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Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy

Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy

Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy

Forty-four countries (including Queen Elizabeth II’s 16 realms) still have a monarch as head of state. These monarchies span the globe from those in the Middle East (e.g. Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the various Gulf nations) where the monarchs are de facto heads of government, to the quasi-religious monarchies of East Asia (e.g. Bhutan, Nepal, Japan and Thailand) to the monarchies of Northern Europe (e.g. UK, Benelux nations and Scandinavian states) who once exercised considerable political power but now perform a more symbolic and civic role.

This new interdisciplinary centre will promote the comparative study of modern monarchy to explore sovereignty and rule in theory and practice and ask questions such as how do monarchies adapt to change, reinvent themselves and navigate between past, present and future to ensure the continuity of the institution? What are the possibilities, challenges and opportunities of contemporary monarchies in different national contexts facing the loss of (political) importance, power, space, relevance, and popularity? How is the relevance and roles of these seemingly anachronistic institutions negotiated? Where does the perpetual interest in monarchies stem from? What role do they play in concepts of legal sovereignty, power and definitions of legality? How have monarchies used traditional and social media and been ‘abused’ by media? What is the role of monarchy in popular culture and civic society?

The centre’s research will also contribute to increasingly urgent contemporary debate about the role of monarchies in international relations and geopolitics, in the development of national identities and in constitutional reform.

Details on Launch event and major international conference to follow. 

Twitter - @centre_monarchy

Key Contacts


Funded by the AHRC the project brings together a research team based in the UK and at the University of West Indies, and from the disciplines of History, Oral History, Literature and the Political Sciences. Project partners include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, University of West Indies Museum, National Caribbean Heritage Museum, Black Cultural Archives and the Historical Association. The project begins in 1952, with the accession of Elizabeth II, and ends at the present day. It moves from decolonisation and the achievement of independence, to constitutional reform efforts and current debates on the future of the Crown in the Caribbean where the queen remains Head of state in 9 countries. As the Queen's 68-year reign draws to a close, the project engages with important questions about the legacy of her reign, the relationship between Britain and its former Caribbean colonies, and the  future of the Crown elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

Find out more via the project website - 


Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953

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