A Constitutional Monarchy is a form of government, in which a king or queen is the official head of state, although their powers are limited by a constitution and often lack much real power, as the legislative branch is the primary governing body. A constitutional monarchy differs from an absoloute monarchy in that in an absolute monarchy the monarch is able to rule with unchecked power, and are able to change the laws at their whim.
Constitutional Monarchy first emerged in England. Initally the British monarchy was absolute, however, the nobility under King John felt that the king had abused his power, and had forced him to sign a document called the Magna Carta. This document limited the powers of the king and made and made him somewhat responsible for the wellbeing of his subjects. The document, however was more focused on maintaining the ability of the nobles to have a say in what the king did.
Contemporary constitutional monarchies include the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms, Belgium, Bhutan, Bahrain, Cambodia, Denmark, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, and Laos.
List of current reigning monarchies
The following is a list of reigning monarchies. Except where noted, monarch selection is hereditary as directed by the state's constitution.
|State||Last constitution established||Type of monarchy||Monarch selection|
|23x15px Antigua and Barbuda||1981||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Andorra||1993||Co-Principality||Selection of Bishop of La Seu d'Urgell and election of French President|
|23x15px Australia||1901||Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy.||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px The Bahamas||1973||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Barbados||1966||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Bahrain||2002||Kingdom||Hereditary succession|
|23x15px Belgium||1831||Kingdom; popular monarchy||Hereditary succession|
|23x15px Belize||1981||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Bhutan||2007||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Cambodia||1993||Elective monarchy; Kingdom||Chosen by throne council|
|23x15px Canada||1867 (last updated 1982)||Constitutional Monarchy and Federal Parliamentary Democracy.||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Denmark||1953||Kingdom||Hereditary succession|
|23x15px Greenland||2009||Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy.||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Grenada||1974||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Jamaica||1962||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Japan||1946||Empire||Hereditary succession|
|23x15px Kuwait||1962||Emirate||Hereditary succession, with directed approval of the House of Al-Sabah and majority of National Assembly|
|23x15px Lesotho||1993||Kingdom||Hereditary succession directed approval of College of Chiefs[source?]|
|23x15px Luxembourg||1868||Grand duchy|
|23x15px Malaysia||1957||Elective monarchy; Federal monarchy||Selected from nine hereditary Sultans of the Malay states|
|23x15px New Zealand||1907||Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy.||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Papua New Guinea||1975||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Saint Kitts and Nevis||1983||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Saint Lucia||1979||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||1979||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Solomon Islands||1978||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px Swaziland||1968||Kingdom; Mixture of absolute and constitutional monarchy||Hereditary succession|
|23x15px Sweden||1974||Kingdom||Switched from semi-constitutional monarchy to constitutional monarchy|
|23x15px Tuvalu||1978||Kingdom||Hereditary succession.|
|23x15px United Arab Emirates||1971||Federal Union of Emirates
|President elected by the seven absolute monarchs of the Federal Supreme Council|
|23x15px United Kingdom||1688||Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy.||Hereditary succession.|
- "English translation of Magna Carta". The British Library. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
- Belgium is the only existing popular monarchy — a system in which the monarch's title is linked to the people rather than a state. The title of Belgian kings is not King of Belgium, but instead King of the Belgians. Another unique feature of the Belgian system is that the new monarch does not automatically assume the throne at the death or abdication of his predecessor; he only becomes monarch upon taking a constitutional oath.