The monarchy in a parliamentary system

  • Hans Daalder


A discussion of the political role of monarchs in contemporary Western Europe is complicated by three uncritical preconceptions : the traditionalist-monarchist view of Kings as transcendent sovereigns, the democratic-emancipatory view which assumes that Kings are by definition nothing but constitutional nonentities, and the media-view of members of a royal family as at one and the same time both superhuman and very human actors.
A realistic analysis of the role of monarchs and monarchy focuses on at least five issues : whether countries remained monarchies in the wake of democratisation because of, or notwithstanding being monarchies ; the relationship of monarchs to major social cleavages; the very real importance of Kings within the actions of the nominal Crown notwithstanding the importance of the principle of ministerial responsibility ; the inevitably personal role of Kings in the making, the crisis and the fall of cabinets ; and the unavoidable conflict between the personal rights and actions of monarchs and the limitations which constitutional monarchy implies.

How to Cite:

Daalder, H., (1991) “The monarchy in a parliamentary system”, Res Publica 33(1), p.71-81. doi:

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Published on
30 Mar 1991
Peer Reviewed