The British Monarchists Society

Constitutional Monarchy… A Tradition

In Britain, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 led to a Constitutional Monarchy restricted by laws such as the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701, although limits on the power of the monarch (‘A Limited Monarchy’) are much older than that, as seen in our Magna Carta. Today the monarchy in Britain is politically neutral and by convention the role is largely ceremonial. No person may accept significant public office without swearing an oath of allegiance to the Queen.Constitutional Monarchy most notably occurred in continental Europe after the French Revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte is considered to be “the first monarch” proclaiming himself as embodiment of the nation, rather than as a divinely-appointed ruler in contrast the Divine Right of French Kings before him; this interpretation of monarchy is basic to continental Constitutional Monarchies. G.W.F. Hegel, in Philosophy of Right (1820) justified it philosophically, according it well with evolving contemporary political theory, and with the Protestant Christian view of Natural Law. Hegel forecast a constitutional monarch of limited powers, whose function is embodying the national character and constitutional continuity in emergencies, per the development of constitutional monarchy in Europe and Japan. Moreover, the ceremonial office of president (e.g. European and Israeli parliamentary democracies), is a contemporary type of Hegel’s constitutional monarch (whether elected or appointed), yet, his forecast of the form of government suitable to the modern world might be perceived as prophetic. The Russian and French presidents, with their stronger powers, might be Hegelian, wielding power suited to the national will embodied.