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Public order in its entirety emanates from me. ~ Louis XV of France

A monarchy is a government in which all state authority is formally identified with an individual, or in some cases a ruling couple.


We Britons should rejoice that we have contrived to reach much legal democracy (we still need more of the economic) without losing our ceremonial Monarchy. ~ C. S. Lewis
Alphabetized by author
  • Ten poor men sleep in peace on one straw heap, as Saadi sings,
    But the immensest empire is too narrow for two kings.
  • Royalty is a Government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions. A Republic is a Government in which that attention is divided between many, who are all doing uninteresting things.
  • As long as the human heart is strong and the human reason weak, royalty will be strong because it appeals to diffuse feeling, and Republics weak because they appeal to the understanding.
  • It's a sign of the tragic immaturity of Britain as a nation that we should be obsessed in the year 2000 with a reactionary old woman who has never done anything except act as a parasite on the body politic.
  • Britain is fortunate indeed in having a breed of distinguished people ...whom people come from all over the world to see. It would be an act of cruelty to impose that function of royalty on any normal family of citizens, but seeing that there is a family which is born to it as the fruit of a long historical evolution it would be an act of great political folly to establish a Presidency...I have such a strong sense of the political usefulness of British royalty to substantial and competent progressive forces in the society.
  • In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever, just as you saw that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the copper, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The Grand God has made known to the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.
  • Let it not be understood that I have the slightest feeling against Henry of Prussia; it is the prince I have no use for. Personally, he may be a good fellow, and I am inclined to believe he is, and if he were in trouble and I had it in my power to help he would find in me a friend. The amputation of his title would relieve him of his royal affliction and elevate him to the dignity of a man.
    • Eugene V. Debs, "Prince and Proletaire" in DEBS: His Life Writings and Speeches, 1908.
  • Et ses mains ourdiraient les entrailles du prêtre,
    Au défaut d’un cordon pour étrangler les rois.
    • Translation: His hands would plait the priest's guts, if he had no rope, to strangle kings.
    • Denis Diderot, "Les Éleuthéromanes", Poésies Diverses (1875), p. 16. Another frequently cited version is, "Et des boyaux du dernier prêtre / Serrons le cou du dernier roi" (translation: "Let us strangle the last king with the guts of the last priest"), attributed to Diderot by Jean-François de La Harpe, Cours de Littérature Ancienne et Moderne (1840), vol. 3, book 4, chapter 3, p. 415.
  • And kind as kings upon their coronation day.
    • John Dryden, Fables, The Hind and the Panther (1687), Part I, line 271.
  • A man's a man,
    But when you see a king, you see the work
    Of many thousand men.
  • Constitutional monarchies, through their structure, avoid those four republican perils : excessive rigidity, as in the American system, which is reduced to near paralysis whenever the President is seriously threatened with impeachment; political conflict and competition between the Head of State, Prime Minister and Ministers , a hallmark of the French Fifth Republic (an inherently unstable model curiously followed in a number of countries); extreme instability, which often haunted the Latin versions of Westminster; and regular resort to the rule of the street to solve conflict, which permeates those systems which live under the shadow of the French revolution.
  • The metaphor of the king as the shepherd of his people goes back to ancient Egypt. Perhaps the use of this particular convention is due to the fact that, being stupid, affectionate, gregarious and easily stampeded, the societies formed by sheep are most like human ones.
  • your opinion, India means its few princes. To me it means its teeming millions on whom depends the existence of its princes and our own. Kings will always use their kingly weapons. To use force is bred in them. They want to command, but those who have to obey commands do not want guns: and these are in a majority throughout the world.
    • Mohandas Gandhi, Chapter XVII, Hind Swaraj, 1909. Quoted in Mahatma Gandhi : The Essential Writings, edited by Judith M. Brown. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008. (p.321)
  • Of the various forms of government that have prevailed in the world, a hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule.
    • Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (1776-1788).
  • Americans also seem to believe that the monarchy is a kind of mediaeval hangover, encumbered by premodern notions of decorum; the reality is that the British monarchy, for good or ill, is a modern political institution — perhaps the first modern political institution.
It is the gilded peg from which our unlovely system of social distinction and hierarchy depends. It is an obstacle to the objective public discussion of our own history. It tribalises politics. It entrenches the absurdity of the hereditary principle. It contributes to what sometimes looks like an enfeeblement of the national intelligence, drawing from our press and even from some of our poets the sort of degrading and abnegating propaganda that would arouse contempt if displayed in Zaire or Romania. It is, in short, neither dignified nor efficient. ~ Christopher Hitchens
  • The British monarchy inculcates unthinking credulity and servility. It forms a heavy layer on the general encrustation of our unreformed political institutions. It is the gilded peg from which our unlovely system of social distinction and hierarchy depends. It is an obstacle to the objective public discussion of our own history. It tribalises politics. It entrenches the absurdity of the hereditary principle. It contributes to what sometimes looks like an enfeeblement of the national intelligence, drawing from our press and even from some of our poets the sort of degrading and abnegating propaganda that would arouse contempt if displayed in Zaire or Romania. It is, in short, neither dignified nor efficient.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • The first False Issue one normally encounters is the claim that it has 'no real power'. One never quite knows what 'real' is intended to mean here, but the conventions of the False Issue lead one to guess that the word is doing duty for 'formal'. Thus is the red herring introduced. A moment later, the same speaker is telling another listener of all the good things that monarchy is a 'force' for. These good things invariably turn out to be connected to power. They are things like 'stability', 'unity', 'national cohesion', 'continuity' and other things for which powerless people would find it difficult to be a force. Edmund Wilson would have had little trouble noticing, furthermore, that all the above good things are keywords for conservative and establishment values.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • Those who say that without the monarchy Britain would be a banana republic are closing their eyes to the banana republic features which the cult of monarchy necessitates. Dazzled by the show, moreover, they may be missing other long-run tendencies towards banana-dom which it is the partial function of monarchy to obscure.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • The United States, for example, has never had a President as bad as George III, but neither has Britain had a king as admirable as George Washington (of whom William Thackeray rightly said that 'his glory will descend to remotest ages' while the memory of the sovereign went the other way). Still, even to concede this obvious argument is to make it plain that a bad monarch is at least as likely as a bad president even given the caprice of random selection by the hereditary principle.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • We find that the presidency has become too secretive, too powerful, too trammelled, too ceremonial, too impotent or too complicated, depending on the president under discussion or the critic making the analysis. On one thing all are agreed - there is a danger of an 'imperial' or 'monarchical' presidency. An incumbent in Washington knows he is in trouble on the day that cartoonists begin to represent him as a king.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • The evidence is that on 'Commonwealth' questions Her Majesty reserves a certain autonomy when it comes to the expression of an opinion. But you can't have it both ways. Queen Victoria used to browbeat poor Mr Gladstone most dreadfully when it came to overseas or, as they were then called, 'imperial' matters. Either this is proper or it isn't. You either accept the principle of royal intervention or you don't. And if you don't, you always have the choice of an actual 'Commonwealth' - the beautiful and resonant name given by the English revolutionaries to the most forbidden passage of our history after the removal of the Stuarts.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • We know that there are people for whom the country and a certain rather mediocre dynasty are in effect unimaginable without one another. There is no need to doubt or mock the sincerity of the conviction. However, there is no reason in our history or our literature to endorse or underwrite it either. We possess an alternative tradition which is capable of outlasting this royal house as it has already outlasted others.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • In today's Britain, the idea that there could be a Constitution more powerful - and even sacrosanct - than any crowned head or elected politician (thus abolishing the false antithesis between hereditary monarchs and capricious presidents) is thought of as a breathtakingly new and daring idea.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • ... 'I wouldn't have her job'. Those who profess unquenchable love for the sovereign are adamant that she press on in a task that they consider killingly hard.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • Humans should not worship other humans at all, but if they must do so it is better that the worshipped ones do not occupy any positions of political power.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • Too many crucial things about this country turn out to be highly recommended because they are 'invisible'. There is the 'hidden hand' of the free market, the 'unwritten' Constitution, the 'invisible earnings' of the financial service sector, the 'magic' of monarchy and the 'mystery' of the Church and its claim to the interpretation of revealed truth. When we do get as far as the visible or the palpable, too much of it is deemed secret. How right it is that senior ministers, having kissed hands with the monarch, are sworn to the cult of secrecy by 'The Privy Council Oath'. How right it is that our major foreign alliance - the 'special relationship' with the United States - is codified by no known treaty and regulated by no known Parliamentary instrument.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • Yet those who govern us as if were infants expect us to be grateful that at least we live in 'a family'; a family, moreover, patterned on the ideal by the example of the Windsors. A beaming gran, a dutiful mum, a stern and disciplined father, and children who are ... well, all analogies based upon family break down somewhere. The analogy between family and society, as it happens, breaks down as soon as it is applied. The 'United Kingdom' is not a family and never was one. (Not even Orwell, with his image of poor relations, rich relations and 'the wrong members in control', could make it stick.) It is is a painfully evolved society, at once highly stratified and uniform and very fluid and diverse, which is the site of a multitude of competing interests.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • Other states in the past sought to conceal this truth from themselves by the exercise of projection - customarily onto a dynasty with supposedly extraordinary powers of healing and unification. This did not save them: indeed historians usually attribute part of the magnitude of the eventual smash to the ingrained, faithful, fatalistic fixation. The supplanting of monarchy, in those circumstances, by new forms of despotism was not the negation of monarchy but the replication of it by societies not yet cured of the addiction.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • In their last ditch, the royalists object that this all too bloodless and practical; that people need and want the element of magic and fantasy. Nobody wants life to be charmless. But the element of fantasy and magic is as primitive as it is authentic, and there are good reasons why it should not come from the state. When orchestrated and distributed in that way, it leads to disappointment and rancour, and can lead to the enthronement of sillier or nastier idols.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • Is this an argument for abolition? Of course it is. But not for an abolition by fiat: for yet another political change that would come as a surprise to the passively governed. It is an invitation to think - are you serious when you say that you cannot imagine life without it? Do you prefer invented tradition, sanitised history, prettified literature, state-sponsored superstition and media-dominated pulses of cheering and jeering?
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • A people that began to think as citizens rather than subjects might transcend underdevelopment on their own. Inalienable human right is unique in that it needs no superhuman guarantee; no 'fount' except itself. Only servility requires the realm (suggestive word) of illusion. Illusions, of course, cannot be abolished. But they can and must be outgrown.
    • Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
  • We know well that the Primitive Church in her greatest purity were but voluntary congregations of believers, submitting themselves to the Apostles, and after to other Pastors, to whom they did minister of their Temporals, as God did move them. So as Ecclesiasticus, cap. 17, says, God appointed a Ruler over every people, when he divided nations of the whole Earth. And therefore if a people will refuse all government, it were against the law of God; and yet if a popular State will receive a Monarchy it stands well with the Law of God.
    • Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, C.J., Bruton v. Morris (1614), Lord Hobart's Rep. 149; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 100.
  • The king is not responsible for the fate of each man's soul. Every man is responsible to God, but not the king, for this. Shakespeare, while displaying unflinchingly the defects of kingly rule, does not in the English histories have on his horizon any alternative to divine right monarchy.
  • The state of Monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth; for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods.
    • James I of England, speech to Parliament at Whitehall (21 March 1609), from Political Works of James I.
  • Nations will go to your light And kings to your shining splendor.
  • The insuperable objection to monarchy is that the king or queen is elevated, and respect is accorded, for no reason other than birth . . . No one who believes either in the claims of merit or in the pursuit of equality can defend the system.
  • * We Britons should rejoice that we have contrived to reach much legal democracy (we still need more of the economic) without losing our ceremonial Monarchy. For there, right in the midst of our lives, is that which satisfies the craving for inequality, and acts as a permanent reminder that medicine is not food. Hence a man's reaction to Monarchy is a kind of test. Monarchy can easily be "debunked", but watch the faces, mark well the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose taproot in Eden has been cut — whom no rumor of the polyphony, the dance, can reach – men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead — even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served — deny it food and it will gobble poison.
    • C. S. Lewis, in "Equality", in The Spectator, Vol. CLXXI (27 August 1943)
  • I hope you are looking forward to the tsunami of industrial effluent which is coming your way in the first quarter of the new year. You will not be able to avoid it, unless you are Helen Keller. One way or another, Wills and Kate are going to get you.
  • It is as if one could forget that the sovereign power resides in my person only, sovereign power of which the true nature consists of the spirit of consultation, justice, and reason; that my courts derive their existence and their authority from me alone; that the discharge of that authority, which they exercise in my name only, always remains with me and can never be employed against me; that independent and undivided legislative power belongs to me alone; that it is only by my authority that the officers of my courts proceed, not in the creation of laws, but in their registration, publication, and execution; that they are allowed to remonstrate only within the limits of their duties as good and useful councilors; that public order in its entirety emanates from me; that my people are one with me; and that the rights and interests of the nation, for which some dare to create a separate body from the monarch, are necessarily united with my rights and interests and rest only in my hands.
    • Louis XV of France at the "scourging session" (3 March 1766), quoted in Citizens (1990) by Simon Schama.
  • The king was probably... a good father and husband, and, according to his lights, what is commonly called “decent”. However, those lights and that decency are not our pacifist conception of goodness... The most astonishing assertion in the whole of this astonishing tribute is [when] the writer salutes “this Royal example of non-violent self-dedication”. Can it be that your correspondent in a moment of mental aberration confused his late Majesty King George VI with the late Mahatma Gandhi ? God save the people!
  • We will not attempt any alliances with kings. We will not delude ourselves that we can remain free by relying on international treaties and diplomatic tricks. We will not beg for our wellbeing via the protocols of conferences or the promise of monarchic cabinet ministers...Therefore, listen Italian People: we will deal only with other peoples, never with kings.
    • Giuseppe Mazzini, On the Superiority of Representative Government. 1832. Quoted in Mark Mazower, Governing The World: The History of An Idea. Penguin Books, 2012.
  • The the secret well from which the flourishing institution of British Snobbery draws its nourishment
    • Kingsley Martin, The Crown and the Establishment, London, 1963, (p. 175).
  • His fair large front and eye sublime declared
    Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
    Round from his parted forelock manly hung
    Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad.
  • A crown
    Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns.
    Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights
    To him who wears the regal diadem.
  • A king is a king, not because he is rich and powerful, not because he is a successful politician, not because he belongs to a particular creed or to a national group. He is King because he is born. And in choosing to leave the selection of their head of state to this most common denominator in the world- the accident of birth- Canadians implicitly proclaim their faith in human equality; their hope for the triumph of nature over political manoeuvre, over social and financial interest; for the victory of the human person.
    • Jacques Monet, in "The Canadian Monarchy" in The West and the Nation : Essays in Honour of W. L. Morton (1976), edited by Ramsay Cook, and Carl Berger. p. 324.
  • These Courts are not presumed to be the best acquainted with the rights and prerogatives of the Crown: in regard to such matters, we must look differently and respectfully to other authorities.
    • Sir John Nicholl, Goods of King George III, (1822), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 1283; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 68.
  • Whenever kingship approaches tyranny it is near its end, for by this it becomes ripe for division, change of dynasty, or total destruction, especially in a temperate climate … where men are habitually, morally and naturally free.
    • Nicole Oresme, ̆De Moneta (c. 1360), Charles Johnson's translation, The De Moneta of Nicholas Oresme, and English Mint Documents (London, 1956), Ch. 25: "That a Tyrant cannot be lasting."
  • Our Royal Family is wholesome and good, rather unimaginative Berkshire gentry...what is practised in their name is still a cult of personality, even though they are neither enriched by it or made politically powerful by it. Isn't adulation of any person, pop group, block or stone a condition we should be out of?

August 26, 1986 (p.11).

  • Fear God. Honour the King.
    • I Peter, II. 17
  • Savoir dissimuler est le savoir des rois.
    • Deception is the knowledge of kings.
    • Cardinal Richelieu, “Maxims,” Testament Politique (1641)
  • The monarchy is a political referee, not a political player, and there is a lot of sense in choosing the referee by a different principle from the players. It lessens the danger that the referee might try to start playing.
  • His legs bestrid the ocean; his rear'd arm
    Crested the world: his voice was propertied
    As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends;
    But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
    He was as rattling thunder.
  • The gates of monarchs
    Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through
    And keep their impious turbans on.
  • There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
    That treason can but peep to what it would.
  • Every subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's soul is his own.
  • O, how wretched
    Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors!
    There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
    That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
    More pangs and fears than wars and women have;
    And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
    Never to hope again.
  • She had all the royal makings of a queen;
    As holy oil, Edward Confessor's crown,
    The rod, and bird of peace, and all such emblems
    Laid nobly on her.
  • The king-becoming graces,
    As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
    Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
    Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
    I have no relish of them.
  • A substitute shines brightly as a king
    Until a king be by, and then his state
    Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
    Into the main waters.
  • We are enforc'd to farm our royal realm;
    The revenue whereof shall furnish us
    For our affairs in hand.
  • Let us sit upon the ground
    And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
    How some have been depos'd, some slain in war,
    Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd,
    Some poison'd by their wives, some sleeping kill'd;
    All murder'd.
  • Yet looks he like a king; behold, his eye,
    As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth
    Controlling majesty.
  • I give this heavy weight from off my head,
    And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
    The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
    With mine own tears I wash away my value,
    With mine own hands I give away my crown,
    With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
    With mine own breath release all duteous oaths.
  • The king's name is a tower of strength,
    Which they upon the adverse party want.
  • I have often thought that the case against retaining the monarchy, which I usually construct in terms of the way it institutionalises deference, can be expressed much more simply: it rots the brain.
  • Have you beheld a man skillful in his work? Before kings is where he will station himself; he will not station himself before commonplace men.
  • Who is like the wise man? Who knows the solution to a problem? A man’s wisdom lights up his face and softens his stern appearance. I say: “Obey the king’s orders out of regard for the oath to God. Do not rush to depart from his presence. Do not take a stand for anything bad; for he can do whatever he pleases, because the word of the king is absolute; who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?
  • I believe that the royal family are a focus of patriotism, of loyalty, of affection and of esteem. That is a rare combination, and we should value it highly.
  • This romancing about the royal family is, I fear, only a minor symptom of the softening of the brain of socialists enervated by affluence, social prestige and political power.
  • I have always regarded and written of monarchy as a profoundly corrupting influence upon our national life, imposing an intricate snobbishness on our dominant classes, upon our religions, educational, military, naval and combatant services generally, burking the promotion of capable men and reserving power in the community entirely for the privileged supporters of our Hanoverian monarchy.
  • H. G. Wells , New Statesman, 23 December 1944. Quoted in W. J. Stankiewicz, Crisis in British Government: The Need for Reform London, Collier-Macmillan, 1967.
  • Like homeopathy, most alternative therapies are closer to mysticism than to medicine. This may explain their appeal to the British royal family, whose survival depends on another irrational faith - the magic of hereditary monarchy, which was so fiercely debunked by Tom Paine and other Enlightenment pamphleteers. The Queen is said to carry homeopathic remedies with her at all times. Princess Diana was a devotee of reflexology, the belief that pressure applied to magical 'zones' in the hands and feet can heal ailments elsewhere in the body. Prince Charles has been a prominent champion of 'holistic' treatments since 1982, having been persuaded of their effectiveness by that absurd old charlatan Sir Laurens van der Post.
  • intense propaganda by public men, in the press, and in the cinema, has been carried on day after day for years in order to establish in the people a superstitious "loyalty" towards the Royal Family...[which] makes a rational and intelligent attitude towards social problems impossible.
    • Leonard Woolf, Quack, Quack! Essays on unreason and superstition in politics, belief and thought, 1935. Also quoted in W. J. Stankiewicz, Crisis in British Government: The Need for Reform London, Collier-Macmillan, 1967.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 682-86.
  • Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause good or evil times; and which have much veneration, but no rest.
  • Malheureuse France! Malheureux roi!
    • Unhappy France! Unhappy king!
    • Étienne Béquet. Heading in the Journal des Débats, when Charles X. was driven from the throne.
  • Ce n'est que lorsqu'il expira
    Que le peuple, qui l'enterra, pleura.
    • And in the years he reigned; through all the country wide,
      There was no cause for weeping, save when the good man died.
    • Pierre-Jean de Béranger, Le Roi Yvetot. Rendering of Thackeray, King of Brentford.
  • Der König herrscht aber regiert nicht.
    • The king reigns but does not govern.
    • Otto von Bismarck, in a debate in the Reichstag (Jan. 24, 1882). He denied the application of this maxim to Germany.
  • The Prussian Sovereigns are in possession of a crown not by the grace of the people, but by God's grace.
  • St. George he was for England; St. Dennis was for France.
    Sing, "Honi soit qui mal y pense."
    • Black-letter Ballad. London. (1512).
  • That the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution.
  • I loved no King since Forty One
    When Prelacy went down,
    A Cloak and Band I then put on,
    And preached against the Crown.
  • Whatever I can say or do,
    I'm sure not much avails;
    I shall still Vicar be of Bray,
    Whichever side prevails.
    • Samuel Butler, Tale of the Cobbler and the Vicar of Bray, in Posthumous Works.
  • I dare be bold, you're one of those
    Have took the covenant,
    With cavaliers are cavaliers
    And with the saints, a saint.
  • In good King Charles's golden days
    When royalty no harm meant,
    A zealous high-churchman was I,
    And so I got preferment.
    • Vicar of Bray, English song written before 1710. Also said to have been written by an officer in George the First's army, Col. Fuller's regiment. The Vicar of Bray was said to be Rev. Symon Symonds; also Dr. Francis Caswell. A Vicar of Bray, in Berkshire, Eng., was alternately Catholic and Protestant under Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth. See Fuller—Worthies of Berkshire. Simon Aleyn (Allen) named in Brom's Letters from the Bodleian, Volume II, Part I, p. 100.
  • God bless the King—I mean the faith's defender;
    God bless (no harm in blessing) the pretender;
    But who the pretender is, or who is King—
    God bless us all—that's quite another thing.
  • Every noble crown is, and on Earth will forever be, a crown of thorns.
  • Fallitur egregio quisquis sub principe credet
    Servitutem. Nunquam libertas gratior extat
    Quam sub rege pio.
    • That man is deceived who thinks it slavery to live under an excellent prince. Never does liberty appear in a more gracious form than under a pious king.
    • Claudianus, De Laudibus Stilichonis, III. 113.
  • 'Tis a very fine thing to be father-in-law
    To a very magnificent three-tailed bashaw.
  • La clémence est la plus belle marque
    Qui fasse à l'univers connaître un vrai monarque.
    • Clemency is the surest proof of a true monarch.
    • Pierre Corneille, Cinna, IV. 4.
  • I am monarch of all I survey,
    My right there is none to dispute,
    From the centre all round to the sea,
    I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
  • Now let us sing, long live the king.
  • Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?
    • Exodus, II. 14.
  • Tout citoyen est roi sous un roi citoyen.
    • Every citizen is king under a citizen king.
    • Favart—Les Trois Sultanes, II. 3.
  • Es war ein König in Tule
    Gar treu bis an das Grab,
    Dem sterbend seine Buhle
    Einen gold'nen Becher gab.
    • There was a king of Thule,
      Was faithful till the grave,
      To whom his mistress dying,
      A golden goblet gave.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, The King of Thule. Bayard Taylor's translation.
  • Der Kaiser of dis Faderland,
    Und Gott on high all dings commands,
    We two—ach! Don't you understand?
    Myself—und Gott.
    • A. M. R. Gordon (McGregor Rose), Kaiser & Co., later called Hoch der Kaiser; published in the Montreal Herald (Oct., 1897), after the Kaiser's Speech on the Divine Right of Kings. Recited by Captain Coghlan at a banquet.
  • As yourselves your empires fall,
    And every kingdom hath a grave.
  • Elle gouvernait, mais elle ne régnait pas.
    • She governs but she does not reign.
    • Hénault, Memoirs, 161. Said of Mme. des Ursins, favorite of Philip V. of Spain.
  • The Royal Crown cures not the headache.
  • The rule
    Of the many is not well. One must be chief
    In war and one the king.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book II, line 253. Bryant's translation.
  • Quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi.
    • Whenever monarchs err, the people are punished.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 2. 14.
  • On the king's gate the moss grew gray;
    The king came not. They call'd him dead;
    And made his eldest son, one day,
    Slave in his father's stead.
  • God gives not kings the stile of Gods in vaine,
    For on his throne his sceptre do they sway;
    And as their subjects ought them to obey,
    So kings should feare and serve their God againe.
    • King James, Sonnet Addressed to his son, Prince Henry.
  • Si la bonne foi était bannie du reste du monde, il faudrait qu'on la trouvât dans la bouche des rois.
    • Though good faith should be banished from the rest of the world, it should be found in the mouths of kings.
    • Jean II; see Biographie Universelle.
  • The trappings of a monarchy would set up an ordinary commonwealth.
  • Princes that would their people should do well
    Must at themselves begin, as at the head;
    For men, by their example, pattern out
    Their imitations, and regard of laws:
    A virtuous court a world to virtue draws.
  • A prince without letters is a Pilot without eyes. All his government is groping.
  • They say Princes learn no art truly, but the art of horsemanship. The reason is, the brave beast is no flatterer. He will throw a Prince as soon as his groom.
  • Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
    Suffer not the old King, for we know the breed.
  • 'Ave you 'eard o' the Widow at Windsor
    With a hairy old crown on 'er 'ead?
    She 'as ships on the foam—she 'as millions at 'ome.
    An' she pays us poor beggars in red.
  • La cour est comme un édifice bâti de marbre; je veux dire qu'elle est composée d'hommes fort durs mais fort polis.
    • The court is like a palace built of marble; I mean that it is made up of very hard but very polished people.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères, VIII.
  • Qui ne sait dissimuler, ne sait régner.
    • He who knows not how to dissimulate, can not reign.
    • Louis XI. See Roche et Chasles, Hist. de France, Volume II, p. 30.
  • L'état c'est moi.
    • I am the State.
    • Attributed to Louis XIV of France. Probably taken from a phrase of Bossuet's referring to the King: "tout l'état est en lui"; which may be freely translated: "he embodies the State".
  • Qui nescit dissimulare, nescit regnare.
    • He who knows how to dissimulate knows how to reign.
    • Vicentius Lupanus,De Magistrat. Franc. Lib. I. See Lipsius, Politica sive Civilis Doctrina. Lib. IV. Cap. 14. Conrad Lycosthenes—Apopothegmata. De Simulatione & Dissimulatione. Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy, Part I. Sect. II. Mem. III. Subsec. 15. Palingenius—Zodiacus Vitæ. Lib. IV. 684. Also given as a saying of Emperor Frederick I., (Barbarossa), Louis XI, and Philip II. of Spain. Tacitus—Annales. IV. 71.
  • 'Tis so much to be a king, that he only is so by being so.
  • A crown! what is it?
    It is to bear the miseries of a people!
    To hear their murmurs, feel their discontents,
    And sink beneath a load of splendid care!
  • An nescis longos regibus esse manus?
    • Knowest thou not that kings have long hands?
    • Ovid, Heroides, XVII. 166.
  • Est aliquid valida sceptra tenere manu.
    • It is something to hold the scepter with a firm hand.
    • Ovid, Remedia Amoris, 480.
  • The King is dead! Long live the King!
    • Pardoe—Life of Louis XIV, Volume III, p. 457.
  • But all's to no end, for the times will not mend
    Till the King enjoys his own again.
    • Martin Parker. Upon Defacing of White-Hall. (1645).
  • What is a king? a man condemn'd to bear
    The public burthen of the nation's care.
  • Put not your trust in princes.
    • Psalms. CXLVI. 3.
  • Savoir dissimuler est le savoir des rois.
    • To know how to dissemble is the knowledge of kings.
    • Richelieu, Miranne.
  • Here lies our sovereign lord, the king,
    Whose word no man relies on,
    Who never said a foolish thing,
    And never did a wise one.
    • Rochester. To Charles II. "That is very true, for my words are my own. My actions are my minister's." Answer of Charles II, according to the account in Hume's History of England, VIII, p. 312.
  • Here lies our mutton-looking king,
    Whose word no man relied on,
    Who never said a foolish thing,
    Nor ever did a wise one.
    • Another version of Rochester's Epitaph on Charles II, included in works of Quarles.
  • Wenn die Könige bau'n, haben die Kärmer zu thun.
    • When kings are building, draymen have something to do.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Kant und Seine Ausleger.
  • For monarchs seldom sigh in vain.
  • O Richard! O my king!
    The universe forsakes thee!
  • Alieno in loco
    Haud stabile regnum est.
    • The throne of another is not stable for thee.
    • Seneca the Younger, Hercules Furens, CCCXLIV.
  • Ars prima regni posse te invidiam pati.
    • The first art to be learned by a ruler is to endure envy.
    • Seneca the Younger, Hercules Furens, CCCLIII.
  • Omnes sub regno graviore regnum est.
  • Kings are like stars—they rise and set, they have
    The worship of the world, but no repose.
  • Hail, glorious edifice, stupendous work!
    God bless the Regent, and the Duke of York!
    • Horace and James Smith, Rejected Addresses, Loyal Effusion, line 1.
  • A prince, the moment he is crown'd,
    Inherits every virtue sound,
    As emblems of the sovereign power,
    Like other baubles in the Tower:
    Is generous, valiant, just, and wise,
    And so continues till he dies.
  • Hener was the hero-king,
    Heaven-born, dear to us,
    Showing his shield
    A shelter for peace.
  • Broad-based upon her people's will,
    And compassed by the inviolate sea.
  • Titles are abolished; and the American Republic swarms with men claiming and bearing them.
  • Le roi règne, il ne gouverne pas.
    • The king reigns but does not govern.
    • Thiers. In an early number of the National, a newspaper under the direction of himself and his political friends six months before the dissolution of the monarchy. July 1, 1830. Jan Zamoyski, in the Polish and Hungarian Diets.
  • Le premier qui fut roi, fut un soldat heureux;
    Qui sert bien son pays, n'a pas besoin d'aïeux.
    • The first king was a successful soldier;
      He who serves well his country has no need of ancestors.
    • Voltaire, Mérope. I. 3.
  • Hail to the crown by Freedom shaped—to gird
    An English sovereign's brow! and to the throne
    Whereon he sits! whose deep foundations lie
    In veneration and the people's love.
  • A partial world will listen to my lays,
    While Anna reigns, and sets a female name
    Unrival'd in the glorious lists of fame.

The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 224-226.
  • Let kings be as David was, men after God's own heart, yet they will not want a Shimei to rail on them.
    • Finch, L.C.J., Hampden's Case (1637), 3 How. St. Tr. 1232.
  • The King can do no wrong; he cannot constitutionally be supposed capable of injustice.
    • Sir John Nicholl, Goods of King George HI., deceased (1822), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 1287.
  • The King of England is one of those princes who hath an Imperial Crown; what is that? It is not to do what he will; no, but it is that he shall not be punished in his own person if he doth that which in itself is unlawful.
    • Lord Bridgman, C.B., Case of Hugh Peters (1660), 5 How. St. Tr. 1144.
  • God himself, with reverence be it spoken, is not an absolute but a limited monarch, limited by the rule which infinite wisdom prescribes to infinite power.
    • Lord Bolingbroke, "Patriot King".
  • An hiatus in government is so detested and abhorred, that the law says, "the King never dies," that there may never be a "cesser" of regal functions for a moment.
    • Wilmot, L.C.J., Case of John Wilkes (1763), 19 How. St. Tr. 1130.
  • A people whom Providence hath cast together into one island or country are in effect one great body politic, consisting of head and members, in imitation of the body natural, as is excellently set forth in the statute of appeals, made 24 H. 8, c. 12, which stiles the King the supreme head, and the people a body politic (these are the very words), compact of all sorts and degrees of men, divided into spirituality and temporality. And this body never dies.
    • Sir Robert Atkyns, L.C.B., Trial of Sir Edward Hales (1686), 11 How. St. Tr. 1204.
  • It is true that the King never dies; the demise is immediately followed by the succession; there is no interval: the Sovereign always exists; the person only is changed.
    • Lord Lyndhurst, Viscount Canterbury v. Att.-Gen. (1843), 1 Phill. 322.
  • All Governments rest mainly on public opinion, and to that of his own subjects every wise Sovereign will look. The opinion of his subjects will force a Sovereign to do his duty, and by that opinion will he be exalted or depressed in the politics of the world.
    • Lord Kenyon, Trial of John Vint and others (1799), 27 How. St. Tr. 640.
  • The Queen is a subject.
    • Lord Bridgman, C.B., Scot's Case (1660), 5 How. St. Tr. 1069.
  • As a subject sues by attorney, so does the King; with a little variation of form, from decency: instead of saying, "The King sues by," it is said, "sues for the King"; and yet, "Coram domino rege venit dominus rex per attornatum suum, et inde producit seetam," was held to be good. Hale, Chief Justice, said, it was but an unmannerly way of declaring for the King.
    • Lord Mansfield, Case of John Wilkes (1763), 19 How. St. Tr. 1102.
  • "The King sues by his attorney," or "the attorney sues for the King," are only different forms of expressing the same thing. It is equally good either way, as appears by the cases in 2 Lev. 82, and 3 Keb. 127; and no legal reason, but good manners and decency, as Lord Hale calls it, have given the preference of one form to another. It is the King, who, by his attorney, gives the Court to understand and be informed of the fact complained of.
    • Wilmot. L.C.J., Case of John Wilkes (1763), 19 How. St. Tr. 1128.
  • Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi.
    • French saying.
  • The person of the King is by law made up of two bodies: a natural body, subject to infancy, infirmity, sickness and death; and a political body, powerful, perfect and perpetual.
    • Bagshaw, Rights of the Crown of England, 29.
  • The Sovereign can only act by advisers, and through the instrumentality of those who are neither infallible nor impeccable— answerable, indeed, for all that the irresponsible Sovereign may do, but liable to err through undue influence, and to be swayed by improper motives.
  • Menial servants attending the King must undoubtedly be privileged.
    • Lord Ellenborough, C.J., Batson v. McLean (1815), 2 Chitt. Rep. 52.
  • The master is answerable for the negligence of his servant, because it may be considered to have arisen from his own misconduct or negligence in selecting or retaining a careless servant; that principle cannot apply to the Sovereign, to whom negligence or misconduct cannot be imputed, and for which if they occur in fact, the law affords no remedy.
    • Lord Lyndhurst, Viscount Canterbury v. Att.-Gen. (1843), 1 Phill. Rep. 321.
  • Compassing the death of the King is a legal conclusion from facts. So it is, almost, as to every other offence.
    • Lord Mansfield, Foxcroft v. Devonshire (1759), 2 Burr. Part IV. 937.
  • The law was the golden met-wand, and measure to try the causes of the subjects; and which protected his Majesty in safety and in peace.
    • Prohibition del Boy, Co. 12 Rep. 65.

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