Constitutional Monarchy

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,330
It seems like there was a moment towards constitutional monarchy in the 19th century? Was this influenced by Britain, the US, or the French Revolution?

In Britain, there was a parliament since 1215, although the king was the main power until 1688. In some ways the Witan in Anglo Saxon times was more powerful, and in Norman times the kings were dependent on support from the Barons.

I believe there were parliaments in many Germanic countries and Spain early on. Were there many limited monarchs in medieval times? Were there constitutional monarchies other than Britain in the 16th and 17th centuries?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,461
Dispargum
The House of Orange were not absolute rulers of the Netherlands in the late 16th and through the 17th centuries. It appears that each ruler was chosen by the Dutch Parliament and theoretically they could have chosen someone outside of the dynasty. William III had particular problems securing his right to rule.


The Holy Roman Emperor was an elected office and only the ability of the Hapsburgs to manipulate each election kept the throne in the family.


The Papacy was also an elected monarchy of a sort.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,968
Sydney
.
Absolute monarchy was the exception rather than the rule ,

even as mighty a ruler as the sultan had to listen to his ulaema , the roman emperor used the Senate as a formal tool of government .
in Eastern Europe the usual form was elective monarchy , an old tradition which hark back to the election of the war chief
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,519
Las Vegas, NV USA
Constitutional monarchs are not necessarily powerless. It depends on what powers are given to them by the constitution. The King of Jordan has powers similar to the US president. He can veto legislation but cannot implement laws by decree. The King of Morocco has substantial, but not absolute power. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Brunei are absolute monarchies although the members of the large Saudi royal family have strong influence in running the country.
 
Last edited:

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,377
Netherlands
The House of Orange were not absolute rulers of the Netherlands in the late 16th and through the 17th centuries. It appears that each ruler was chosen by the Dutch Parliament and theoretically they could have chosen someone outside of the dynasty. William III had particular problems securing his right to rule.
It is wrong to see them as rulers (though in actual fact a couple sort of were). They were sort of hereditary commander in chief. And no there was no institution or such. So it basically was like having members of the Washington family hanging around.

What happened was that the estates chose a stadtholder when war went bad. Only much later it became something of a real institution (one of the real overlooked areas in my country's history). Ie Billy 3 (the William and Mary one) only became stadtholder, because we got our arse kicked by Louis 14. Without that war there would have been no stadtholder, much less an invasion in 1688.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,603
Florania
It is wrong to see them as rulers (though in actual fact a couple sort of were). They were sort of hereditary commander in chief. And no there was no institution or such. So it basically was like having members of the Washington family hanging around.

What happened was that the estates chose a stadtholder when war went bad. Only much later it became something of a real institution (one of the real overlooked areas in my country's history). Ie Billy 3 (the William and Mary one) only became stadtholder, because we got our arse kicked by Louis 14. Without that war there would have been no stadtholder, much less an invasion in 1688.
How did the stadholder become king/queen?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,519
Las Vegas, NV USA
How did the stadholder become king/queen?
The queen, Mary II Stuart, was the hereditary monarch. A marriage was arranged with William because 1) he was a Protestant 2) he had an army to fight James II, the Catholic king who was to be replaced. Parliament decided to make him a king so he could marry Mary and become co-ruler. He would not raise a fuss about having his powers diminished with the new Bill of Rights legislation (Glorious Revolution) since was he getting a promotion. It also didn't matter that Mary was significantly taller than William.
 
Last edited:

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Betgo -There was no such country as' Britain'' iin 1215.
England and Scotland had separate Parliaments until May 1st 1707 when , by the Treaty of Union, the Scottish and English Parliaments merged so thatt he unified bodies met in London, England.. An arrangement which lasted until 1999 when ,by referendum, the Scottish people, by a landslide majority, voted for the reconstitution of the Scottish assembly in Holyrood, Edinburgh.
The Irish parliament in Dublin was abolished by the Act of Union of 1801.
Re the British constitutional monarchy, the monarch has the right to 'warn , counsel and asdvise.'
In 1931 the financial crisis stricken Labour govt of Ramsay McDondald became he Conservative dominated Coalition govt under Stanley Baldwin thanks to the direct intervention by King George V.
The monarch still has the power to refuse to sign a Bill which can only become an Act with the royal signature.
The formula is that if the monarch blocks a bill the monarch declares Le roi/.la reine s'avisera'.
No monarch has done so since Queen Anne in the early 18th century..
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,519
Las Vegas, NV USA
The monarch still has the power to refuse to sign a Bill which can only become an Act with the royal signature.
The formula is that if the monarch blocks a bill the monarch declares Le roi/.la reine s'avisera'.
No monarch has done so since Queen Anne in the early 18th century..
I know that this is a reserve power of the monarch but I wonder under what circumstances it could be exercised. The play Charles III depicted the forced resignation of the king because he exercised this power. The bill that was blocked involved limitations of freedom of speech considered "libelous" by the government without going through the courts. Wouldn't that be just the sort of thing that justifies Le roi/.la reine s'avisera'? There is no other check on Parliament, is there?
 
Last edited:
Jul 2012
763
Australia
In the 18th century the King was still the active Executive head of government advised by a man who had the confidence of parliament - in effect power was shared. The English/British government was one of gradual usurpation of power by parliament. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to ascend the throne on the understanding she would have no executive functions other than to ascent to bills passed by parliament on the advice of the prime minister. Members of parliament form the government, and it is the monarch's government, so the monarch is compelled to support its decisions. The monarch may advise but not decide, so in effect Parliament is sovereign. Parliament's power is only limited by the Privy Council's (High Court elsewhere) interpretation of legislation and regular elections.