Monarchy is one of the oldest forms of government in existence. Its fundamental characteristic consists of a king who commands all the power of a nation. The office of king is for life and is hereditary. However, there is no single model of monarchy. In this sense, there are two possible approaches: absolute or authoritarian monarchy and parliamentary monarchy.
parliamentary or constitutional monarchy
In this model, the king’s powers are limited, as the parliament of a nation is the one who represents popular sovereignty. The law that limits the powers of the monarch is the constitution , a document that clarifies the functions of the monarch. In countries where there is a parliamentary monarchy, there is a division of powers (executive, legislative and judiciary) where the monarch fulfills representational functions and, at the same time, becomes a symbol of the nation’s unity .
Currently, some of the nations that have this system of government are: United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Spain. If we take the role of the monarch in Spain as a reference, his attributions are defined in article 56 of the Constitution.
As its name indicates, it is a system of government in which the monarch concentrates all power, so there is no division of powers. This means that the decisions of a nation are taken by a single individual : the king. His ultimate authority is not limited by any other body, since the king’s will prevails and is not subject to any kind of law.
This form of government is what characterized European nations until the 18th century
In countries like Spain, France, and England, kings ruled without restraint to the point that Louis XIV attributed the following and illustrious phrase: “The state is I”, a declaration that sums up the plan of any absolute monarchy.
At the time of the French Revolution in 1789, the monarchy was abolished and a process of transformation began in most nations; the monarchy was no longer absolute and gradually adapted to the parliamentary system. However, currently there are still some countries where absolute monarchy is in effect, such as Qatar, Brunei, Swaziland, Oman and Saudi Arabia.