Crowned republic

A crowned republic is a form of constitutional monarchy where the monarch's role is commonly seen as largely ceremonial and where all the royal prerogatives are prescribed by custom and law in such a way that the monarch has limited discretion over governmental and constitutional issues.

The term has been used to informally describe governments of various realms, including Australia and the United Kingdom. It can refer to a constitutional monarchy where the sovereign personally exercises little discretion over the country's political or executive affairs, whether legally vested with ultimate executive authority or not.


As an informal term, "crowned republic" lacks any set definition as to its meaning, and the precise difference between a constitutional monarchy and a "crowned republic" remains vague. Different individuals have described various states as crowned republics for varied reasons. For example James Bryce wrote in 1921:

"By Monarchy I understand the thing not the Name i.e. not any State the head of which is called King or Emperor, but one in which the personal will of the monarch is constantly effective, and in the last resort predominant, factor of government. Thus, while such a monarchy as that of Norway is really a Crowned Republic, and indeed a democratic republic, monarchy was in Russia before 1917, and in Turkey before 1905, and to a less degree in Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy until 1918, an appreciable force in the conduct of affairs".[1]

The Australian Republic Advisory Committee described the country as a "crowned republic" and stated it was "a state in which sovereignty resides in its people, and in which all public offices, except that at the very apex of the system, are filled by persons deriving their authority directly or indirectly from the people" so "it may be appropriate to regard Australia as a crowned republic".[2]

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) used the term in his book A Short History of the World to describe the United Kingdom,[3] as did Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1873 in an epilogue to Idylls of the King.[4]

In the Kingdom of Greece, the term Βασιλευομένη Δημοκρατία (Vasilevoméni Dimokratía, literally crowned democracy or crowned republic) became popular after the 23 October 1862 Revolution, which resulted in the introduction of the 1864 constitution.[5] The Constitution of 1952 enshrined the concept into law by declaring the form of government that of a Crowned Republic.[6] This is sometimes translated as "Crowned Democracy".[7]