The word monarch latin: monarcha comes from the Greek language word μονάρχης, monos, one, singular, and ἄρχω árkhō, to rule which referred to a single, at least nominally absolute ruler.
Political system based upon the undivided sovereignty or rule of a single person. The term applies to states in which supreme authority is vested in the monarch, an individual ruler who functions as the head of state and who achieves his position through heredity. Tribal kingship is often connected to sacral functions, so that the king acts as a priest, or is considered of Divine Ancestry. The sacral function of kingship was transformed into the notion of Divine right of kings in the Christian Middle Ages, while the Chinese, Japanese and Nepalese monarchs continued to be considered living Gods into the modern period. By the end of the Middle Ages, the development of the territorial monarchies had laid the foundation for the idea of the modern nation-state.
As of 2016, there are 43 sovereign states in the world with a monarch as Head of state. All European monarchies are constitutional ones. The Vatican City is an exception. It is the smallest state in the world and with absolute monarchy existing. The Pope is its head and it is the only state completely enclosed by a city. The monarchs in the smaller states exercise greater political influence than in the larger. The monarchs of Cambodia and Japan ‘reign, but do not rule‘ although there is substantial dissimilarity in the degree of authority they exert:
- Absolute monarchy
- Semi-constitutional monarchy
- Constitutional monarchy
- Commonwealth realms – constitutional monarchies in personal union
- Subnational monarchies – traditional
‘Monarchs face new challenges in the modern world, a world in which deference and respect for authority are in decline and in which institutions are required to justify themselves in utilitarian terms. In Britain the archbishop of Canterbury declared after the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 that the nation had been close to God on that occasion; in 1956 an opinion survey showed that 34% of the population believed that the queen had actually been chosen by God’
image: The Imperial State Crown – 1937, The Ampulla and Anointing Spoon – 13th century, Mary II’s Orb – 1689 , Sceptre with the Dove – 1661