Head of state

Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava is the seat of the President of Slovakia.
World's parliamentary states (as of 2022): Republics with an executive president elected by a parliament Parliamentary republics Parliamentary constitutional monarchies in which the monarch usually does not personally exercise power Presidential republics, one-party states, and other forms of government
Elizabeth II is the reigning monarch and head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 other countries
Charles de Gaulle, President and head of state of the French Fifth Republic (1959–1969)
George Washington, the first president of the United States, set the precedent for an executive head of state in republican systems of government
George V, Emperor of India, and Empress Mary at the Delhi Durbar, 1911.
Tekiso Hati, ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho, presenting his credentials to Russian president Vladimir Putin
Daniel B. Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, presents his credentials to Israeli president Shimon Peres on 3 August 2011
A 1992 Letter of Credence, written in French, for the Czechoslovakian Ambassador to Lithuania, signed by the President of Czechoslovakia and addressed to his Lithuanian counterpart
Albert II, King of the Belgians inspecting troops on Belgium's national day in 2011
Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France and General Jean-Louis Georgelin, Chief of the Defence Staff, reviewing troops during the 2008 Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Élysées in Paris
Francis, from March 2013 the sovereign of the Vatican City State, an ex officio role of the Pope
Abdulmecid II is the 150th and last Caliph of Islam from Ottoman dynasty
Four generations of Danish kings in 1903: King Christian IX (left), Christian (X) (back), Frederick (VIII) (right), and Frederick (IX) (front)
The National Monument to Emperor Wilhelm I in Berlin, Germany, dedicated 1897, nearly 10 years after his death. The monument was destroyed by the communist government in 1950.
Title page of 1550 Italian edition of Machiavelli's The Prince
Bodin named on title page of Discorsi politici (1602) by Fabio Albergati who compared Bodin's political theories unfavourably with those of Aristotle
Frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651)

Public persona who officially embodies a state in its unity and legitimacy.

- Head of state

500 related topics


Semi-presidential system

System of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter two responding to the legislature of the state.

World administrative levels

It differs from a parliamentary republic in that it has a popularly elected head of state who is more than a ceremonial figurehead, and from the presidential system in that the cabinet, although named by the president, responds to the legislature, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence.

Presidential system

Form of government in which a head of government, typically with the title of president, leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch in systems that use separation of powers.

World administrative levels

This head of government is in most cases also the head of state.


The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII, photographed on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, King George I of the Hellenes and King Albert I of the Belgians. Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.
Postcard from 1908 showing nineteen of the world's reigning monarchs: (left to right) King Rama V/Chulalongkorn of Siam, King George I of Greece, King Peter I of Serbia, King Carol I of Romania, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Tzar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Emperor Nicholas II of the Russia, King Edward VII of Britain, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, King Gustav V of Sweden, King Haakon VII of Norway, King Frederick VIII of Denmark, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Guangxu Emperor of China, Meiji Emperor of Japan, King Manuel II of Portugal and King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
Ramesses II (r. 1279–1213 BC), the third Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Mohamoud Ali Shire, the 26th Sultan of the Somali Warsangali Sultanate
A map of Europe exhibiting the continent's monarchies (red) and republics (blue)
Elizabeth II has been monarch of independent countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
From left to right, Japanese Emperor Hirohito, Crown Prince Akihito, Crown Princess Michiko and Empress Nagako, 1959
Sultan Mehmed III from Ottoman Dynasty
King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia
Sri Lankan King Devanampiya Tissa, Queen consort Anula, and Prince Uththiya, c. 307 BC
Jacques I, Emperor of Haiti, 1804
Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, by Delfim da Câmara
Francisco Pizarro meets with the Inca emperor Atahualpa, 1532
Kamehameha IV, King of Hawaii

A monarch is a head of state for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy.


Richard I of England being anointed during his coronation in Westminster Abbey, from a 13th-century chronicle.
The Weld-Blundell Prism, inscribed with the Sumerian King List
Map of monarchies and republics in 1648
King George III of the United Kingdom, Portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarch.
Postcard of ruling monarchs, taken in 1909
 between February (accession of King Manuel II of Portugal) and November (death of Guangxu Emperor)
Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia.
King Leopold I, an elected founder of the hereditary monarchy of Belgium
Pope Francis, Sovereign of the Vatican City State

A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication.


Form of government in which "supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives".

A map of the Roman Republic
The Mahajanapadas were the sixteen most powerful and vast kingdoms and republics of the era, there were also a number of smaller kingdoms stretching the length and breadth of Ancient India. Among the Mahajanapadas and smaller states, the Shakyas, Koliyas, Mallas, and Licchavis followed republican government.
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Neptune offers the wealth of the sea to Venice, 1748–1750. This painting is an allegory of the power of the Republic of Venice.
Beginning of the Republic of Metz. Election of the first Head-Alderman in 1289, by Auguste Migette. Metz was then a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Emperor.
Honoré DaumierThe Republic (1848), a symbolic representation of the French Second Republic. Oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm., The Louvre, Paris
A 1920s poster that commemorates the permanent President of the Republic of China Yuan Shikai and the provisional President of the Republic Sun Yat-sen
A map of the Commonwealth republics
The "Republics of Russia"
The Swiss cantons displayed on the cupola of the Federal Palace
Flag of the US state of California, a sub-national entity.

With modern republicanism, it has become the opposing form of government to a monarchy and therefore a modern republic has no monarch as head of state.

British Overseas Territories

The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom.

Flag of the Friends of the British Overseas Territories, a charitable organisation
St. George's town (originally named New London), in the Islands of Bermuda, or "The Somers Isles". The colony was founded by the wrecking of the flagship of the Virginia Company in 1609. The company's charter was extended to include Bermuda in 1612, and it has remained an English (since 1707, British) colony ever since. Since the rebellion of Virginia, it has been the oldest-remaining British colony, and the town of St. George's is the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement in the New World.
Five of the overseas territories are in the Caribbean, as shown on the map.
McKeeva Bush, Premier of the Cayman Islands from 2009 to 2012
Leaders of the Overseas Territories with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in 2012
Tristan da Cunha on 6 February 2013, as seen from space. The population was temporarily evacuated to the UK in 1961 because of an eruption. Postal code TDCU 1ZZ
Coastline at Little Bay, the site of the new capital of Montserrat replacing Plymouth. The project is funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (previously the Department for International Development).
British overseas territories at the same geographic scale as the UK
Map showing the portion of Antarctica claimed by the UK as British Antarctic Territory
Gibraltar was the only overseas territory included in the European Union.
Thousands of Gibraltarians dress in their national colours of red and white during the 2013 Gibraltar National Day celebrations. Gibraltarians were the only group of overseas territories residents who could apply for full British citizenship without restrictions before 2002.
RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands
Colour party of the Royal Bermuda Regiment at Queen's Birthday Parade in 2017
Cliffs at Gough and Inaccessible Islands
Overseas Territories flags in Parliament Square in 2013
A Stoplight Parrotfish in Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
Penguins in South Georgia, 2010
Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Islands
Rothera Research Station

All fourteen have the British monarch as head of state.


Person who de jure appears to hold an important and often supremely powerful title or office, yet de facto (in reality) exercises little to no actual power.

A literal "figurehead", a wood-carved decoration in the prow of a ship. Much like a literal figurehead aesthetically represents the ship while being irrelevant to its actual seafaring, a political figurehead is someone who appears to hold a high-profile office while having little actual power.

This usually means that they are head of state, but not head of government.

Monarchy of the United Kingdom

The English Bill of Rights of 1689 curtailed the sovereign's governmental power.
The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of 1066.
In 1603 James VI and I became the first monarch to rule over England, Scotland, and Ireland together.
England and Scotland were united as the Kingdom of Great Britain under Queen Anne in 1707.
The union of Great Britain and Ireland into the United Kingdom occurred in 1801 during the reign of King George III.
Map of the British Empire in 1921
Charles, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the British throne
Buckingham Palace, the monarch's principal residence
Holyrood Palace, the monarch's official Scottish residence
The coat of arms of Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom. The design, in use since the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, features the arms of England in the first and fourth quarters, Scotland in the second, and Ireland in the third. In Scotland a separate version is used (shown right) whereby the Arms of Scotland take precedence.

The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional form of government by which a hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies (the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Isle of Man) and the British Overseas Territories.

President of the United States

George Washington, the first president of the United States
President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a radio address, 1933
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and others look on
President Donald Trump delivers his 2018 State of the Union Address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Gorbachev sign the 1990 Chemical Weapons Accord in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, successfully preserved the Union during the American Civil War.
President Barack Obama with his Supreme Court appointee Justice Sotomayor, 2009
President Ronald Reagan reviews honor guards during a state visit to China, 1984
President Woodrow Wilson throws out the ceremonial first ball on Opening Day, 1916
President Jimmy Carter (left) debates Republican nominee Ronald Reagan on October 28, 1980.
Map of the United States showing the number of electoral votes allocated following the 2010 census to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections; it also notes that Maine and Nebraska distribute electors by way of the congressional district method. 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 votes possible.
Franklin D. Roosevelt won a record four presidential elections (1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944), leading to the adoption of a two-term limit.
President William McKinley and his successor, Theodore Roosevelt
President Reagan surrounded by Secret Service
From left: George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. Photo taken in the Oval Office on January 7, 2009; Obama formally took office thirteen days later.
Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, 2013
White House, the official residence
Camp David, the official retreat
Blair House, the official guest house
The presidential limousine, dubbed "The Beast"
The presidential plane, called Air Force One when the president is on board
Marine One helicopter, when the president is aboard

The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America.

President (government title)

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser making a speech in 1960
George Washington, the first President of the United States
Presidents Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff of the United States and Brazil.
Presidents Johnson-Sirleaf and Bush of Liberia and the United States.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France
Presidents Pratibha Patil of India and Lee Myung-bak of South Korea.
The seven-member Swiss Federal Council serves as collective head of government and state of Switzerland.

President is a common title for the head of state in most republics.