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21 March 2023


Seminar: The Future of the Monarchy Must be More Constitutional and Less Symbolic

James Selwood (Hiroshima University/University of Newcastle)



The modern iteration of constitutional monarchy is split into two interlocking roles: the constitutional and the symbolic. Importantly both roles allow the institution to continue to operate as an honest arbitrator that will ultimately defend the constitution against any forms of overreach by elected officials. The prevailing political thought is that by allowing the institution’s political power to shrink to virtually zero, constitutional monarchy will remain relevant and avoid too much scrutiny and questions relating to hereditary succession.


This presentation will argue that the survival of the constitutional monarchy is best served by a balance between the symbolic and constitutional roles of the institution. The importance of the symbolic role is not disputed, indeed the idea that the constitution monarch is head of a nation rather than head of state, has significant merit. Yet, no real new political theory has emerged that has radically updated Bagehot’s Victorian parameters, much of which still hold sway in Europe and Asia. The institution desperately needs a new political interpretation that shed definitions that are irrelevant to the needs of the institution in the 21st Century.



Johanna Strong


Seminar Timetable

17:00 – 17:10: Introduction (Chair)

17:10 – 17:55: Presentations

17:55 – 18:15: Q&A


Presenter bio

Jaime Selwood is currently an associate professor at Hiroshima University in Japan, and position he has held since 2011. Originally from Northumberland in the north-east of England, he has been working and living in Japan since 1999. His research is split between the use of mobile technology in education and the evolution of the institution of constitution monarchy. He is currently a PhD candidate at Newcastle University in England researching on constitutional monarchy in Japan and the United Kingdom.

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