person at the head of a monarchy

A monarch is the ruler of a monarchy. Monarchs usually get their power by inheritance – from one of their parents. When a ruler dies their child, or nearest relative, takes over. A male monarch is usually called a king or emperor. A female monarch is usually called a queen or empress.

Monarchs were very common in history until the 20th century. Most European countries had monarchs in past centuries, but no longer have them. Some countries that still have monarchs have other leaders that actually have the power. Most monarchies are hereditary monarchies. Some countries elect their monarch instead of using inheritance, like the Holy Roman Empire[1] and Malaysia.[2] Some republics, such as the Dutch Republic or North Korea, had or have a hereditary ruler but do not call him a "monarch".

Monarchs can also have monarchs of lower honour below them, e.g. an empire could include several kingdoms, and a kingdom had several duchies or principalities, nations would rarely include all titles, usually going from duchy to kingdom instead of duchy to principality to kingdom. Prince/princess means 'ruler of a principality' and/or 'son of a king/queen'. Some other languages have separate words for them.

Monarchs by rankEdit

Title Male Female
Empire Emperor Empress
Kingdom King Queen
Grand Principality Grand Prince Grand Princess
Principality Prince Princess
Archduchy Arch Duke Arch Duchess
Grand Duchy Grand Duke Grand Duchess
Duchy Duke Duchess
Marquisate Marquess Marchioness
County/Earldom Count/Earl Countess
Viscounty Viscount Viscountess
Barony Baron Baroness

Related pagesEdit


  1. "the Holy Roman Empire". Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  2. "Explained: Malaysia is the world's only monarchy of its kind. Here's why". The Indian Express. 2019-08-03. Retrieved 2021-04-23.

Other websitesEdit