Recent celebration of the Queen’s Birthday on 14th June 2021, which is a public holiday in Australia and the much-looked-forward-to long weekend, reminded me about the continuous debate or discussion about the expediency of monarchies existence which has prevailed in different parts of the world in the 21st century. Before delving into the topic in depth, I felt a further development of knowledge about the differences between absolute monarchy, parliamentary monarchy or semi-constitutional monarchy would be beneficial and is essential. I learnt that absolute monarchy, which is hereditary, occurs when the king/queen wields supreme authority over his/her people or subjects; an authority that is restricted by written laws, legislatures, or customs. As this form of supreme power in the hands of one person, which gradually declined or failed for want of support, exists only in a few countries such as Brunei, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia it would be regarded as an unpardonable offence if the discussion on the topic is limited. Vatican City is a deviant from absolute monarchy as the Pope who holds absolute authority over people is elected to power.
Parliamentary or constitutional monarchy, as opposed to absolute monarchy, occurs when limited powers are bestowed on the king or queen who functions as the Head of the State; however the power to pass legislation lies with the elected parliament and the Prime Minister who is the Head of the Government. In other words, as listed by Walter Bagehot, the three main rights of the constitutional monarchs are “the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn.” and this type of monarchy is practiced in countries such as United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Japan etc. Slightly different to both the monarchies is semi-constitutional monarchy followed in countries like Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein etc. The monarch shares autocratic powers of the absolute one in many aspects or fields but has limited powers in certain areas as he must share powers with the President, ministers or judges who are self-appointed and not elected due to the failure in recognizing the principles of parliamentarism.
Even though the place of a hereditary monarch in a democratic system is questioned as most believe that democracy can do without the royal family, I personally believe that parliamentary or constitutional monarchy should exist. Approval or disapproval and acceptance or rejection of anything should be the outcome of informed decisions or based on the benefits to society in many ways or on productivity. If these parameters are taken into consideration, then the parliamentary monarchs, such as Her Majesty the Queen, have supported and contributed to many international organizations through their Charity or Patronage divisions and continue to do so till date. Her Majesty The Queen’s charity list is extensive and I have taken the liberty to list a few organizations she supports such as ABF The Soldier’s Charity, Air Force Association of Canada, Anglo Belgian Society, Aberdeen Association of Social Service, Australian Medical Association, Australian Physiotherapy Association, Australian Racing Museum, Australian Red Cross Society etc. and hence rates high on the scales of popularity.
An interesting TED talk by the speaker named Noah Wiener will enlighten you with more reasons as to why we should have monarchy.