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A monarchy is a form of government. The origin of the word is the Ancient Greek “Monárkhēs.” Etymologically it consists of the words “one” and “ruler.” Hence, a monarchy is the rule of one. That is the principal difference to a republic. In a republic, the public owns the state, and the public chooses their rulers. A monarchy is the opposite. 

In this form of government, the monarch is the head of state. They are kings, queens, Ceasers, emperors, caliphs, sultans, and similar. The monarch is not elected. Instead, the power to rule is hereditary in one family. 

But, there are also monarchies where the aristocracy has to vote for a new monarch from their lines. Thus, not everyone can become a monarch, another significant difference to a republic. 

The Versailles Palace was the home of French kings between 1682 until 1789.

Further, the monarch is in charge until their death or abdication. Abdication is simply giving up and passing the power to the next in line in the family. The theory supporting this concept is called monarchism.

Absolute monarchies

The definition of an absolute monarchy form is simple. The monarch has total power. No law restricts what they can do. A symbol of this form was the French king Louis XIV who said, “I am the state” and “It is legal because I wish it.” However, some of these absolute monarchies have minor governing bodies. Hence, it does not have to be strictly authoritarian.

This form was most common until American independence and the French revolution. Today, we can find it in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.

Constitutional monarchies

Currently, it ís the most common form of monarchy. The fundament of this form is a constitution. It can be either written or unwritten form. Either way, it defines the rights of the monarch. Thus, they do not have total power.

Besides, the monarch also shares their power with an elected governing body (parliament, etc.). Thus, these states typically use the parliamentary system. Among these countries are the UK, Norway, Spain, Cambodia, or Thailand.