchy.

RankCountrySupporters% of country
1Flag of Nepal.svg Nepal 24,201,55794%[ citation needed ]
2Flag of Georgia.svg Georgia 2,116,86878%[ citation needed ]
3Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia 1,782,51342% [8] [9] [10] [11]
4Flag of Serbia.svg Serbia 2,823,32840% [12]
5Flag of Albania.svg Albania 1,389,27533% [13]
6Flag of Russia.svg Russia 31,781,95928% [14]
7Flag of Romania.svg Romania 4,123,98021% [15]
8Flag of Austria.svg Austria 9,000,00020% [16]
9Flag of Germany.svg Germany 15,646,31019% [17]
10Flag of France.svg France 11,053,89017% [18]
11Flag of Italy.svg Italy 12,000,00015% [19]
12Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal 1,546,43515% [20]
13Flag of Greece.svg Greece 1,342,04614% [21]
14Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil 31,236,95713% [22]
15Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czech Republic 1,379,42313% [23]























See also


  1. Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1989 edition, p. 924.
  2. "Sumerian King List" (PDF). Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  4. Otto von Habsburg "Monarchy or Republic?". ("Excerpted from The Conservative Tradition in European Thought, Copyright 1970 by Educational Resources Corporation.")
  5. Bogdanor, Vernon (6 December 2000). "The Guardian has got it wrong". The Guardian.
  6. Feeney, Matthew (July 25, 2013). "The Benefits of Monarchy". Reason magazine.
  7. C.S. Lewis (26 August 1943). "Equality". The Spectator.
  8. "Poll on Constitutional changes, 41,6% Croats would support a Monarchy, rather then a Republic!". CRC. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  9. "HRVATI ŽELE KRALJA (Croats wont a King)". Direktno. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  10. "Croatians asked about a possible return of their monarchy". Royal Center. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  11. "Two-fifths of Croatians want a return to the monarchy". The Dubrovnik Times. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  12. "Serbia state funeral for last king". BBC News. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  13. "Albanien, 29. Juni 1997 : Staatsform -- [in German]". (in German). Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  14. Sinelschikova, Yekaterina (14 April 2017). "Will Russia ever revert back to a monarchy?". Russia Beyond. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  15. Marica, Irina. "How popular is the monarchy restoration idea in Romania?". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  16. "A century after Austrian-Hungarian Empire's fall, some nostalgic for monarchy". EFE. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  17. "Restored monarchy gains young Germans' support". The Local. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  18. (PDF). BVA . Retrieved 3 December 2018.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. "Emanule Filiberto: "Politici? Sono dei parac***"". Occhio, il Savoia vuole fare il re" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  20. Almeida, Henrique. "Portugal royal says monarchy still tops republic". Reuters. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  21. "Το ΒΗΜΑ onLine - ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΑ" (in Greek). 25 April 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  22. (PDF) . Retrieved 3 December 2018.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. "Průzkum ke 100 rokům od vzniku Československa: kdyby se monarchie nerozpadla, měli bychom se lépe nebo stejně". iROZHLAS (in Czech). Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  24. Patron of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
  25. "Ten things you didn't know about Tony Abbott". Retrieved 19 Nov 2013.
  26. "I am a monarchist and I think Queen Elizabeth has done a wonderful job for our beloved country. The Royal Family deserve more respect." (2003) "When you talk about our beloved Queen Elizabeth, I don't think there is a more gracious world leader." Princes Charles and Andrew are "intelligent, wise and kind men." (2010)
  27. Letters, no. 52, to Christopher Tolkien, 29 November 1943
  28. "Joan Collins so happy with husband". 4 February 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  29. Expressed support for the British monarchy in the TV series Royalty A-Z (2002). Narrator of The Royal Story.
  30. "The monarchy remains the most powerful symbol of one unified nation." (2002).
  31. "A lot of people of my generation have decided in part because of how important a unifier for the country the Queen has been that actually [the monarchy] is a better system - rationally." (2002)
  32. "The monarchy stands for everything that I love and I feel proud to be British. Yes, I am a royalist." (2007)
  33. "I used to be anti monarchy – but now I’m a royalist." (2017)