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Queen of the Cygnians
Monarchy
Coat of arms of Cygnia
Coat of arms of the Cygnian Royal Family
Queen Elizabeth II March 2015
Incumbent:
Elizabeth
since 3 May 1936

Style: Her Imperial Majesty
Heir apparent: Prince Charles, Duke of Sydney
First monarch: George I
Formation: 5 May 1792
Residence: Ellingham Palace

The Queen of the Cygnians, commonly referred to as the Queen or (erroneously) the Queen of Cygnia, is the constitutional monarch of Cygnia. The monarch's title is "King" (male) or "Queen" (female). The current monarch and head of state, Elizabeth, acceded to the throne following the death of her father, George IV.

The monarch and his or her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial, diplomatic and representational duties. As the monarchy is constitutional, the monarch is limited to non-partisan functions such as bestowing honours and appointing the Chancellor. The monarch is, by tradition, commander-in-chief of the Cygnian Imperial Armed Forces. Though the ultimate formal executive authority over the government of Cygnia is still by and through the monarch's royal prerogative, these powers may only be used according to laws enacted in Congress and, in practice, within the constraints of convention and precedent.

Constitutional role

Imperial Standard of Cygnia

The Imperial Standard of Cygnia, the monarch's official flag

In the Constitution of Cygnia, the monarch (otherwise referred to as the Sovereign or "His/Her Imperial Majesty", abbreviated H.I.M.) is the Head of State, as established in Article II, Section 1. Oaths of allegiance and office in Cygnia are made to the Queen and her lawful successors. "God Save the Queen" is the Cygnian imperial anthem, and an abbreviated version is used as the official imperial fanfare. The Sovereign also appears on postage stamps and coins.

The monarch takes little direct part in Government. The decisions to exercise sovereign powers are delegated from the monarch by the Constitution to the Chancellor, the Cabinet, officers of the Crown, or other public bodies, exclusive of the monarch personally. Thus the acts of state done in the name of the Crown, such as Crown Appointments, even if personally performed by the monarch, depend upon decisions made elsewhere:

  • Legislative power is exercised by Congress, comprised of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • Executive power is exercised by Her Imperial Majesty's Government, which comprises the Chancellor and his/her Cabinet. While the Sovereign serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Cygnian Imperial Armed Forces, the powers associated with the Commander-in-Chief are exercised by the Chancellor through the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Ministry of Defence. The Cabinet also has the direction of the Civil Service and other Imperial Servants such as the Diplomatic Corps and the Intelligence Community (the monarch receives certain foreign intelligence reports before the Chancellor does).
  • Judicial power is vested in the various courts of the Union, the most senior of these being the Supreme Court of Cygnia.
  • The Church of Cygnia, of which the monarch is the head, has its own legislative, judicial and executive structures.
  • Powers independent of government are legally granted to other public bodies by statute or Statutory Instrument such as an Order in Council, Imperial Commission or otherwise.

Appointment of the Chancellor

Every four years or when otherwise necessary, the monarch is responsible for appointing a new Chancellor (or reaffirming the appointment of the existing Chancellor if re-elected). The Chancellor is constitutionally empowered to appoint and dismiss every other member of the Cabinet, and thereby constitutes and controls the government. While by tradition the Sovereign may appoint whomever he or she deems fit to serve as Chancellor, Constitutional law binds the monarch to appoint the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives. The Chancellor takes office in a public inauguration ceremony in the presence of the monarch.

Imperial Prerogative

Some of the government's executive authority is theoretically and nominally vested in the Sovereign and is known as the imperial prerogative. The monarch acts within the constraints of convention and precedent, exercising prerogative only on the advice of the Chancellor and the Federal Executive Council. In practice, prerogative powers are exercised only on the Chancellor's advice – the Chancellor, and not the Sovereign, has control. The monarch holds a weekly audience with the Chancellor. No records of these audiences are taken and the proceedings remain fully confidential. The Sovereign may express his or her views, but as a constitutional ruler must ultimately accept the decisions of the Chancellor and the Cabinet except in circumstances as provided in the Constitution.

The Imperial Prerogative includes the powers to appoint and dismiss officials, regulate the civil service, and issue passports. The decision to declare war and make peace is not the monarch's to make; Congress instead has the powers to do so. The Sovereign is responsible for the protection of Cygnians abroad and foreign nationals in Cygnia, making the powers related to those specific responsibilities fall outside the jurisdiction of Imperial prerogative. The monarch is commander-in-chief of the Imperial Armed Forces, accredits Cygnian High Commissioners and ambassadors, and receives diplomats from foreign states.

It is the prerogative of the monarch to convene, adjourn, and dissolve Congress. Each Congress begins with the Sovereign's summon, which traditionally occurs on 3 January. The new Congress' first session is marked by the State Opening of Congress, during which the monarch reads the Speech from the Throne in the House of Representatives chamber, outlining the Government's legislative agenda. Adjournment usually occurs about one year after a session begins, and formally concludes the session. Dissolution ends a congressional term, and is followed by a federal election for all seats in the House of Representatives, and half of those in the Senate. A federal election is held four years after the previous one as provided in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. In the event of a motion of no confidence in either the Chancellor or the Government in Congress, the monarch is empowered to declare a double dissolution (dissolution of both Houses of Congress, including the entire Senate) and call for midterm elections to form a new Congress and Government to complete the term.

Before a bill passed by Congress can become law, Imperial Assent (the Sovereign's approval) is required. Assent can either be granted (making the bill law) or withheld (vetoing the bill). However a veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress, whereupon the Sovereign is required to give Imperial Assent to the bill.

The monarch is considered to be the "fount of honour", the source of all honours and dignities in Cygnia. The Crown creates all peerages, appoints members of the orders of chivalry, grants knighthoods and awards other honours. Although peerages and most other honours are granted on the advice of the Chancellor, some honours are within the personal gift of the Sovereign, and are not granted on cancellarial advice. The monarch alone appoints members of the Order of the Garter, Order of the Swan, the Imperial Victorian Order and the Order of Merit.

Religious role

The monarch is the Supreme Governor of the established Church of Cygnia. Archbishops and bishops are appointed by the Sovereign, choosing the appointee from a list of nominees prepared by a Church Commission. The Crown's role in the Church of Cygnia, however, is otherwise titular; the most senior clergyman, the Archbishop of Perth, is the spiritual leader of the Church. As a result of the Sovereign's technical leadership of the Church, they are granted the title Defender of the Faith.

Succession

Succession to the Cygnian throne is governed by the Acts of Succession. The Acts may only be amended or added to by Acts of Congress; it is not possible for an individual to renounce his or her right of succession. The Acts of Succession restricts the succession to the legitimate descendants of George I.

Upon the death of a sovereign, his or her heir immediately and automatically succeeds, and the accession of the new sovereign is publicly proclaimed by the Chancellor. Upon their accession, a new sovereign is required by law to take the Oath of Accession. The latest oath, taken by Elizabeth in 1949, is as follows:

I, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, do hereby solemnly swear that I will in my capacity as Queen of the Cygnians uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the United Cygnian States, and to the best of my ability serve and defend the will of the Cygnian people. I further swear that I shall protect the democratic rights of all citizens of the Union, and fulfil my responsibilities and duties without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God!

Monarchs are crowned at St George Cathedral in Perth, normally by the Archbishop of Perth. A coronation is not prescribed by law, and was not necessary for a sovereign to reign. While the monarch is technically the Supreme Governor of the Church of Cygnia, a religious oath or affirmation is not legally required.

After an individual ascends the throne, he or she usually reigns until death. However, the Constitution provides procedures for the abdication of a monarch. In the event that the Sovereign is suspected of "treason, bribery and other high crimes or misdemeanours," Congress is empowered to suspend the Sovereign, institute a regency, try the Sovereign and thereafter if convicted the Sovereign can be compelled to abdicate. This abdication would be formally advised to the Sovereign by the Chancellor.

Restrictions by gender and religion

Succession during the Empire was largely governed by male-preference cognatic primogeniture, under which sons inherit before daughters, and elder children inherit before younger ones of the same gender. The Second Amendment to the Acts of Succession abolished the gender-preference rule for anyone born after 1 June 1946. The amendment also provided that monarchs would not be prohibited from marrying a Roman Catholic – a law which dated from the pre-Cygnian Acts of Settlement 1701. However, since the monarch is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of Cygnia, the law which prohibits a Roman Catholic from acceding to the throne remains. The amendment was passed by Congress on 14 May 1950, and was given Imperial Assent on 25 May.

Only individuals who are Protestants may inherit the Crown. Roman Catholics are prohibited from succeeding. An individual thus disabled from inheriting the Crown is deemed "naturally dead" for succession purposes, and the disqualification does not extend to the individual's legitimate descendants.

Regency

Article Two, Section 3 of the Constitution allows for regencies in the event of a King or Queen who is a minor or who is physically or mentally incapacitated. When a regency is necessary, the next qualified individual in the line of succession automatically becomes regent, unless they themselves are a minor or incapacitated.

During a temporary physical infirmity or an absence, the monarch may temporarily delegate some of her functions to Counsellors of State, who consist of the Prince Consort and the first four adults in the line of succession. The present Counsellors of State are the Duke of Palmerston, the Duke of Sydney, the Duke of Bunbury, the Duke of Albany, and the Princess Imperial.

Finances

All official expenses of the monarch are covered by the government, including those for staffing, state visits, public engagements, and official entertainment. This is provided through the Civil List, and its size is fixed by Congress every eight years; any money saved is carried forward to the next eight-year period. An annual Property Services Grant-in-Aid is paid for the upkeep of the Imperial residences, and an annual Imperial Travel Grant-in-Aid paid for travel.

The Imperial property portfolio, known as the Crown Estate, is one of the largest property owners in Cygnia, with holdings of £7.3 billion in 2011. It is held in trust, and cannot be sold or owned by the monarch in a private capacity. In modern times, the profits surrendered from the Crown Estate to the Treasury have exceeded the Civil List and Grants-in-Aid. For example, the Crown Estate produced £200 million in the financial year 2007–8, whereas reported Congressional funding for the monarch was £40 million during the same period.

Like the Crown Estate, the land and assets of the Duchy of Sydney is a similar estate held in trust to meet the expenses of the monarch's eldest son. The Imperial Collection, which includes artworks and the Crown Jewels, is not owned by the monarch personally and is held in trust, as are the Imperial residences in Cygnia such as Ellingham Palace and Admiralty House.

The monarch is subject to indirect taxes such as value-added tax, and since 1983 the monarch has paid income tax and capital gains tax on personal income. Congressional grants to the Sovereign are not treated as income as they are solely for official expenditure. Republicans estimate that the real cost of the monarchy, including security and potential income not claimed by the state, such as profits from the Duchy of Sydney and rent of Ellingham Palace and Admiralty House, is £334 million a year.

The monarch is also granted access to various vehicles for transportation. For ground travel, the monarch uses the Imperial state car, which is an armoured limousine built on a heavily modified Holden-based chassis. The Chancellor uses an identical vehicle. One of two identical Douglas-Royce MAC-30 aircraft, which are extensively modified versions of DR-80 airliners, have since 2015 served as long distance travel for the monarch and are referred to as Air Force One while the monarch is on board (although any Cygnian Imperial Air Force aircraft the monarch is aboard is designated as "Air Force One" for the duration of the flight). Domestic trips are typically handled with just one of the two planes while international flights are handled with both, one primary and one backup. Any civilian aircraft the monarch is aboard is designated Executive One for the flight. The Sovereign also has access to a fleet of twenty Cygnian Imperial Marine Corps helicopters of various models, designated as Marine One when the monarch is aboard any particular one in the fleet. Flights are typically handled with as many as five helicopters all flying together and frequently swapping positions as to disguise which helicopter the monarch is actually aboard to any would-be threats. The monarch is usually prohibited from travelling in the same helicopter fleet, plane, or car as the Chancellor, for security reasons.

Residences

Ellingham

Ellingham Palace, the main residence of the monarch.

The monarch's official residence in Northam is Ellingham Palace, located in the southern side of the city. It is the site of most state banquets, investitures, Imperial christenings and other ceremonies. An alternative residence is Admiralty House in the eastern city of Sydney. Other members of the Imperial family use different residences, although they unlike the monarch are not prohibited from taking residence on privately-owned property. For example, the Duchess of Carnarvon lives with her family in the southern suburbs of Perth. The Duke of Melbourne and his family lives in Cockburn House, a Government-owned riverside mansion in the southern neighbourhood of Cockburn, Perth.

Style

The present monarch's full style and title is "Elizabeth, Queen of the Cygnians and of Her other Peoples, Realms, and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith". The style "Defender of the Faith" dates back to 1521, when Pope Leo X first granted the title to Henry VIII of England in 1521, rewarding him for his support of the Papacy during the early years of the Protestant Reformation, particularly for his book the Defence of the Seven Sacraments. After Henry broke from the Roman Church, Pope Paul III revoked the grant, but Parliament passed a law authorising its continued use. The usage of the title "Defender of the Faith" continued in Cygnia after George III of the United Kingdom became King of the Cygnians.

The Queen is known as "Her Imperial Majesty". The form "Cygnian Majesty" appears in international treaties and on passports to differentiate the Cygnian monarch from foreign rulers. The former title is used in the prefixes of military installations and naval vessels. Navy ships carry the prefix Her Imperial Majesty's Ship (HIMS), while Army and Naval bases have the prefixes Her Imperial Majesty's Army Base (HIMAB) and Her Imperial Majesty's Naval Base (HIMNB) respectively.

The Sovereign chooses their regnal name, not necessarily their first name – Kings Edward I and George IV did not use their first names.

Traditionally in Britain, the signature of the King included his regnal name but not ordinal, followed by the letter R, which stands for rex or regina (Latin for King and Queen, respectively). This continues in Cygnia. Elizabeth's signature is therefore "Elizabeth R".

List of monarchs

House of Stuart (1792–1901)

Name
Reign
Portrait Arms Birth
Parentage
Marriage(s)
Issue
Death Claim
George I
George William Frederick
18 March 1793

29 January 1820
King George III of England by Johann Zoffany Coat of arms of Cygnia (1783-1821) 6 December 1740
Norfolk House

Son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Caroline of Ansbach

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
St James's Palace
8 September 1761

15 children

29 January 1820
Ellingham House
aged 81
Imperial Constitution of Cygnia
George II
George Augustus Frederick
29 January 1820

26 June 1830
George IV 1821 color Coat of arms of Cygnia (1783-1821) 12 August 1762
Kensington Palace

Son of George I and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Ellingham House
8 April 1795

1 daughter

26 June 1830
Ellingham Palace
aged 67
Son of George I
William
William Henry
26 June 1830

20 June 1837
William IV, Coat of arms of Cygnia (1821-1871) 21 August 1765
Buckingham Palace

Son of George I and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
Ellingham Palace
13 July 1818

2 daughters

20 June 1837
Ellingham Palace
aged 71
Victoria
Alexandrina Victoria
20 June 1837

22 January 1901
Queen Victoria 1843 Coat of arms of Cygnia (1821-1871) 24 May 1819
Admiralty House

Daughter of the Duke of Charlottesville and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Ellingham Palace
10 February 1840

9 children

22 January 1901
Kiribilli House
aged 81
Granddaughter of George I

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1901–present)

Name
Reign
Portrait Arms Birth
Parentage
Marriage(s)
Issue
Death Claim
Edward I
Albert Edward
22 January 1901

6 May 1910
Edward VII in coronation robes Coat of arms of Cygnia 9 November 1841
Ellingham Palace

Son of Victoria and Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Alexandra of Denmark
St George Cathedral
10 March 1863

6 children

6 May 1910
Ellingham Palace
aged 68
Son of Victoria
George III
George Frederick Ernest Albert
6 May 1910

20 January 1936
King George V 1911 Coat of arms of Cygnia 3 June 1865
Admiralty House

Son of Edward I and Alexandra of Denmark

Mary of Teck
St George Cathedral
6 July 1893

6 children

20 January 1936
Ellingham Palace
aged 70
Son of Edward I
Edward II
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David
20 January 1936

11 December 1936
Edward VIII Portrait - 1936 Coat of arms of Cygnia 24 March 1894
Kiribilli House

Son of George III and Mary of Teck

Wallis Simpson
Château de Candé
3 June 1937

No children

28 May 1972
Neuilly-sur-Seine
aged 77
Son of George III
George IV
Albert Frederick Arthur George
11 December 1936

6 February 1952
King George VI crop Coat of arms of Cygnia 14 December 1895
Ellingham Palace

Son of George III and Mary of Teck

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
St George Cathedral
26 April 1923

2 daughters

6 February 1952
Kiribilli House
aged 56
Elizabeth
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
6 February 1952

Present
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Portrait Herbert James Gunn Coat of arms of the House of Stuart-Campbell 21 April 1926
Perth

Son of George IV and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Philip of Greece and Denmark
St George Cathedral
20 November 1947

4 children

Living
age 92
Daughter of George IV