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Actually some countries still do have a royal family that also rules their country.

Do most European countries still have a royal family? I know Spain does. I visited their palace, which is pretty nice. Much smaller of course than the likes of Buckinham Palace. But they don't live in it, and they only use it for ceremonial purposes.

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Actually some countries still do have a royal family that also rules their country.

Do most European countries still have a royal family? I know Spain does. I visited their palace, which is pretty nice. Much smaller of course than the likes of Buckinham Palace. But they don't live in it, and they only use it for ceremonial purposes.

Royals are constitutional heads of state in several European countries: UK, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Netherlands are kingdoms, Luxembourg is a Grand-Duchy and Monaco, Andorra (*) and Liechtenstein (**) are prinicipalities. You could even see the Vatican as an absolute monarchy with the Pope as head. Some countries like Greece or Serbia also have former royals claiming throne rights still.

(*) peculiar construct of shared head of state between two Princes: the French President and the bishop of Urgell in Spain (where the 1992 canoe slalom events were held)

(**) Liechtenstein's Prince has some real power still and recently threatened to leave the country if a referendum cutting that power would go through. It failed, he stayed.

Lesson over :-)

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Why do we even have royals in the first place?

A "crowned republic" with a monarch as head of state and a prime minister as head of government provides a unifying figure for a country as well as someone to do the dirty work of running the country.

Every president in the USA, for example, is accused of being divisive. But that's their job. Obama is hated by conservatives because he pursues a progressive agenda and implementing socialist measures like universal healthcare. Bush was hated by progressives for being a warmongering conservative. The last US president that was NOT hated by half of the country was George Washington.

Conversely the monarchies of the UK, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, etc provide a sympathetic figure that the country as a whole can embrace. I think Canada should have a unique, elective monarchy instead of having to live with an absentee monarch, but I think it would be very foolish for any of the commonwealth countries to ditch it entirely.

Ok I hear this "constitutional heads of state" phrase a lot, but what the hell does that even mean??? lol

If they're not president/prime ministers, to the rest of the world their purpose is unclear.

The head of state is the leader of the country. The head of government is the leader of the ruling political party or coalition of parties. Queen Elizabeth is the leader of the British people. David Cameron is the leader of the UK's Conservative Party.

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