Charles of Austria, Constitutional Monarchy, Emperor Carl of Austria, France, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King Louis XVI of France, Royal Marriages Act of 1772, The Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, United Kingdom
This has been a very long series. Here is the conclusion. As stated in the beginning my premise for the survival of the monarchies that are extant is due to a more Liberal political view that allowed these systems to adapt and change with the times. These are also the reasons why these systems are continuing to survive. For example, the United Kingdom followed the direction the Scandinavian and Benelux monarchies have gone in regards to gender neutrality for the succession to the crown. In the future the eldest child will inherit the throne regardless of gender. For a further example, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new baby is a girl, she will follow Prince George and become fourth in line to the throne as she would have under the old laws. However, she will not be moved down in the succession by any future younger brothers. The Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 has finally gone into affect once Australia finally approved it. Other more Liberal provisions of the Act was to repeal the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 so now only the first 6th in line to the throne have to ask permission of the sovereign to marry. The Act also restored to the order of succession those who had married Catholics. So as long as a Prince or Princess married a Catholic they will no longer lose their place in the succession. However, if a British Prince or Prince converts to the Catholic faith or is baptized into the faith they will lose their place in the succession.
We have seen that in Britain they went from an almost absolute monarchy under the Tudors to the Constitutional Monarchy they have today. Although it was a very rough road to get to where we are today the monarchy did survive because it was able to adapt to the changing political philosophies of the day. We saw the same thing in Denmark although with much less bloodshed. In Denmark the king took over the power and when the people desired a Constitution with a monarch that had lesser power it was granted easily. When King Christian IX (1863-1906) tried to wield more power than he had he was very unpopular for it and almost lost his crown. His ability to adapt to how things were helped save that crown.
Russia, Austria-Hungary and the German Empire (and France) all fell during times of war but the staunch Conservatism and the inability to change lead to the downfall of each. Both Czar Nicholas II of Russia and King Louis XVI lost their thrones and lives during revolutions. Brief periods of Constitutional Monarchy were attempted but each monarch were used to centuries of personal autocracy and the sharing of power was seen as being beneath them. Plus, these bodies (Parliaments) were not very trusting of their sovereigns either. Kaiser’s Wilhelm II and Carl I-IV lost their thrones because the people no longer wanted them. I think this point cannot be over stressed. Both Germany and Austria-Hungry clung to a type of autocracy that had fallen out of favor over a century.
I think it brings up a good point to close with. It is important that monarchies bend to the changing times for the most important lesson learned with the collapse of these more Conservative regimes is that the monarchs govern by the will of the people and if and when the people no longer desire them they will be gone. I think today’s monarchs realize this very important fact. In that context I think these monarchies do provide their countries with something the people do need. I have gone over this briefly and I will restate it here: Symbolism and Patriotism are important to any country and having a head of state that is above the partisan game playing and bickering and who is a symbol and unifying factor can be of great value to the people. As long as they can find ways to remain meaningful in the lives of their country and adapt to the changing needs of the country and remaining an anchor for stability then the people will desire to keep them around.