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Monarchism is the advocacy of monarchy or monarchical rule. 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. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the last hundred years many European nations have experienced fascism, communism, and military dictatorships. However, countries with constitutional monarchies have managed for the most part to avoid extreme politics in part because monarchies provide a check on the wills of populist politicians. European monarchies--such as the Danish, Belgian, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, and British--have ruled over countries that are among the most stable, prosperous, and free in the world. Constitutional monarchs make it difficult for dramatic political changes to occur, oftentimes by representing traditions and customs that politicians cannot replace and few citizens would like to see overthrown.
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."
Support for the restoration of monarchy
This is a list of countries showing support for the restoration of a previously abolished monarchy.
^"I used to be anti monarchy - but now I'm a royalist." (2017)
^Referred to herself as a Monarchist on the debate show The Pledge (2016).
^Jones, Dylan (2010). Cameron on Cameron: Conversations with Dylan Jones. Fourth Estate. ISBN978-0-00-728537-2.
^Gray, Charlotte (2016). The Promise of Canada: 150 Years--People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country. Simon and Schuster. ISBN978-1-4767-8469-4. Back home, Cartier impressed Upper Canadians with his unabashed anglophilia: he was a passionate monarchist who named his third daughter Reine-Victoria and believed that the Conquest in 1763 had saved Lower Canada from the misery and shame of the French Revolution.
^ abcdBrouillet, Eugénie; Gagnon, Alain-G.; Laforest, Guy (2018). The Quebec Conference of 1864: Understanding the Emergence of the Canadian Federation. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 121. ISBN978-0-7735-5605-8.
^Little, John (2013). Patrician Liberal: The Public and Private Life of Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, 1829-1908. University of Toronto Press. ISBN978-1-4426-6699-3. As a Canadian nationalist and constitutional monarchist, he firmly believed that the lieutenant governor was considerably more than a figurehead...
^Udall, Sharyn Roshlfsen (2001). Carr, O'Keeffe, Kahlo: Places of Their Own. Yale University Press. p. 30. ISBN0-3000-9186-9.
^Chodos, Robert; Murphy, Rae; Hamovitch, Eric (1991). The Unmaking of Canada: The Hidden Theme in Canadian History Since 1945. James Lorimer Company. p. 20. ISBN1-5502-8337-5.
^Silcox, David P.; Milne, David (1996). Painting Place: The Life and Work of David B. Milne, Volume 1. University of Toronto Press. p. 206. ISBN0-8020-4095-0.
^ abBousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry (2002). Fifty Years the Queen: A Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Her Golden Jubilee. Dundurn. p. 12. ISBN1-5500-2360-8.
^"Nancy Bell, 65 independent voice in Senate", Toronto Star, December 1, 1989
^ abJackson, D. Michael (2013). The Crown and Canadian Federalism. Dundurn. ISBN978-1-4597-0990-4. [s]ome people think the NDP may want to get rid of the monarchy but I can assure you that's absolutely not the case. My Dad was a big time monarchist and so am I.
^Wise, Leonard (2017). Charles Pachter: Canada's Artist. Dundurn. ISBN978-1-4597-3876-8. Paradox defines him... He's a monarchist who loves royalty, yet he delights in satirizing them.
^ abJohnson, David (2018). Battle Royal: Monarchists vs. Republicans and the Crown of Canada. Dundurn. p. 160. ISBN978-1-4597-4014-3.
^Shore, Cris; Williams, David V. (2019). The Shapeshifting Crown: Locating the State in Postcolonial New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK. Cambridge University Press. p. 156. ISBN978-1-1084-9646-9.