Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II
The rise of the Constitutional Monarchy in
I have been reading articles on Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II on constitutional monarchy system and economic development and his views and arguments he has on how African countries could benefit from this system. I found these ideas brilliant and that inspired me to make more research on constitutional monarchy holistically. I looked back in history to find out what other European countries and the rest of the world went through in order for them to use the constitutional monarchy system. There are a lot of writers who wrote books on constitutional monarchy. I make mention of Mr Walter Bagehot, Vernon Bogdanor and Benjamin Disraeli to mention just a few.
We will look into the arguments we see from Walter Bagehot’s theories on constitutional monarchy. He starts by referring us to the types of democracy used then, that of Representative Democracy and constitutional Democracy. He writes that in
for instance, the property owning class considered the return of an absolute
monarch as a greater threat. Glorious revolution of 1688 deposed one King and
replaced him with another one that agreed to abide by a set of rules limiting
his powers. England
The age of the constitutional monarchy was born and the concept of an unalterable constitution was to play a significant role in the next stage of the development of democracy theory. Mr Bagehot referred to the two political ideas that emerged in the 18th century;
a) Individual and individual rights in political society.
b) The rise of science as an explanatory tool. He also made mention of to the revolutions in
America and . France
The French revolution in 1789 and wars in
in 1861-65 left to a claim for a legitimate claim for a political system that
is based on the will of the people. These rights were: America
- Freedom of speech;
- Freedom of assembly;
- Freedom of religious belief;
- Freedom to participate in the legislative process.
The signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. Leading of
succeeded in forcing King
John to accept that they and other freemen had rights against the crown. In 1688
Parliamentarians drew up a bill of rights which established basic tenets such
as the supremacy of Parliament. The constitutional monarchy we know today
developed in the 18th and 19th centuries as day to day power came to
be exercised by ministers in cabinet and by parliaments elected. (Reference
book “The English Constitution” of 1867 by Walter Bagehot) England
These are some of the reasons I see the arguments raised by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II to be in line with those of Mr Walter Bagehot. Mr Walter Bagehot wrote that the nation is divided into parties, but the crown is of no party. Its apparent separation from business is that which removes it both from enmities and from desecration, which preserves its mystery which enable it to combine the affection of conflicting parties, the Royal family brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life. Mr Walter Bagehot refers to 3 rights:
- The right to be consulted.
- The right to encourage.
- The right to warn.
By the time King George V rules, the principles of constitutional monarchy was firmly established in
The bill of rights of 1689 set out the foundation of the constitutional
monarchy. They were: Britain
- Freedom from Royal interference with the law.
- Freedom from taxation by Royal prerogative.
- Freedom to petition the King.
- Freedom to elect members of parliament without interference from the sovereign.
Mr Walter Bagehot wrote the monarchy was the better form of government than a republic because it had more appeal. He outlined his reasons as:
- Monarchy is ‘an intelligible government’.
- Monarchy presents the nation with a family.
- ‘Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions.’
In his book ‘efficient secret’, Mr Walter Bagehot divided the constitution into the ‘dignified’ and ‘efficient parts’. He refers to parliament as the efficient part, monarchy the dignified, where the role of the monarchy is mentioned above. He wrote that the ‘secret lies in the fact that the British people are not aware of what is happening. They see the grandeur and panoply of monarchy and are deluded into believing that the Queen has real power. The people are incapable of governing themselves and therefore it is right to deny them a share in the government. Because they are enormously deferential, they welcome the monarch and its apparent powers. It is important for the monarchy to be visible’.
At the time Mr Walter Bagehot was misunderstood as describing how the monarchy functioned in his day, but in fact he was prescribing as to how it should function. Queen
played a far
more active role than Walter Bagehot’s theories allowed. Only after the death
of Queen Victoria
it was realised that Bagehot’s thesis were relevant. Walter Bagehot argued that
the best government was based on discussion; it was most effectively managed
not by the many but by ‘a select few’, men who had enjoyed a life of leisure, a
long culture, a varied experience, an existence by which the judgement is
incessantly exercised and by which it may be incessantly improved. The selected
few were members of parliament. Victoria
These are the very views that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II share and argues in his vision for constitutional monarchy and economic development for the African continent.
The European Monarch Genealogy:
The history of the constitutional monarchy dates back from that of Habsburgs dynasty. The dynasty first gained power in 1278 when Rudolf of Habsburg seized the Apline duchies of
and Styria. The Alpine duchies, which were part of land in Austria Switzerland, Italy,
France and , ruled
by the Bohemian King Otakar. Rudolf of Habsburg had already owned family lands
in southern Germany Germany and Alsace, a region on northern . France became the head, or central
point, of the Habsburg Empire. Over the next few centuries the descendants of
Rudolf expanded the empire towards the west. The family seized control of
Tyrol, a province in Western Austria and Austria Northern Italy.
During this time, the family also gained control of Carinthia, the Southern
part of . Austria
During the 1445 – 1792 the head of the Habsburg family was elected regularly the Holy Roman Emperor. The Habsburgs also took control of
and Turkish. Emperor Ferdinand, born in 1503, became King of Hungary and Bohemia after the death
of Louis II in 1526. The Habsburg became the supreme power for multiple
reasons. They were the defenders of Christianity against Islam. They were the
protector of Catholicism against Protestantism in Bohemia East-central
The house of Habsburg is greatest known for being a source of all formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740. The dynasty was originally from
Switzerland and first ruled . Austria
Mr Vernon Bogdanor goes deep detailing the whole family tree of the Habsburg Empire.
The Monarchy and the Constitution (how
Looking back in history Vernon Bogdanor raises questions on ‘How does monarchy function in a modern democracy?’ In his book ‘The Monarchy and the constitution’, Mr Bogdanor argues that since the British constitution is so heavily dependent upon history, the question can only be answered historically. The rules that regulate
’s constitutional monarchy
and personal prerogatives are then discussed. Three twentieth-century
constitutional crises in which the authority of the sovereign was in question
are then analysed. Finally, the book considers how the monarchy is financed,
and the relationship between the monarchy, the Churches of England and the
Monarchy and the Commonwealth work. Britain
The Evolution of Constitutional Monarchy: (
Here Vernon Bogdanor views the British monarchy as by far the oldest of all constitutional monarchies. It’s been traced back to even before the Norman Conquest. The influence of Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights are also discussed by Bogdanor, just as Walter Bagehot discussed them as well above. It was during the reign of Queen
monarchy took on its recognizable modern form. Also the most imaginative
politician, Benjamin Disraeli shared these views. Victoria
The Basic Constitutional Rules: The rules of succession
Vernon Bogdanor views the constitutional monarchy as a form of monarchy governed by the rules. In Britain, he refer to these rules in two kinds; Non-statutory rules governing hereditary succession and statutory rules laying down certain conditions that the holder of the throne must meet. Although descent is the main criterion of succession, the great constitutional struggles of the seventeenth century, culminating in the Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Act of Settlement of 1701, confirmed that the succession could be regulated by parliament. The British monarchy is a parliamentary monarchy and the succession can only be altered by Act of Parliament. The rules regulating the royal consort and the heir to the throne and the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 are analysed.
The Basic Constitutional Rules: Influence and the Prerogative
Vernon Bogdanor writes that the head of state should be distinguished from that of the head of government. There are three main functions of the head of state:
- The constitutional functions, which today are primarily of a residual or formal kind, such as appointing a prime minister and agreeing to dissolve the legislature.
- The ceremonial functions that President de Gaulle once dismissed as opening exhibitions of chrysanthemums.
- The symbolic or representative function by means of which the head of state represents the nation to itself.
The financing of the Monarchy:
Vernon Bogdanor argues that financing the monarchy has always had constitutional implications. It was always a crucial issue in the battle between the King and the Parliament in the seventeenth century. Today the financing is designed to ensure that the sovereign is largely, though not wholly, depend upon Parliament for money. A careful balancing is needed.
The Sovereign and the Church:
The Church of England and the Church of Scotland are both established churches and the sovereign enjoy a special relationship with each other. Disestablishment of the Church of England is once again a lively political issue as it was much of the nineteenth century.
The Future of Constitutional Monarchy:
Vernon Bogdanor writes that until 1914, monarchy was the prevalent form of government in
Europe. The only three European states; France, Portugal
were republics. Today there are only eight monarchies in Switzerland Europe.
These monarchies are the most stable and well-governed states in the continent.
If the conjunction of monarchy and democracy might seem a contradiction, it
would be as well to bear in mind Freud’s dictum that it is only logic that
contradiction cannot exit.
Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II shares these view and has a vision that
will develop to a greater continent if the same process could be followed the
What are your thoughts on Constitutional Monarchy for Africa, especially