The institution of monarchy has been back in the news lately, with the abdication of the erstwhile Spanish king Juan Carlos I and the ascension of his son, Felipe (Philip) VI. Elsewhere in the world, monarchies still make the news and shape events in places as far apart as Thailand, Bhutan, Belgium, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. To many contemporary readers, monarchies seem to be purposeless antiquated relics, anachronisms that ought to eventually give way to republics.
On the contrary, nothing can be farther from the truth. Monarchies have an extremely valuable role to play, even in the 21st century. If anything their number should be added to rather than subtracted from. To understand why, it is important to consider the merits of monarchy objectively without resorting to the tautology that countries ought to be democracies because they ought to be democracies.