|Greece||1916-20, 1924-35, 1973|
I'm not sure what the seating arrangements would be if all the monarchs of the world sat down to dinner, but I imagine the would be seated in some specific order of importance -- seniority, height, number of paparazzi following them around. This list ranks them according to their countries' Gross National Products:
|Nation||Title (in English)||Beginning of, or Last Major Break in Dynastic Legitimacy||Constitutional Limitations Established|
|Japan||Empire||1867 (Meiji Resoration)||1947|
|Great Britain||Kingdom||1707 (Act of Union)||1688|
|Netherlands||Kingdom||1815 (establishment of kingdom)||1848|
|Denmark||Kingdom||1661 (Hereditary Monarch Act)||1849|
|Saudi Arabia||Kingdom||1927 (national unification)||none|
|Luxemburg||Grand Duchy||1839 (indep.)||1868|
|Jordan||Kingdom||1921 (colonial monarchy est.)||none|
|Bhutan||Kingdom||1907 (colonial monarchy est.)||none|
|Western Samoa||Chiefdom||federation, 1962||1962|
This is obviously a very subjective category. If it's a new country, then I usually just pick the year that sovereignty was established, but older countries are a problem. Since every usurper who earns his crown on the battlefield, in a coup, or in some back-room deal will claim untarnished legitimacy, we can, if we're feeling generous, track an unbroken chain of legitimacy back to the dawn of time for every monarchy on the planet. This is clearly not the case, so I have tried to find moments when the crown is passed to someone who is not the obvious hereditary candidate, or moments when the entire government is restructured.
I have not, however, penalized a dynasty for unorthodox -- but perfectly legal -- transitions such as abdications or the scramble to scrounge up a cousin when the old king dies childless.
It's difficult to pin down dynastic legitimacy in federated monarchies because, strictly speaking, they aren't hereditary monarchies at all. They are republics of kings.
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Last updated August 1999
Copyright © 1999 Matthew White