The modern day reinvention of monarchy

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


When you think of monarchy, you might think of an inbred Habsburg – the family’s distinctive jaw, how generations of rulers crippled by a variety of diseases due to their tendency to marry within the immediate family. But for Sean and other members of the subreddit, monarchism is not merely about having a supreme ruler and an inherited throne. Most members of the community deplore authoritarian regimes. They aren’t simply searching for order via a supreme leader, but a return to tradition. “A monarchy is based around the nation showing respect for its past, its people and the culture,” one Reddit user explained.

Of course, there are many different kinds of monarchists. There are the absolutists who tend to favor hereditary supreme rule, and there are those who think the ideal form of government is close to what Great Britain has right now (a democracy paired with a monarch who serves a ceremonial role as head of state).

For many, monarchy offers up an alternative to other radical political factions. “I had a [real] disdain for liberalism and democracy in general,” an absolute monarchist from Germany told me on Reddit. “At first I actually identified with [Nazism] given my family’s history (cringe, I know) then I ditched that and was looking for something that really suited me and absolutism did just that, which led to monarchism by reading many works from respected authors.”

In 2018, the New York Times cited a study conducted by a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which discovered “‘robust and quantitatively meaningful evidence’ that monarchies outperform other forms of government”, and provide nations with “stability that often translates into economic gains”.

“I think it’s nostalgia,” Mauro Guillen, the Wharton professor who conducted the study, told me when I asked him why monarchy would appeal to a modern-day American or German. “They like the pomp and circumstance,” he said. “Maybe they’re traditionalists, and they like something that provides continuity.” He also pointed out that Hollywood, and specifically Disney, with its famous princesses, has been culturally influential when it comes to the public perception of a monarchical government.