Essay: Royal families and monarchies in the 21st century

The Spanish royal couple during a graduation
July 14, 2016: Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia during a graduation ceremony at the General Military Academy of Zaragoza (source: dpa)
  • Modern monarchies continue to thrive in the 21st century
  • Royal families in Europe and Asia help uphold constitutional order and provide a sense of historic continuity
  • Old dynasties play a role in the turbulent transition facing Arab societies

Last Christmas, I heard a satirical parody of the Christmas carol, “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” It lampooned the “three Kims” of North Korea who have become a Marxist-Leninist dynasty imposing a reign of cruelty and barbarism on their country. By contrast, the world over, authentic monarchies – based on constitutional principles, committed to upholding the rule of law and providing a sense of nationhood, cohesion and continuity – do not cease to thrive.

In Europe alone, there are 12 monarchies – ranging from the principalities of Liechtenstein and Monaco to Denmark and Spain. Meanwhile, Britain has been marking the 90th birthday celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II, with no sign that the nation would willingly replace its monarchy with a republic.

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