Difference Between Constitutional Monarchy and Democracy

Constitutional Monarchy vs Democracy

It is a fact that has been long since established that a civilized society is in need of a government that would oversee all its functions. As a result, many types of governments have seen the light of the world. Constitutional monarchy and democracy are two such types of governments that exist in the world today. As these two types of government exist in the world today, it is important to know the difference between constitutional monarchy and democracy.

What is Constitutional Monarchy?

A constitutional monarchy is a democratic government that consists of a constitution and a monarch who functions as a non-party political head of state within the limits set by the constitution, written or unwritten. The monarch does not set public policy or choose political leaders although they may hold certain reserved powers. Political scientist Vernon Bogdanor defines constitutional monarchy as “a sovereign who reigns but does not rule.”

Parliamentary monarchy is a subsection that exists under constitutional monarchy of which the monarch heads the state, but is not actively involved in policy formation or implementation. It is the cabinet and its head who provides true governmental leadership under this formation.

The British constitutional monarchy consists of the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The current monarch Queen Elizabeth II is by tradition, commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces with her powers being limited to non-partisan functions such as appointing the prime minister and bestowing honours. 

Difference Between Constitutional Monarchy and Democracy

The monarchy of Canada with its current Canadian monarch as Queen Elizabeth II forms the foundation of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of each provincial government. It is the core of its Westminster-style parliamentary democracy and federalism.

What is Democracy?

Democracy allows all eligible citizens to participate equally in the creation of laws whether it be directly or through an elected representative. The term originates from the Greek word that translates into English as “rule of the people.” Democracy preaches equality in all cultural, social, ethnic, religious and racial spheres as well as justice and liberty. Several varieties of democracies exist of which direct democracy and representative democracy or democratic republic are the main ones. Direct democracy allows all eligible citizens to participate directly in the political decision making process while representative democracy is where political power is exercised indirectly through representatives elected by eligible citizens who still hold the sovereign power.


What is the difference between Constitutional Monarchy and Democracy?

Constitutional monarchy and democracy are two forms of government that are commonly seen in the world today. While they may share certain similarities, they also feature many differences that set them apart.

• Constitutional monarchy features a monarch who functions as the head of state. In a democracy, the head of state is someone elected by the eligible citizens of the state.

• In a constitutional monarchy, the monarch is sovereign. In a democracy, the people remain sovereign.

• In a constitutional monarchy, people pay no part in the political decision making. Democracy is named the rule of the people as citizens are either directly or indirectly involved in the decision making process.

• In a democracy, head of state has the power to make all decisions. In a constitutional monarchy, the head of state has limited powers.


Photos By: paragdgala (CC BY 2.0), jason train (CC BY 2.0)

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Democracy and Non Democracy
  2. Difference Between Democracy and Monarchy
  3. Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship
  4. Difference Between Democracy and Totalitarianism
  5. Difference Between Democracy and Republic
  6. Difference Between Democracy and Theocracy
  7. Difference Between Democracy and Mobocracy
  8. Difference Between Democracy and Communism
  9. Difference Between  Shura and Democracy