Questions to Ask When Creating Fictional Monarchies

    It can be hard to find a fantasy story without kings, queens, princes, and princesses. I would argue that they could be considered a vital part in forming the feeling of a classic epic fantasy. If you look around in a bookstore, 'crown', 'queen', 'prince' and 'king' are everywhere in titles for the genre. They're even in some dystopian or contemporary!

    So how do you make your monarchy stand out? How do you make it feel like yours? Today I hope that with a list of questions to ask yourself, I'll be able to help spark an idea of how to make your story's monarchy shine.

1) What type of monarchy is it? Is it absolute, symbolic, or constitutional? Said in another way, how much power does the monarch have, and how much do the people have?

2) Who is considered the head of the monarchy? Is it defined by gender (eg. is a queen always below a king, unless she is unmarried), or something else?

3) How is the heir chosen? Is it always the eldest child, or is it decided by the people, or by some form of contest? If it's chosen by the public, what kind of heir do they prefer? If it's a contest, what is it like? How is it conducted, and when? What are the consequences for the children who do not get chosen?

4) Where do the monarchy live? Is it a castle, a fortress, a palace, or somewhere else? Do they have any holiday homes? Do they change places of residence according to the seasons? Does their home double as a place of government work, or is that a separate building?

5) How long has this monarchy been around for? Why was it created in the first place -- what need did the people have, or who decided they wanted to rule, and set themselves up as king/queen? Did they draw inspiration from other nations with monarchies, and wanted to have their own, or did they create the first one and were copied by others?

6) Do they have a symbol or crest? Are there animals on it, plants, or a place? What does this signify to others, and what does it mean to the monarchy? Do they have a motto which they try to live by?

7) Who directly serves the monarch and their family? Do they have close advisers, ladies-in-waiting, or valets? Who works for the royal family, but never comes close to them? What is their perception of royalty?

8) What type of clothes do the monarch and their family wear? Are they expected to set the latest fashions, and wear affluent clothing, or be simple and efficient with their clothing? Is there any significant jewelry that shows they are royal, such as a signature ring?

9) What accessory shows they are the monarch? Is it a crown, a necklace, a cloak, or something else? What materials is it made out of? 

10) How complex is their family line? Is every monarch supposed to come from royal or noble blood, or is it acceptable to have commoner blood in them as well? Has anyone in the monarch's family married a commoner, or had a child with them? Were there repercussions from this, or none at all?

11) Is the monarch considered partially divine, chosen by a god or another person? How highly are they elevated in society and class ranking?

12) What kind of education are royalty provided with? Are they taught by a private tutor, in a private school, or at a public one? Do they learn subjects more focusing on government and ruling, or are they taught the same as every other non-royal child? Does the type of education differ depending on whether the royal child is the heir or not?

13) What are considered acceptable sports for royalty to participate in? Archery, hunting, sword-fighting, or team games? Is it considered improper to mingle with non-royal people in this way?

14) What is the public's impression of the monarchy and their family? How has this differed over time, or between generations? What is the monarchy's impression of the public?

15) Who is considered the worst monarch, and the best? What expectations of society, and the monarch's actions, fuel these opinions?

16) What kind of relationships do they have with other monarchies? Are there ever marriages between them, or are they always enemies?

17) Does the monarch have the power to declare a war? Do they have their own army, or do they rely on the armies of nobles that are loyal to them?

18) Has there ever been any attempt to overthrow the monarchy, and put in place a new ruler, or change the form of government? Did the monarchy survive? Or did it topple, then come back later? How and why did it return?

19) How involved does the public like to be in the royals' lives? Are they constantly swarmed by press or the source of gossip?

20) What does the daily life of the monarch look like? How much paperwork is involved? Do they sit on trials, conduct public hearings, meet with foreign leaders and diplomats, or do they live a life of idle luxury? Or something in-between?

Have you ever written a monarchy in a story before? What makes them unique? Are you secretly a queen/king?
(P.S. Sorry this post was published late! I've totally lost track of what day it is... Also quick announcement, I'll be missing next week as I'll be away on a camp, but I'll be back the one after that!) Have a great day! 


  1. Wow, I have not been here to read one of your posts for too long. Sorry about that. But this post... this is beautiful. I never even thought of some of these questions and they are so relevant for epic fantasy. Amazing job!


  2. These kind of posts are also so amazing! *applauds* You are the world building queen.


    I have two WIPS (SOI and From the Cave) that have a monarchy as the center of the power system and I was having a horrible time with the monarchy for SOI...

    You're the best!!! *scurries away with post to hoard it for future reference*


  4. An idea for an epic fantasy is stewing in my mind, and so I was super excited because YAY I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS FROM MELISSA TO CONSIDER!! All of these are FABULOUS. :D

    Lila - The Red-Hooded Writer

  5. I love this! As a huge fan of writing monarchies this helps a ton in giving me a few extra questions to consider as I build them. Thank you :)


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