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.
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
(18 June 1901 - 17 July 1918) was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II
, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia
, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna
. She was murdered with her family
by members of the Cheka
, the Bolshevik
secret police. The location of her burial was unknown during the decades of Communist rule, and rumors that she had escaped circulated after her death. A mass grave near Yekaterinburg
which held the remains of the Tsar, his wife, and three of their daughters was revealed in 1991, and the bodies of the remaining daughter and the Tsarevitch Alexei
were discovered in 2007. Forensic analysis and DNA testing have confirmed that the remains are those of the imperial family
, showing that Anastasia and the other grand duchesses were killed in 1918. Several women have claimed to be Anastasia, including Anna Anderson
, who died in 1984, but DNA testing in 1994 showed that she was not related to the Romanov family.
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The monarchy of the United Kingdom
is the constitutional monarchy
of the United Kingdom
, its dependencies
and its overseas territories
. The current monarch and head of state
, Queen Elizabeth II
, ascended the throne on the death of her father, King George VI
, on 6 February 1952. The monarch and his or her immediate family
undertake various official, ceremonial, diplomatic and representational duties. As the monarchy is constitutional, the monarch is limited to non-partisan functions such as bestowing honours
and appointing the Prime Minister
. The monarch is commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces
. Though the ultimate formal executive authority over the government of the United Kingdom is still by and through the monarch's royal prerogative
, these powers may only be used according to laws enacted in Parliament and, in practice, within the constraints of convention and precedent
.The British monarchy traces its origins from the petty kingdoms
of early medieval Scotland
and Anglo-Saxon England
, which consolidated into the kingdoms of England
by the 10th century AD. In 1066, the last crowned Anglo-Saxon
monarch, Harold Godwinson
, was defeated and killed
during the Norman conquest of England
and the English monarchy passed to the Normans' victorious leader, William the Conqueror
, and his descendants.
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