What Is a National Monarchy?

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A national monarchy is a monarchy that controls all aspects of leadership of a country, including the government and religion. Not all monarchies are national monarchies.

Some monarchies are constitutional or parliamentary monarchies. This means that although a royal family still exists and oversees formal state affairs, it does not actually rule the country. Rather, the government leadership of the country is determined and dictated by a constitution. National monarchies first emerged during the Middle Ages, when wealthy landowners were able to amass enough wealth to buy the support of a group of followers. They continued to use their wealth and influence to gain more wealth and influence until their power was so widespread that it was virtually without limitation. This gave national monarchies considerably more power than traditional kings and queens. Monarchy succession is traditionally dictated by birth, with the oldest male heir being the first in succession to the throne. However, some monarchies give equal consideration to female heiresses. Other monarchies are elected, which means that there is no specific individual who is expected to assume the throne. Instead, elections are held, and a person is selected. The elections may involve a national popular vote, or a small committee of officials may have the exclusive power to make the decision.