The Mystique of Monarchy

"Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings," Shakespeare's poetic (and doomed) Richard II prophetically says in the play named after him. "Some have been depos'd," he goes on, some "haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd ... all murder'd." But were a modern Richard speaking today, he would more likely talk about the death of kingship—the very idea of a useful, functioning monarchy. The last quarter of a century has seen the number of democracies and republics in the world explode from 40 to about 120. Monarchs, as a consequence, have come to...

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