Monarchy was the most common form of government until the 20th century. Forty-five sovereign nations in the world have monarchs acting as heads of state, sixteen of which are Commonwealth realms that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. Most modern monarchs are constitutional monarchs, who retain a unique legal and ceremonial role, but exercise limited or no political power under the nation's constitution. In some nations, however, such as Brunei, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Eswatini, the hereditary monarch has more political influence than any other single source of authority in the nation, either by tradition or by a constitutional mandate.
A full-length portrait of then-French Marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte (1763–1844), who later became King Charles XIV John of Sweden and Norway. Bernadotte had a long and decorated career in the French Army, when he was unexpectedly elected the heir to the childless King Charles XIII. His election was due to two main factors: the Swedish Army were in favour of electing a soldier in view of future complications with Russia, and he had shown kindness to Swedish prisoners during the recent war with Denmark, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Although he never learned to speak Swedish, during his reign, Sweden and Norway became united, and both experienced great material development.
Pope Paul III and His Grandsons is an oil on canvas painting by Titian, housed in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. It was commissioned by the Farnese family and painted during Titian's visit to Rome between autumn 1545 and June 1546. It depicts the thorny relationship between Pope Paul III, born Alessandro Farnese, and two of his grandsons, Ottavio and Alessandro. The painting explores the effects of ageing and the manoeuvring behind succession; Paul was at the time in his late seventies and operating within an uncertain political climate as Charles V came into ascendancy. Paul was not a religious man; he viewed the papacy as a means to consolidate his family's position. He appointed Alessandro as cardinal against accusations of nepotism, fathered a number of illegitimate children and spent large sums of church money collecting art. Titian abandoned the commission before completion, and for the next 100 years the painting languished unframed in a Farnese cellar. It ranks as one of Titian's most penetrating works. The panel contains subtle indications of the contradictions in the character of the Pope, and captures the complex psychological dynamic between the three men.