From ArticleWorld

Monarchs – or kings and queens, emperors and empresses etc – are born into their title and it is one they hold for life, unless they choose to abdicate, or resign their position. Their upbringing is different to that of a commoner in that they are taught to respect and obey their title and fulfill their role in life.

Types of Monarchs

Some monarchies are absolute in that the monarchs rule the country as they see fit and are not restricted by laws or constitutions. This system however is virtually non-existent today with the exception of Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Swaziland. The majority of monarchies today are constitutional; i.e. the monarch is the head of the executive branch of the government only or is simply a figurehead with ceremonial duties.

Some constitutional monarchies are hereditary while others are elective where monarchs are voted into office, perhaps for a limited time only. Most monarchies today are hereditary.

European monarchies

There are seven kingdoms, one grand duchy and two principalities in modern-day Europe.


The term monarch is unisex in that it covers both the male and female ruler. There are other titles which monarchs may bear and even though it was prevalent throughout history that the male heir be the next-in-line to the throne, there are also female equivalents.

Inheritance varies from monarchy to monarchy. The most traditional system is where the right to rule is passed onto the eldest male child. In the event of no male children, the monarch’s brother or the brother’s male child would inherit. Some countries, however, accepted female rulers early in their history such as the U.K., but even in this case the female child would inherit only in the case of their being no male siblings.

In modern Europe, Sweden was the first European monarchy to do away with the male prerogative altogether and succession went to the eldest child regardless of sex. This system was soon adopted by other European monarchies such as Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.