Monarchy was the prevalent form of government in the history of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, only occasionally competing with communalism, notably in the case of the Maritime republics and the Swiss Confederacy.
Republicanism became more prevalent in the Early Modern period, but monarchy remained predominant in Europe during the 19th century. Since the end of World War I, however, most European monarchies have been abolished. There remain, as of 2016, twelve (12) sovereign monarchies in Europe. Of these, seven are kingdoms: Denmark, Norway and Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are of pre-modern origin; the kingdoms of the Netherlands and of Belgium were established in 1815 and 1830, respectively; the Kingdom of Spain, founded in 1479, was abolished in 1931, restored in 1947/69, before Spain transitioned to democracy in 1978 as a constitutional monarchy. The principalities of Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were restored as sovereign states in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The State of the Vatican City was recognized as a sovereign state administered by the Holy See in 1929.
Ten of these monarchies are hereditary, and two are elective: Vatican City (the Pope, elected at the papal conclave), and Andorra (technically a semi-elective diarchy, the joint heads of state being the elected President of France and the Bishop of Urgell, appointed by the Pope).
Most of the monarchies in Europe are constitutional monarchies, which means that the monarch does not influence the politics of the state: either the monarch is legally prohibited from doing so, or the monarch does not utilize the political powers vested in the office by convention. The exceptions are Liechtenstein and Monaco, which are usually considered semi-constitutional monarchies due to the large influence the princes still have on politics, and Vatican City, which is a theocratic absolute elective monarchy. There is currently no major campaign to abolish the monarchy (see monarchism and republicanism) in any of the twelve states, although there is a significant minority of republicans in many of them (e.g. the political organisation Republic in the United Kingdom). Currently seven of the twelve monarchies are members of the European Union: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
At the start of the 20th century, France, Switzerland and San Marino were the only European nations to have a republican form of government. The ascent of republicanism to the political mainstream started only at the beginning of the 20th century, facilitated by the toppling of various European monarchies through war or revolution; as at the beginning of the 21st century, most of the states in Europe are republics with either a directly or indirectly elected head of state.
The notion of kingship in Europe ultimately originates in systems of tribal kingship in prehistoric Europe. The Minoan (c. 3200 – c. 1400 BCE) and Mycenaean civilisation (c. 1600 – c. 1100 BCE) provide the earliest examples of monarchies in protohistoric Greece. Thanks to the decipherment of the Linear B script in 1952, much knowledge has been acquired about society in the Mycenaean realms, where the kings functioned as leaders of palace economies. The role of kings changed in the following Greek Dark Ages (c. 1100 – c. 750 BCE) to big gentleman farmers with military power.
Since the beginning of antiquity, monarchy confronted several republican forms of government, wherein executive power was in the hands of a number of people that elected leaders in a certain way instead of appointing them by hereditary succession. During the archaic period (c. 750–500 BCE), kingship disappeared in almost all Greek poleis, and also in Rome (then still a barely significant town). After the demise of kingship, the Greek city-states were initially most often led by nobility (aristocracy), after which their economic and military power base crumbled. Next, in almost all poleis tyrants usurped power for two generations (tyranny, 7th and especially 6th century BCE), after which gradually forms of governments led by the wealthy (oligarchy) or assemblies of free male citizens (democracy) emerged in Classical Greece (mainly after 500 BCE). Athenian democracy (6th century–322 BCE) is the best-known example of the latter form; classical Sparta (c. 550–371 BCE) was a militaristic polis with a remarkable mix between monarchy (dual kingship), aristocracy (Gerousia) and democracy (Apella); the Roman Republic (c. 509–27 BCE) had a mixed constitution of oligarchy, democracy and especially aristocracy.
The dominant poleis of Athens and Sparta were weakened by warring each other, especially during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BCE) won by Sparta. They were defeated and ruled by Thebes for a time (371–360 BCE), after which Sparta's role was over. Eventually, all of Greece was subjugated by the Macedonian monarchy in 338 BCE, that put an end to the era of free autonomous city-states, and Athenian democracy as well in 322 BCE. In the subsequent Hellenistic period (334–30 BCE) numerous diadochs (successors of Alexander the Great) fought one another for the kingship of Macedon, definitively obtained by the Antigonids in 277 BCE. Meanwhile, the Phoenician city-state of Carthage, located in present-day Tunisia, aside from settling large swaths of North Africa's coast, also set up several colonies on Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, the Baleares and in southern Iberia. The Carthaginian empire, according to tradition founded in 814 BCE, started out as a monarchy, but in the 4th century transformed into a republic where suffets ("judges") ruled. Finally, Rome gradually conquered all of Italy (primarily after 350 BCE), and defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars (264–146 BCE). In 168, Macedon was subdued by the Romans, and partitioned into four client republics. These were annexed as Roman provinces in 148, as happened to Greece in 146, making Rome's territory envelop all of literate Europe. The remainder of Iberia, the Illyrian coast and eventually Gaul by general Julius Caesar were added to the Roman Republic, which however was experiencing an institutional crisis. After defeating his rival Pompey, Caesar was appointed dictator to restore order. He almost managed to found a dynasty in the process, but was killed by a republican cabal led by Brutus in 44 BCE.
Caesar's adoptive son Octavian prevailed in the ensuing civil war, and converted the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire in 27 BCE. He took on the name Augustus, with the rather humble title of princeps ("first [citizen]"), as if he were merely primus inter pares ("first among equals"), when he had in fact founded a monarchy. This limited emperorship (Principate) was strengthened in 284 by Diocletian to absolute reign (Dominate). The Empire recognised various client kingdoms under imperial suzerainty; most of these were in Asia, but tribal client kings were also recognized by the Roman authorities in Britannia. Most of the barbarian kingdoms established in the 5th century (the kingdoms of the Suebi, Burgundi, Vandals, Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths) recognized the Roman Emperor at least nominally, and Germanic kingdoms would continue to mint coins depicting the Roman emperor well into the 6th century. It was this derivation of the authority of kingship from the Christian Roman Empire that would be at the core of the medieval institution of kingship in Europe and its notion of the divine right of kings, as well as the position of the Pope in Latin Christendom, the restoration of the Roman Empire under Charlemagne and the derived concept of the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe.
The monarchies of Europe in the Christian Middle Ages derived their claim from Christianisation and the divine right of kings, partly influenced by the notion of sacral kingship inherited from Germanic antiquity. The great powers of Europe in the Early Modern period were the result of a gradual process of centralization of power taking place over the course of the Middle Ages.
The Early Middle Ages begin with a fragmentation of the former Western Roman Empire into "barbarian kingdoms". In Western Europe, the kingdom of the Franks developed into the Carolingian Empire by the 8th century, and the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England were unified into the kingdom of England by the 10th century. With the breakup of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, the system of feudalism places kings at the head of a pyramid of relationships between liege lords and vassals, dependent on the regional rule of barons, and the intermediate positions of counts (or earls) and dukes. The core of European feudal manorialism in the High Middle Ages were the territories of the kingdom of France, the Holy Roman Empire (centered on the nominal kingdoms of Germany and Italy) and the kingdoms of England and Scotland.
With the rise of nation-states and the Protestant Reformation, the theory of divine right justified the king's absolute authority in both political and spiritual matters. The theory came to the fore in England under the reign of James I of England (1603–1625, also known as James VI of Scotland 1567–1625). Louis XIV of France (1643–1715) strongly promoted the theory as well. Early modern Europe was dominated by the Wars of Religion, notably the Thirty Years' War, during which the major European monarchies developed into centralised great powers sustained by their colonial empires. The main European powers in the early modern period were:
The modern resurgence of parliamentarism and anti-monarchism began with the temporary overthrow of the English monarchy by the Parliament of England in 1649, followed by the American Revolution (1775–83) and especially the French Revolution (1789–99). The absolutist Kingdom of France was first transformed to a constitutional monarchy (1791–92), before being fully abolished on 21 September 1792, and eventually the former king even executed, to the other European courts' great shock. During the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1799), the great European monarchies were unable to restore the monarchy; instead, the French First Republic expanded and annexed neighbouring territories, or converted them into loyal sister republics. Meanwhile, the German Mediatization of 1803 thoroughly rearranged the political structure of the Holy Roman Empire, with many small principalities and all ecclesiastical lands being annexed by larger monarchies. After Napoleon seized power, however, he gradually constructed a new imperial order in French-controlled Europe, first by crowning himself Emperor of the French in 1804, and then converting the sister republics into monarchies ruled by his relatives.
Following Napoleon's defeat in 1814 and 1815, the reactionary Congress of Vienna determined that all of Europe should consist of strong monarchies (with the exception of Switzerland and a few insignificant republics). In France, the Bourbon dynasty was restored, replaced by the liberal July Monarchy in 1830, before the entire monarchy was again abolished during the Revolutions of 1848. The popular Napoleon III was able to proclaim himself Emperor in 1852, thus founding the Second French Empire. The kingdoms of Sicily and Naples ("Two Sicilies") were absorbed into the kingdom of Sardinia to form the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Austria and Prussia vied to unite all German states under their banner, with Prussia emerging victorious in 1866. It succeeded in provoking Napoleon III to declare war, defeat France and absorb the southern German states into the German Empire in the process (1870–71). From the ashes of the Second Empire rose the French Third Republic, the only great republican European power until World War I.
Much of 19th century politics was characterised by the division between anti-monarchist Radicalism and monarchist Conservativism. The Kingdom of Spain was briefly abolished in 1873, restored 1874–1931 and again in 1978. The Kingdom of Portugal was abolished in 1910. The Russian Empire ended in 1917, the Kingdom of Prussia in 1918. The Kingdom of Hungary fell under Habsburg rule in 1867 and was dissolved in 1918 (restored 1920–1946). Likewise, the Kingdom of Bohemia under Habsburg rule was dissolved in 1918.
Monarchies established during the interbellum period were:
|1714: after Spain's Succession||1789: French Revolution's eve||1799: near the Revolution's end
||European states in 1815|
|European states in 1914||European states in 1930||European states in 1950||European states in 2015|
|Principality of Andorra||Constitutional||Ex officio||—||Co-prince||Joan Enric Vives Sicília||24 July 1949||69 y.||12 May 2003||None; appointed by the pope|
|Emmanuel Macron[I]||21 December 1977||41 y.||14 May 2017||None; successor elected in the next French presidential election.|
|Kingdom of Belgium||Constitutional||Hereditary||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha||King||Philippe||15 April 1960||59 y.||21 July 2013||Heir apparent: Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (eldest child)|
|Kingdom of Denmark||Constitutional||Hereditary||Glücksburg||Queen||Margrethe II||16 April 1940||79 y.||14 January 1972||Heir apparent: Crown Prince Frederik (eldest child)|
|Principality of Liechtenstein||Constitutional||Hereditary||Liechtenstein||Sovereign Prince||Hans-Adam II||14 February 1945||74 y.||13 November 1989||Heir apparent: Hereditary Prince Alois (eldest son)|
|Grand Duchy of Luxembourg||Constitutional||Hereditary||Bourbon||Grand Duke||Henri||16 April 1955||64 y.||7 October 2000||Heir apparent: Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume (eldest child)|
|Principality of Monaco||Constitutional||Hereditary||Grimaldi||Sovereign Prince||Albert II||14 March 1958||61 y.||6 April 2005||Heir apparent: Hereditary Prince Jacques (only legitimate son)|
|Kingdom of the Netherlands||Constitutional||Hereditary||Orange-Nassau/Amsberg||King||Willem-Alexander||27 April 1967||51 y.||30 April 2013||Heir apparent: Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (eldest child)|
|Kingdom of Norway||Constitutional||Hereditary||Glücksburg||King||Harald V||21 February 1937||82 y.||17 January 1991||Heir apparent: Crown Prince Haakon (only son)|
|Kingdom of Spain||Constitutional||Hereditary||Bourbon||King||Felipe VI||30 January 1968||51 y.||19 June 2014||Heir presumptive: Princess Leonor, Princess of Asturias (elder daughter) [II]|
|Kingdom of Sweden||Constitutional||Hereditary||Bernadotte||King||Carl XVI Gustaf||30 April 1946||72 y.||15 September 1973||Heir apparent: Crown Princess Victoria (eldest child)|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||Constitutional||Hereditary||Windsor||Queen||Elizabeth II[III]||21 April 1926||93 y.||6 February 1952||Heir apparent: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay (eldest son)|
|Vatican City State||Absolute||Elective||–||Pope||Francis||17 December 1936||82 y.||13 March 2013||Elective|
|I^ The co-prince of Andorra is also the president of France.|
Andorra has been a co-principality since the signing of a paréage in 1278, when the count of Foix and the bishop of La Seu d'Urgell agreed to share sovereignty over the landlocked country. After the title of the count of Foix had been passed to the kings of Navarre, and after Henry of Navarre had become Henry IV of France, an edict was issued in 1607 which established the French head of state as the legal successor to the count of Foix in regard to the paréage. Andorra was annexed by the First French Empire together with Catalonia in 1812–1813. After the Empire's demise, Andorra became independent again. The current joint monarchs are Bishop Joan Enric Vives Sicília and President Emmanuel Macron of France.
Belgium has been a kingdom since 21 July 1831 without interruption, after it became independent from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands with Léopold I as its first king. Belgium is the only remaining popular monarchy in the world: The monarch is formally known as the "King of the Belgians", not the "King of Belgium". While in a referendum held on 12 March 1950, 57.68 percent of the Belgians voted in favor of allowing Léopold III, whose conduct during World War II had been considered questionable and who had been accused of treason, to return to the throne; due to civil unrest, he opted to abdicate in favor of his son Baudouin I on 16 July 1951. The current monarch is Philippe.
In Denmark, the monarchy goes back to the prehistoric times of the legendary kings, before the 10th century and the Danish monarchy is the oldest in Europe. Currently, about 80 per cent support keeping the monarchy. The current monarch is Margrethe II. The Danish monarchy also includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland which are parts of the Kingdom of Denmark with internal home rule. Due to this status, the monarch has no separate title for these regions.
Liechtenstein formally came into existence on 23 January 1719, when Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor decreed the lordship of Schellenberg and the countship of Vaduz united and raised to the dignity of a principality. Liechtenstein was a part of the Holy Roman Empire until the Treaty of Pressburg was signed on 26 December 1805; this marked Liechtenstein's formal independence, though it was a member of the Confederation of the Rhine and the German Confederation afterwards. While Liechtenstein was still closely aligned with Austria-Hungary until World War I, it realigned its politics and its customs and monetary institutions with Switzerland instead. Having been a constitutional monarchy since 1921, Hans-Adam II demanded more influence in Liechtenstein's politics in the early 21st century, which he was granted in a referendum held on 16 March 2003, effectively making Liechtenstein a semi-constitutional monarchy again. However, the constitutional changes also provide for the possibility of a referendum to abolish the monarchy entirely. The current monarch is Hans-Adam II, who turned over the day-to-day governing decisions to his son and heir Alois, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein on 15 August 2004.
Luxembourg has been an independent grand duchy since 9 June 1815. Originally, Luxembourg was in personal union with the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 16 March 1815 until 23 November 1890. While Wilhelmina succeeded Willem III in the Netherlands, this was not possible in Luxembourg due to the order of succession being based on Salic law at that time; he was succeeded instead by Adolphe. In a referendum held on 28 September 1919, 80.34 per cent voted in favor of keeping the monarchy. The current monarch is Henri.
Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297. From 1793 until 1814, Monaco was under French control; the Congress of Vienna designated Monaco as being a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1815 until 1860, when the Treaty of Turin ceded the surrounding counties of Nice and Savoy to France. Menton and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, part of Monaco until the mid-19th century before seceding in hopes of being annexed by Sardinia, were ceded to France in exchange for 4,000,000 French francs with the Franco-Monegasque Treaty in 1861, which also formally guaranteed Monaco its independence. Until 2002, Monaco would have become part of France had the house of Grimaldi ever died out; in a treaty signed that year, the two nations agreed that Monaco would remain independent even in such a case. The current monarch is Albert II.
Though while not using the title of king until 1815, the Dutch Royal House has been an intricate part of the politics of the Low Countries since medieval times. In 1566, the stadtholder William of Orange became the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau
His descendants became de facto heads of state of the Dutch Republic during the 16th to 18th centuries, which was an effectively hereditary role. For the last half century of its existence, it became an officially hereditary role and thus a monarchy (though maintaining republican pretense) under Prince William IV. His son, Prince William V, was the last stadtholder of the republic, whose own son, King William I, became the first king of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, which was established on 16 March 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. With the independence of Belgium on 21 July 1831, the Netherlands formally became the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The current monarch is Willem-Alexander.
Norway was united and independent for the first time in 872, as a kingdom. It is thus one of the oldest monarchies in the world, along with the Swedish and Danish ones. Norway was part of the Kalmar Union from 1397 until 1524, then part of Denmark–Norway from 1536 until 1814, and finally part of the Union between Sweden and Norway from 1814 until 1905. Norway became completely independent again on 7 June 1905. Support for establishing a republic lies around 20 per cent. The current monarch is Harald V.
Spain came into existence as a single, united kingdom under Charles I of Spain on 23 January 1516. The monarchy was briefly abolished by the First Spanish Republic from 11 February 1873 until 29 December 1874. The monarchy was abolished again on 14 April 1931, first by the Second Spanish Republic – which lasted until 1 April 1939 – and subsequently by the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who ruled until his death on 20 November 1975. Monarchy was restored on 22 November 1975 under Juan Carlos I, who was also the monarch until his abdication in 2014. His son Felipe VI is the current monarch. The 1978 constitution confirms the title of the monarch is the King of Spain, but that he may also use other titles historically associated with the Crown, including the kingdoms of Castile and León, Aragon, the Two Sicilies, Jerusalem, Navarre, Granada, Seville, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Sardinia, Córdoba, Corsica, etc.
Today, there is a large number of organisations campaigning in favor of establishing a Third Spanish Republic; Data from 2006 suggest that only 25 percent of Spaniards are in favor of establishing a republic; however, the numbers have increased since Juan Carlos I abdicated.
Sweden’s monarchy goes back as far as the Danish one, to the semi–legendary kings before the 10th century, since then it has not been interrupted. However, the unification of the rivalling kingdoms Svealand and Götaland (consolidation of Sweden) did not occur until some time later, possibly in the early 11th century. The current royal family, the House of Bernadotte, has reigned since 1818. The current monarch is Carl XVI Gustaf.
The monarchy of the United Kingdom can be defined to have started either with the Kingdoms of England (871) or Scotland (843), with the Union of the Crowns on 24 March 1603, or with the Acts of Union of 1 May 1707. It was briefly interrupted by the English Interregnum, with the Commonwealth of England existing in its stead from 30 January 1649 until 15 December 1653 and from 26 May 1659 until 25 May 1660 and the Protectorate taking its place from 16 December 1653 until 25 May 1659. The current monarch is Elizabeth II.
Support for establishing a republic instead of a monarchy was around 18 per cent in the United Kingdom in 2006, while a majority thinks that there will still be a monarchy in the United Kingdom in ten years' time, public opinion is rather uncertain about a monarchy still existing in fifty years and a clear majority believes that the monarchy will no longer exist a century after the poll. Public opinion is, however, certain that the monarchy will still exist in thirty years. About 30 per cent are in favour of discontinuing the monarchy after Elizabeth's death.
The monarch of the United Kingdom is also the monarch of the fifteen other Commonwealth realms, none of which are in Europe. Some of these realms have significant levels of support for republicanism.
Differently from the Holy See, in existence for almost two thousand years, the Vatican City was not a sovereign state until the 20th century. In the 19th century the annexation of the Papal States by the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the subsequent establishment of the Kingdom of Italy, was not recognized by the Vatican. However, by the Lateran treaty of 1929, the Kingdom of Italy recognized Vatican City as an independent state, and vice versa. Since then, the elected monarch of the Vatican City state has been the current pope. The pope still officially carries the title "King of the Ecclesiastical State" (in Latin: Rex Status Ecclesiæ).
The succession order is determined by primogeniture in most European monarchies. Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom now adhere to absolute primogeniture, whereby the eldest child inherits the throne, regardless of gender; Monaco and Spain have the older system of male-preference primogeniture, while Liechtenstein uses agnatic primogeniture. In 1990, Norway granted absolute primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. This was not, however, done retroactively (as, for example, Sweden had done in 1980), meaning that Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway continues to take precedence over his older sister.
There are plans to change to absolute primogeniture in Spain through a rather complicated process, as the change entails a constitutional amendment. Two successive parliaments will have to pass the law by a two-thirds majority and then put it to a referendum. As parliament has to be dissolved and new elections have to be called after the constitutional amendment is passed for the first time, the previous Presidente del Gobierno José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero indicated he would wait until the end of his first term in 2008 before passing the law, although this deadline passed without the referendum being called. The amendment enjoys strong public support.
To change the order of succession in the United Kingdom, as the Queen of the United Kingdom is also the queen of the fifteen other Commonwealth realms, a change had to be agreed and made by all of the Commonwealth realms together. In the United Kingdom, the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 was enacted, and after completion of the legislative alterations required in some other realms, the changes came into effect across the Commonwealth realms on 26 March 2015.
Liechtenstein uses agnatic primogeniture (aka Salic law), which completely excludes women from the order of succession unless there are no male heirs of any kind present, and was criticised for this by a United Nations committee for this perceived gender equality issue in November 2007.
Luxembourg also used agnatic primogeniture until 20 June 2011, when absolute primogeniture was introduced.
One issue that occasionally rises is whether the monarchies are too expensive when compared to republics, or whether particular monarchies are more expensive than others, to maintain. This comparison may be hard to draw, since financial administration may differ radically from country to country, and not all profits and costs are publicly known, and because of different arrangements regarding the private property of the monarch. In the UK, the Crown Estate has a special legal status making it neither government property nor the private property of the monarch. Revenues from these hereditary possessions have been placed at the disposition of the British government (thus proceeding directly to the Treasury) by every monarch since the accession of George III in 1760; the revenues of GBP 304.1 million (fiscal year of 2015/16) far exceed the expenses of the British royal family in this sense resulting in a "negative cost" of the British monarchy.
In 2016, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published an overview of the annual expenditure (excluding security expenses) of all European royal houses (not counting Luxembourg and the four monarchical European microstates).
|Country||Annual costs royal house||Annual salary monarch||Does monarch pay taxes?||Annual costs royal house per taxpayer|
|Belgium||€36 million||€11.5 million||Yes||€3.15|
|Denmark||€13 million||€10 million||Only inheritance tax||€2.30|
|Netherlands||€41 million||€0.9 million||No||€2.40|
|Norway||€51 million||€1.2 million||No||€9.70|
|Spain||€8 million||€0.2 million||Yes||€0.16|
|Sweden||€13 million||€6.7 million||Yes||€1.30|
|United Kingdom||€45 million||€15.6 million||Yes||€0.70|
|Source: de Volkskrant (2016), based on the royal houses' websites of the seven monarchies, professor Herman Matthijs' 2013 study, the Dutch National Budget 2017, and ABCTOPConsult.|
In 2013, professor Herman Matthijs from Ghent University calculated the costs of the seven EU monarchies plus Norway, and compared them to the EU's two most populous republics, France and Germany. His four main conclusions were:
He stressed that the financial administration's transparency differs enormously between countries; especially the non-transparent monarchies may be much more expensive than is publicly known. This means comparing them to republics, especially the very transparent administration of France where citizens can know exactly what they pay for, may be unfair. In a 2015 interview with NRC Handelsblad, Matthijs commented that the then-known €7.7 million allotted to the royal house in Spain's national budget was 'unbelievable': "I can't find out more, but I understand from the media that the total expenses of the Spanish house may be as much as 80 million."
|Country||Form of government||Official annual costs||Transparency|
|Belgium||Monarchy||€13.9 million||Not transparent|
|Denmark||Monarchy||€13.2 million||Not transparent|
|France||Republic||€106.2 million||Very transparent|
|Germany||Republic||€25.6 million||Relatively transparent|
|Luxembourg||Monarchy||€9.3 million||Not transparent|
|Netherlands||Monarchy||€39.9 million||Relatively transparent|
|Norway||Monarchy||€42.7 million||Relatively transparent|
|Spain||Monarchy||€7.9 million||Not transparent|
|Sweden||Monarchy||€15.1 million||Not transparent|
|United Kingdom||Monarchy||€38.0 million||Poorly transparent|
|Source: Herman Matthijs, "De kosten van een staatshoofd in West-Europa" (2013).|
Calls for the abolition of Europe's monarchies have been widespread since the development of republicanism in the 17th to 18th centuries during the Enlightenment. During the French Revolution, the Ancien Régime in France was abolished, and in all territories the French First Republic conquered during the following Coalition Wars, sister republics were proclaimed. However, after Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804, all of these (except Switzerland) were converted back to monarchies headed by his relatives. The post-Napoleonic European Restoration reaffirmed the monarchical balance of power on the continent.
In subsequent decades, republicanism would regain lost ground with the rise of liberalism, nationalism, and later socialism. The Revolutions of 1848 were largely inspired by republicanism. Most of Europe's monarchies were abolished either during or following World War I or World War II, and the remaining monarchies were transformed into constitutional monarchies.
Republican movements in Europe remain active up to present. The most prominent organisations campaigning to eliminate one or more of Europe's remaining monarchies and/or to liquidate assets reserved for reigning families are affiliated with the Alliance of European Republican Movements, but there are smaller independent initiatives as well, such as Hetis2013 in the Netherlands. Also, some political parties (e.g. Podemos in Spain) have stepped up and called for national referenda to abolish monarchies.
The political influence of monarchism in former European monarchies is very limited. The most influential such movement was Carlism in Spain, calling for the restoration of the Bourbon (rather than the Habsburg) dynasty. Carlism playing a significant role in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. The Bourbon dynasty was eventually restored, in a constitutional monarchy, in 1978.
There are several monarchist parties in France, most notably the Action Française (established 1899). Monarchist parties also exist in the Czech Republic (1991), in Greece (2010), in Italy (1972) and in Russia (2012).
Otto von Habsburg renounced all pretense to the Habsburg titles in 1958, and monarchism in Austria has next to no political influence; a German monarchist organisation called Tradition und Leben has been in existence since 1959. Monarchism in Bavaria has had more significant support, including Franz Josef Strauss, minister-president of Bavaria from 1978–1988.
The Alliance of European Republican Movements (AERM) is a grouping of republican movements from across Europe. It was established in Stockholm in June 2010, after the wedding of Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling. The aim of the AERM is to provide a network for cross-party republican movements in all the countries of Europe that have a monarch as their head of state, in order to share information, resources and ideas and provide mutual assistance. Each member organisation will retain their autonomous national campaigns however, in recognition of their particular political and constitutional circumstances.
There are currently twelve extant monarchies in Europe. AERM has member organisations in seven of these: Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
The AERM protested against the wedding of British Prince William and Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011 in London, and planned to meet each year thereafter.Congress Poland
Congress Poland or Russian Poland, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland, was a polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a sovereign Polish state. Until the November Uprising in 1831, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Tsars of Russia. Thereafter, the state was forcibly integrated into the Russian Empire over the course of the 19th century. In 1915, during World War I, it was replaced by the Central Powers with the nominal Regency Kingdom of Poland, which continued to exist until Poland regained independence in 1918.
Following the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland ceased to exist as an independent state for 123 years. The territory, with its native population, was split between the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire. An equivalent to Congress Poland within the Austrian Empire was the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria , also commonly referred to as "Austrian Poland". The area incorporated into Prussia and subsequently the German Empire had little autonomy and was merely a province within Prussia - the Province of Posen.
The Kingdom of Poland enjoyed considerable political autonomy as guaranteed by the liberal constitution. However, its rulers, the Russian Emperors, generally disregarded any restrictions on their power. It was, therefore, little more than a puppet state of the Russian Empire. The autonomy was severely curtailed following uprisings in 1830–31 and 1863, as the country became governed by namiestniks, and later divided into guberniya (provinces). Thus from the start, Polish autonomy remained little more than fiction.The capital was located in Warsaw, which towards the beginning of the 20th century became the Russian Empire's third-largest city after St. Petersburg and Moscow. The moderately multicultural population of Congress Poland was estimated at 9,402,253 inhabitants in 1897. It was mostly composed of Poles, Polish Jews, ethnic Germans and an insignificant Russian minority. The predominant religion was Roman Catholicism and the official language used within the state was Polish until the January Uprising when Russian became co-official. Yiddish and German were widely spoken by its native speakers.
The territory of Congress Poland roughly corresponds to modern-day Kalisz Region and the Lublin, Łódź, Masovian, Podlaskie and Holy Cross Voivodeships of Poland as well as southwestern Lithuania and part of Grodno District of Belarus.Constitutional monarchy
A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy (in which a monarch holds absolute power) in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Morocco, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as Japan and Sweden where the monarch retains no formal authorities.
Constitutional monarchy may refer to a system in which the monarch acts as a non-party political head of state under the constitution, whether written or unwritten. While most monarchs may hold formal authority and the government may legally operate in the monarch's name, in the form typical in Europe the monarch no longer personally sets public policy or chooses political leaders. Political scientist Vernon Bogdanor, paraphrasing Thomas Macaulay, has defined a constitutional monarch as "A sovereign who reigns but does not rule".In addition to acting as a visible symbol of national unity, a constitutional monarch may hold formal powers such as dissolving parliament or giving royal assent to legislation. However, the exercise of such powers is largely strictly in accordance with either written constitutional principles or unwritten constitutional conventions, rather than any personal political preference imposed by the sovereign. In The English Constitution, British political theorist Walter Bagehot identified three main political rights which a constitutional monarch may freely exercise: the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn. Many constitutional monarchies still retain significant authorities or political influence however, such as through certain reserve powers, and may also play an important political role.
The United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms are all constitutional monarchies in the Westminster system of constitutional governance. Two constitutional monarchies – Malaysia and Cambodia – are elective monarchies, wherein the ruler is periodically selected by a small electoral college.Criticism of monarchy
Criticism of monarchy can be targeted against the general form of government—monarchy—or more specifically, to particular monarchical governments as controlled by hereditary royal families. In some cases, this criticism can be curtailed by legal restrictions and be considered criminal speech, as in lèse-majesté. Monarchies in Europe and their underlying concepts, such as the Divine Right of Kings, were often criticized during the Age of Enlightenment, which notably paved the way to the French Revolution and the proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy in France. Earlier, the American Revolution had seen the Patriots suppress the Loyalists and expel all royal officials. In this century, monarchies are present in the world in many forms with different degrees of royal power and involvement in civil affairs:
Absolute monarchies in Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, the United Arab Emirates, and the Vatican City;
Constitutional monarchies in the United Kingdom and its sovereign's Commonwealth Realms, and in Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and others.The twentieth century, beginning with the 1917 February Revolution in Russia and accelerated by two world wars, saw many European countries replace their monarchies by republics, while others replaced their absolute monarchy with constitutional monarchy. Reverse movements have also occurred, with brief returns of the monarchy in France under the Bourbon Restoration, the July Monarchy, and the Second French Empire, the Stuarts after the English Civil War and the Bourbons in Spain after the Franco dictatorship.Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway (Danish and Norwegian: Danmark–Norge), also known as the Dano–Norwegian Realm, the Oldenburg Monarchy or the Oldenburg realms, was an early modern multi-national and multi-lingual real union consisting of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Norway (including the Norwegian overseas possessions: the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, et cetera), the Duchy of Schleswig, and the Duchy of Holstein. The state also claimed sovereignty over two historical peoples: Wends and Goths. Denmark–Norway had several colonies, namely the Danish Gold Coast, the Nicobar Islands, Serampore, Tharangambadi, and the Danish West Indies.
The state's inhabitants were mainly Danes, Norwegians, and Germans, and also included Faroese, Icelanders and Inuit in the Norwegian overseas possessions, a Sami minority in northern Norway, as well as indigenous peoples and enslaved Africans in the colonies. The main cities of Denmark–Norway were Copenhagen, Christiania (Oslo), Altona, Bergen and Trondheim, and the primary official languages were Danish and German, but Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Sami and Greenlandic were also spoken locally.In 1380, Olaf II of Denmark inherited the Kingdom of Norway, titled as Olaf IV, after the death of his father Haakon VI of Norway, who was married to Olaf's mother Margrete I. Margrete I was ruler of Norway from her son's death in 1387 until her own death in 1412. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden established and formed the Kalmar Union in 1397. Following Sweden's departure in 1523, the union was effectively dissolved. From 1536/1537, Denmark and Norway formed a personal union that would eventually develop into the 1660 integrated state called Denmark–Norway by modern historians, at the time sometimes referred to as the "Twin Kingdoms," "the Monarchy" or simply "His Majesty". Prior to 1660, Denmark–Norway was de jure a constitutional and elective monarchy in which the King's power was somewhat limited; in that year it became one of the most stringent absolute monarchies in Europe. Even after 1660, Denmark–Norway consisted of three formally separate parts, and Norway kept its separate laws and some institutions, and separate coinage and army.
The Dano-Norwegian union lasted until 1814, when the Treaty of Kiel decreed that Norway (except for the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland) be ceded to Sweden. The treaty however, was not recognised by Norway, which successfully resisted the attempt in the 1814 Swedish–Norwegian War. Norway thereafter entered into a much looser personal union with Sweden as one of two equal kingdoms through 1905, when the union was dissolved and both kingdoms became independent.Ferdinand de Géramb
Ferdinand de Géramb (14 January 1772 – 15 March 1848) was a French supposed aristocrat and Trappist monk (name in religion Brother Mary Joseph). He became abbot and procurator-general of La Trappe.Grand duke
Grand duke (feminine: grand duchess) is a European hereditary title for either certain monarchs or members of certain monarchs' families. It is traditionally ranked in order of precedence below the title of emperor or king and above that of sovereign prince or sovereign duke. It is used in some current and former independent monarchies in Europe, particularly:
In the present-day Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Historically the sovereigns of former independent countries such as: Tuscany (from 1569 to 1860, now part of Italy); Baden, Hesse, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Saxe-Weimar — grand duchies from 1815 to 1918 are all now part of Germany
Formerly also for some nations in Eastern and Northeastern Europe, such as Grand Duchy of Finland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The self-styled monarchs of several micronations claim use of the title.Translations for grand duke include: in Latin, magnus dux; in Luxembourgish Groussherzog; in German Großherzog; in French Grand-Duc; in Spanish, Gran Duque; in Russian, великий князь (velikiy kniaz, literally "grand prince"); in Italian Gran Duca; in Portuguese grão-duque; in Finnish, suurherttua; in Polish, wielki książę; in Hungarian, nagyherceg; in Swedish, storhertig; in Afrikaans and Dutch, groothertog; in Danish and Norwegian, storhertug; in Lithuanian, didysis kunigaikštis; in Latvian, lielhercogs; in Czech velkovévoda or velkokníže; in Bulgarian велик херцог.House of Windsor
The House of Windsor is the reigning royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The dynasty is originally of German paternal descent and was a branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, itself derived from the House of Wettin, which succeeded the House of Hanover to the British monarchy following the death of Queen Victoria, wife of Albert, Prince Consort.
The name was changed from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor (from "Windsor Castle") in 1917 because of anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I. There have been four British monarchs of the house of Windsor to date: three kings and the present queen, Elizabeth II. During the reign of the Windsors, major changes took place in British society. The British Empire participated in the First and Second World Wars, ending up on the winning side both times, but subsequently lost its status as a superpower during decolonisation. Much of Ireland broke with the United Kingdom and the remnants of the Empire became the Commonwealth of Nations.
The current head of the house is monarch of sixteen sovereign states. These are the United Kingdom (where they are based), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. As well as these separate monarchies, there are also three Crown dependencies, fourteen British Overseas Territories and two associated states of New Zealand.Jean-Louis de Lolme
Jean-Louis de Lolme or Delolme (1740 – 16 July 1806) was a Genevan and British political theorist and writer on constitutional matters, born in the then independent Republic of Geneva. As an adult he moved to England, and became a British subject. His most famous work was Constitution de l'Angleterre (The Constitution of England, 1771), which was subsequently published in English as well. In it, de Lolme advocated a constitutional form of government enshrining the principle that monarchy, aristocracy and democracy should be balanced against each other. He also praised the element of representative democracy in the constitution, and urged an extension of suffrage. The work influenced many of the framers of the United States Constitution.Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland (Classical Irish: Ríoghacht Éireann; Modern Irish: Ríocht Éireann) was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy (the Lord Deputy, later Lord Lieutenant) to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature (the Parliament of Ireland), peerage (the Peerage of Ireland), legal system, and state church (the Protestant Church of Ireland).
The territory of the Kingdom had formerly been a lordship ruled by the kings of England, founded in 1177 after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. By the 1500s the area of English rule had shrunk greatly, and most of Ireland was held by Gaelic Irish chiefdoms. In 1542, King Henry VIII of England was made King of Ireland. The English began establishing control over the island, which sparked the Desmond Rebellions and the Nine Years’ War. It was completed in the 1600s. The conquest involved confiscating land from the native Irish and colonising it with settlers from Britain.
In its early years, the Kingdom had limited recognition, as no Catholic countries in Europe recognised Henry and his heir Edward as monarch of Ireland; although Catholic Queen Mary I was recognised as Queen of Ireland by Pope Paul IV. Catholics, who made up most of the population, were officially discriminated against in the Kingdom, which from the late 17th century was dominated by a Protestant Ascendancy. This discrimination was one of the main drivers behind several conflicts which broke out: the Irish Confederate Wars (1641–53), the Williamite-Jacobite War (1689–91), the Armagh disturbances (1780s–90s) and the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
The Parliament of Ireland passed the Acts of Union 1800 by which it abolished itself and the Kingdom. The act was also passed by the Parliament of Great Britain. It established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the first day of 1801 by uniting the Crowns of Ireland and of Great Britain.Monarchies in Asia
Asia has more monarchs than any other continent.Monarchies in Oceania
There are six monarchies in Oceania; that is: self-governing sovereign states in Oceania where supreme power resides with an individual hereditary head, who is recognised as the head of state. Each is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the sovereign inherits his or her office, usually keeps it until death or abdication, and is bound by laws and customs in the exercise of their powers. Five of these independent states share Queen Elizabeth II as their respective head of state, making them part of a global grouping known as the Commonwealth realms; in addition, all monarchies of Oceania are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The only sovereign monarchy in Oceania that does not share a monarch with another state is Tonga. Australia and New Zealand have dependencies within the region and outside it, although five non-sovereign constituent monarchs are recognized by New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and France.Outline of Europe
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Europe.Queen mother
A queen mother is a dowager queen who is the mother of the reigning monarch (or an empress mother in the case of an empire). The term has been used in English since at least 1560. It arises in hereditary monarchies in Europe and is also used to describe a number of similar yet distinct monarchical concepts in non-European cultures around the world.
"The Queen Mother" usually refers to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, 1900–2002 (queen consort, 1936–1952; queen mother, 1952–2002), who was the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, and held the status of queen mother for 50 years.Royal descendants of Queen Victoria and King Christian IX
The royal descendants of Victoria (Queen of the United Kingdom) and of Christian IX (King of Denmark) currently occupy the thrones of Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of the First World War their grandchildren occupied the thrones of Denmark, Greece, Norway, Germany, Romania, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. For this, Queen Victoria was nicknamed "the grandmother of Europe" while King Christian IX was nicknamed "Father-in-law of Europe". Of the remaining kingdoms of Europe today, only Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands descends neither from Queen Victoria nor King Christian IX.Royal intermarriage
Royal intermarriage is the practice of members of ruling dynasties marrying into other reigning families. It was more commonly done in the past as part of strategic diplomacy for national interest. Although sometimes enforced by legal requirement on persons of royal birth, more often it has been a matter of political policy or tradition in monarchies.
In Europe, the practice was most prevalent from the medieval era until the outbreak of World War I, but evidence of intermarriage between royal dynasties in other parts of the world can be found as far back as the Late Bronze Age. Monarchs were often in pursuit of national and international aggrandisement on behalf of themselves and their dynasties, thus bonds of kinship tended to promote or restrain aggression. Marriage between dynasties could serve to initiate, reinforce or guarantee peace between nations. Alternatively, kinship by marriage could secure an alliance between two dynasties which sought to reduce the sense of threat from or to initiate aggression against the realm of a third dynasty. It could also enhance the prospect of territorial acquisition for a dynasty by procuring legal claim to a foreign throne, or portions of its realm (e.g., colonies), through inheritance from an heiress whenever a monarch failed to leave an undisputed male heir.
In parts of Europe, royalty continued to regularly marry into the families of their greatest vassals as late as the 16th century. More recently, they have tended to marry internationally. In other parts of the world royal intermarriage was less prevalent and the number of instances varied over time, depending on the culture and foreign policy of the era.
It was not until the study of genetics began in the early twentieth century that the harm caused by inbreeding was recognized. Looking backwards, it is easy to see its relation to royal biological problems, most noticeably in the case of the last Spanish Habsburg monarch, Charles II of Spain, incapable of procreation.Virtuti Militari
The War Order of Virtuti Militari (Latin: "For Military Virtue", Polish: Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari) is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war. It was created in 1792 by Polish King Stanisław II August and is one of the oldest military decorations in the world still in use.It is awarded in five classes either for personal heroism or, to commanders, for leadership. Some of the heroic actions recognized by an award of the Virtuti Militari are equivalent to those meriting the British Victoria Cross, the German Iron Cross, and the American Medal of Honor.
Soon after its introduction, however, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was destroyed in the partitions of Poland (1795), and the partitioning powers abolished the decoration and prohibited its wearing. Since then, the award has been reintroduced, renamed and banned several times, with its fate closely reflecting the vicissitudes of the Polish people. Throughout the decoration's existence, thousands of soldiers and officers, Polish and foreign, several cities and one ship have been awarded the Virtuti Militari for valor or outstanding leadership in war. There have been no new awards since 1989.War of the First Coalition
The War of the First Coalition (French: Guerre de la Première Coalition) is the traditional name of the wars that several European powers fought between 1792 and 1797 against the French First Republic. Despite the collective strength of these nations compared with France, they were not really allied and fought without much apparent coordination or agreement. Each power had its eye on a different part of France it wanted to appropriate after a French defeat, which never occurred.France declared war on the Habsburg Monarchy (cf. the Holy Roman Empire, Austrian Empire etc.) on 20 April 1792. In July 1792, an army under the Duke of Brunswick and composed mostly of Prussians joined the Austrian side and invaded France, only to be rebuffed at the Battle of Valmy in September.
Subsequently these powers made several invasions of France by land and sea, with Prussia and Austria attacking from the Austrian Netherlands and the Rhine, and the Kingdom of Great Britain supporting revolts in provincial France and laying siege to Toulon in October 1793. France suffered reverses (Battle of Neerwinden, 18 March 1793) and internal strife (War in the Vendée) and responded with draconian measures. The Committee of Public Safety formed (6 April 1793) and the levée en masse drafted all potential soldiers aged 18 to 25 (August 1793). The new French armies counterattacked, repelled the invaders, and advanced beyond France.
The French established the Batavian Republic as a sister republic (May 1795) and gained Prussian recognition of French control of the Left Bank of the Rhine by the first Peace of Basel. With the Treaty of Campo Formio, the Holy Roman Empire ceded the Austrian Netherlands to France and Northern Italy was turned into several French sister republics. Spain made a separate peace accord with France (Second Treaty of Basel) and the French Directory carried out plans to conquer more of the Holy Roman Empire (German States, and Austria under the same rule).
North of the Alps, Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen redressed the situation in 1796, but Napoleon carried all before him against Sardinia and Austria in northern Italy (1796–1797) near the Po Valley, culminating in the Treaty of Leoben and the Treaty of Campo Formio (October 1797). The First Coalition collapsed, leaving only Britain in the field fighting against France.Zacharias Mar Athanasios
Zachariah Mar Athanasios born Cherian Polachirackal (19 February 1909 in Tiruvalla, India – 29 September 1977 in Tiruvalla), was a Saint Thomas Christian Syro-Malankara Catholic Bishop of Tiruvalla.